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Nick Jackson: Some people think that we're getting rich, that's completely the opposite. Get out of here! We're probably break even at the end of the day.

All Elite Wrestling, LLC (AEW) is an American Professional Wrestling promotion based out of Jacksonville, Florida.

Its early seeds were planted by Cody Rhodes, Matt & Nick Jackson as a result of their successful show ALL IN in late 2018, alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, and his son Tony Khan who would join in their journey later that year. After The Elite (Cody, Matt, Nick, Kenny Omega, and "Hangman" Adam Page) finished up their ROH/NJPW commitments (save for stablemate Marty Scurll who had several months on his ROH contract), they went on to launch the AEW venture. (Scurll eventually did not follow them to AEW, choosing to continue with ROH & the newly revitalized NWAnote .)

In January 2019, the promotion announced a sequel to ALL IN dubbed Double or Nothing, which would serve as the company's inaugural event, as well as announcing the roles of Executive Vice President (initially consisting of Cody Rhodes and Matt & Nick Jackson, with Kenny Omega coming on board the following month), Chief Brand Officer (Brandi Rhodes), and the initial roster. They also announced a working relationship with Chinese professional wrestling promotion Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE) founded by Japanese wrestler CIMA. Also in February 2019, AEW announced a partnership with Mexican promotion AAA. AEW has since established working relationships with Impact Wrestling (December 2020–October 2021), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (February 2021–present), DDT Pro-Wrestling (March 2022–present), and CMLL (October 2023–present).note 

The developments of the company can be followed in the following channels:

AEW's first weekly show, AEW Dynamite, which airs on TBS in the United States on Wednesdays, premiered on October 2, 2019.A secondary show, AEW Rampage, debuted in August 2021 on TNT; January 2022 saw Dynamite move from TNT to TBS, as TNT became occupied by both their long-standing coverage of the NBA, and their new coverage of the NHL (in a split deal with ESPN, taking over from NBC). However, Rampage remained on TNT. A third weekly show, AEW Collision on Saturday nights, launched on the 17th of June 2023.

On the March 2, 2022 episode of Dynamite, Tony Khan announced that he had purchased Ring of Honor.

The promotion recognizes eight championships:

  • AEW World Champion: Samoa Joe since December 30, 2023
  • AEW Women's World Champion: Toni Storm since November 18, 2023
  • AEW World Tag Team Champions: Sting and Darby Allin since February 7, 2024
  • AEW TNT Champion: Christian Cage since December 30, 2023note 
  • AEW TBS Champion: Julia Hart since November 18, 2023
  • AEW International Champion: Orange Cassidy since October 10, 2023
  • AEW World Trios Champions: The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens) and Billy Gunn since August 27, 2023
  • AEW Continental Crown Championship: Eddie Kingston since December 30, 2023

Other championships that are currently defended on AEW include:

  • FTW Champion: Hook since August 27, 2023note 
  • ROH World Champion: Eddie Kingston since September 20, 2023.note 
  • ROH Pure Champion: Wheeler Yuta since November 25, 2023 note 
  • ROH World Tag Team Champions: The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) since December 27, 2023note 
  • ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions: Bullet Club Gold (Jay White and The Gunns (Austin and Colten Gunn since January 17, 2024note 
  • ROH Women's World Champion: Athena since December 10, 2022note 
  • NJPW Strong Openweight Champion: Eddie Kingston since July 5, 2023.

Both rosters include tag teams.

All Elite Tropes:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • In the face of a consistently chilly reception from fans, the Nightmare Collective stable was shut down at the behest of Brandi Rhodes. Where it was meant to go will likely be a Riddle for the Ages.
    • Whatever story was being told with Allie "the Bunny" infiltrating the Nightmare Family by seducing QT Marshall and teaming with Brandi as "the Nightmare Sisters" was apparently scrapped for whatever reason, with Bunny simply leaving QT again to rejoin the Butcher and the Blade once she'd maxed out his credit cards.
    • After the tragic and unexpected death of Brodie Lee, almost all Dark Order storylines got thrown out the door, as the entire group spontaneously turned face in honour of their late leader. Evil Uno had been looking like he was contemplating turning face after tiring of Brodie's abuse, while Anna Jay had been attempting to recruit her friend and tag team partner Tay Conti into the group despite Tay becoming somewhat disturbed by Anna's heelish behavior. The group as a whole were setting up a feud with Dustin Rhodes, who they saw as a recruitment target. All these stories were dropped without a trace, with Uno (still "Evil") returning to being the stable's leader alongside Brodie's son -1, and Tay finally joining the group as an associate member (especially after Anna was taken out by a training injury). The only storyline continued was the Dark Order trying to recruit Hangman Adam Page and even then, any hints of heelish intentions beforehand were also dropped in favour of the Dark Order genuinely wanting Adam to join them as a friend.
    • The AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament in the build to Full Gear 2021 was disrupted when Jon Moxley took a hiatus from wrestling in order to attend an alcohol treatment program. Before his departure, the story of this Tournament Arc revolved around Moxley displaying a level of brutality not seen from him before in AEW, squashing 10 and leaving him in a bloody mess that appeared to signal an incoming Face–Heel Turn. He would've likely dealt with Orange Cassidy in a similar way before facing Bryan Danielson in the finals; Miro took his place in the tournament, filling a similar role as a ruthless heel.
    • Near the end of 2022, Jade Cargill had several promos building up to a conflict with the rapper, Bow Wow, the latter eventually sending a video message warning Jade that she'll see him soon. However, by the start of 2023, all signs of that conflict have been dropped, Jade herself stating that she doesn't know what happened with it, but that AEW has moved on from the storyline.
    • After Johnny TV joined QTV, he declared that he would be making a lot of changes while Q.T Marshall was absent, implying that he was planning on taking over the stable from under Q.T's nose. Later, Q.T stated that he would be defending the AAA Latin American Championship against the Luchadores of AEW, the stable later watching one of Penta's matches, implying that he would be their next feud. Neither of these plotlines would be followed through on due to Q.T dropping the title on AAA to Octagón Jr on November of 2023, before Q.T made any defenses of the title on AEW, and then leaving AEW soon afterwards, resulting in QTV quietly dissolving.
  • Art Evolution: In terms of championships, the AEW Women's World Championship has undergone a couple of redesigns. When the belt was first revealed in June 2019, it was incredibly small, had a small oval shaped center plate and three side plates on each side of the centerplate. In May 2021, a new belt was awarded to then-champion, Hikaru Shida, which kept the overall design, but was slightly larger, had more diamonds and plating, and reduced the number of side plates to four rather than six. During Britt Baker's title defense against Thunder Rosa at Revolution 2022, a completely new belt was revealed, which sported larger plates and had a design more reminiscent of the men's World Championship.
  • Audience Participation Song: Chris Jericho's "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune "Judas" became this to the extent that everything in the ring stops while the audience finishes singing up to the end of the first chorus ("I'm becoming Judas in my mind.")
    • Jungle Boy's theme, "Tarzan Boy", has become this.
    • The moment Jon Moxley got "Wild Thing", the crowd started singing him to the ring every time he appears.
  • A Boy and His X: Prior to having Marko Stunt in and renaming themselves as "Jurassic Express", Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy's tag team name was originally "A Boy and His Dinosaur".
  • Bar Brawl: Both Stadium Stampedes have featured these.
    • The first was between Jake Hager and Adam Page & Kenny Omega.
    • The second took place inside of a nightclub inside the stadium between FTR and Santana & Ortiz. Prior to them beginning hostilities, FTR's manager Tully Blanchard poured both teams a shot. Konnan, who was the DJ, even got involved in his old protege's defense after Blanchard began to get involved.
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • First-ever AEW World Champion Chris Jericho was the main Big Bad for a while, after his vicious attack on Cody and Dustin Rhodes and the Young Bucks, alongside Sammy Guevara, Ortiz, Santana, and a debuting Jake Hager, dubbing the stable the Inner Circle.
    • The Dark Order is another stable that was not on the same level as The Inner Circle, but was shaping up to become one similar to them. Led by Evil Uno, under the command of the Exalted One, the stable attacked at random and seemed to be a cult of Creepers. While the Inner Circle was all about money and fame in AEW, nothing was known about The Dark Order's goals; Evil Uno seemed to be building an army of followers for the Exalted One, going as far to recruit those on a losing streak, or tag team members like Christopher Daniels. With the revelation of the Exalted One as Brodie Lee (the former Luke Harper), it's clearer that the Dark Order was basically corporate arrogance that only plays at being dark and edgy. It's a bit of a Take That! to a certain other wrestling promotion's corporate culture. However, after the untimely death of Brodie Lee, they turned face.
    • More recently The Pinnacle, led by MJF along with FTR, Wardlow, Shawn Spears, and manager Tully Blanchard. Though in March 2022, Wardlow left the stable and Blanchard was fired.
    • Matt Hardy's faction, the Hardy Family Office counted as one as well due to their grievances with Adam Page, the Dark Order, and most recently Darby Allin.
    • After Hardy sold his stable to Andrade El Ídolo and left for good to team with his brother, it became the Andrade Family Office with a slightly retooled lineup.
    • After Jericho broke up The Inner Circle in March 2022, he started a new heel stable, the Jericho Appreciation Society, including former Inner Circle member Jake Hager as well as Daniel Garcia and 2.0. Another former Inner Circle member, Sammy Guevara, would later reunite with Jericho in the JAS, bringing along his real-life fiancée (now wife) Tay Conti, who would soon change her ring name to Tay Melo, as the stable's first female member. Anna Jay soon followed.
    • After turning Heel in March 2023, the Blackpool Combat Club became the most dangerous faction in AEW, regularly conducting brutal assaults on wrestlers to the point of hospitalizing them. Meanwhile, after betraying Kenny Omega, Don Callis began to enlist other wrestlers into his new "family", intending to have them make a name for themselves through any means possible. And resting on the throne was AEW World Champion, MJF, who had been hated by virtually everyone for his cowardly and arrogant ways, and is willing to pull every dirty tactic in the book to ensure that he remains champion.
    • With the BCC turning back to faces that October, the Callis "family" has become one of the main BBE factions alongside the Mogul Embassy. And with MJF turning face in summer of 2023, the mysterious "Devil" who stole his mask, eventually revealed to be Adam Cole, has been acting in his place, organizing gang attacks on enemy and ally of MJF's alike, with the goal of turning everyone against Max to make it easier to take away everything from him. After officially introducing The Undisputed Kingdom to the audience on the following show, Cole revealed his plans to have his stable become the most dominant force in AEW. Meanwhile, Christian Cage has been acting as AEW's top Heel as reigning TNT champion, mocking and brutalizing anybody who gets in his way while cultivating his own "family" of previous victims of his who he's been emotionally manipulating to act as his pawns, naming the faction The Patriarchy.
  • Big Good:
    • Initially Cody, as not only executive vice president of the company but also a phenomenally over babyface.
    • Above Cody is Tony Khan as the Benevolent Boss of the company.
    • From 2022 to 2023, "Hangman" Adam Page was the indisputable Big Good, while Cody first became more of a morally ambiguous character, then left the company altogether.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than WWE, without a doubt. AEW may not be as relentlessly violent as, say, CZW or even old ECW, but they fully embrace the old tradition of blading in particularly intense matches. This was made apparent from their very first show, when during Cody and Dustin's match at Double or Nothing 2019 Dustin bled so heavily that he, his brother and the entire ring were soaked red. One of their most protected stipulations is the "Unsanctioned Lights Out Match", where the company officially washes their hands of the match and the two wrestlers are basically allowed to kill each other in the ring; there have only been a few and they've been some of the most extreme matches of recent years. They're also notable for being willing to do women's hardcore matches, such as the St. Patrick's Day Slam match between Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa (the second of the Lights Out matches) and the street fight between Team TayJay vs The Bunny and Penelope Ford, which both involved heaps of blood, thumbtacks, and massive, brutal table spots.
  • Butt-Monkey: Brandon Cutler and Peter Avalon have both been piling up losses since AEW started doing shows. They didn't manage to score a win as a tag team either, so eventually they decided to go one-on-one on the September 15, 2020 episode of Dark to settle who would be the first to get a win... resulting in AEW's first-ever double count-out.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: At Double or Nothing 2019, Chris Jericho was cutting a heel promo in which he demanded that the hostile crowd cheer for him, which coincided with the crowd going crazy as Jon Moxley walked through the crowd in his surprise debut. The cheering kept Jericho distracted long enough (believing that it was the crowd obeying his order) for Moxley to enter the ring and confront him.
  • Call-Back:
    • During Double or Nothing 2019, MJF eliminated sentimental fan favorite Glacier from the Casino Battle Royale — and while basking in the boos, he backed into a glaring Billy Gunn. Then in the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royale on the November 20 Dynamite, the exact same thing happened with Orange Cassidy in Glacier's role.
    • Bryan Danielson's Championship bout with Adam Page at Winter is Coming in December 2021 ended in a draw after the two hit the time limit—just like Danielson's very first match in AEW against Page's former mentor and tag-team partner.
  • The Cameo: AEW makes extensive use of journeyman wrestlers (men and women who are brought in to wrestle without being signed to a long-term contract), not only as Jobbers on Dark but on the main show (such as Matt Sydal's brother Mike teaming with him) and even occasionally in main events, perhaps most notably when Chris Jericho brought in "Mr. Athletic" Jeff Cobb as a hired gun to take out Jon Moxley ahead of their championship match at Revolution 2020.
  • Canon Welding: Due to the insular nature of WWE, the time of wrestlers in that promotion are rarely given extended mentions beyond one-off Mythology Gags. There are a few exceptions to this however.
    • When Aleister Black was abruptly released from WWE, he was in the middle of debuting a new "The Storyteller"-type gimmick. In AEW, he has continued to use the aesthetics and general tone that he had established in WWE (most notably, he keeps the damaged eye that Seth Rollins and Murphy gave him), while coupling it with an ambiguous case of Demonic Possession. A vignette he created during the transition between the two companies implies that his time in WWE is a case of Or Was It a Dream?.
    • When Adam Cole introduced Bobby Fish to The Young Bucks, he referred to him as "an old friend". Notably in NXT, Bobby Fish was out with an injury when Cole turned on the rest of the Undisputed Era and effectively disbanded it, meaning that the plot detail that Cole never betrayed Fish remains true in AEW.
      • Further Canon Welding occurred with the introduction of Kyle O'Reilly, stitching together storylines from WWE NXT and Ring of Honor by saying that they have "a lot of stuff to work out". If you acknowledge NXT as the last time Cole and O'Reilly encountered each other, Cole was responsible for breaking up the Undisputed Era, then being run out by O'Reilly. If you acknowledge ROH as the last time that Cole and O'Reilly encountered each other, they had a year and a half long feud which ended in them trading the ROH championship. In addition, O'Reilly says he knows Bobby Fish has his back, and they've re-formed reDRagon.
    • When introducing Claudio Castagnoli as a member of the Blackpool Combat Club, William Regal makes reference to his final match before in-ring retirement was with Claudio in WWE NXT.
    • FTR’s "Seven Star" nickname refers to the major Tag Team Championships they have held. Three of those stars are the NXT, Raw and SmackDown belts.
  • Combat Commentator:
    • Retired wrestler Excalibur is a color commentator.
    • Allie did commentary during the women's fatal four-way in Double or Nothing.
    • Since Jim Ross stopped featuring in AEW Dark, a number of wrestlers have taken turns in joining Excalibur in the commentary booth, including Chuck Taylor, Shawn Spears, Nyla Rose, Eddie Kingston, and MJF. Some unaffiliated guests have even joined in, such as Colt Cabana and Vickie Guerrero (both of whom signed full-time shortly thereafter). Fellow retired wrestler Taz would join Excalibur full-time.
    • Rampage has a rotating crew of (usually) Taz, Chris Jericho, and "Absolute" Ricky Starks joining Excalibur.
    • Ring of Honor and Collision has former wrestler Nigel McGuinness on the desk.
  • Crossover:
    • While AEW has maintained cordial working relationships with a number of other promotions since its inception, in December 2020 it began a more direct crossover with Impact Wrestling when Don Callis helped Kenny Omega cheat to beat Champion Jon Moxley, then declared that Omega would be appearing on Impact with the AEW belt. This grew into the start of a mutual invasion angle, with Impact Tag Team champions The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson, formerly of Bullet Club with Kenny) showing up on Dynamite to wrestle, Kenny joining them to take on Impact Champion Rich Swann, Moose and Chris Sabin at Impact's Hard to Kill 2021 PPV, and Matt Hardy leading Private Party to Impact to challenge the Good Brothers as well. AEW owner Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone even started buying ad space on Impact episodes, cutting snarky promos on the promotion. The conflict between the two promotions escalated until it eventually led to a champion vs champion winner-take-all match between Omega and Swann set for Impact's Rebellion PPV.
    • Wrestling fans refer to AEW's method of crossovers as "Opening the Forbidden Door", referring to a Japanese wrestling term for the status quo of a company not allowing wrestlers to appear on their show who are not explicitly under contract with them. Traditionally, wrestlers who leave a company and appear on another may keep some or most of their original gimmicks and may be given winks and nods to their old employer, but that's as far as it goes. The cross appearances between AEW and Impact talent mark the first time since ECW appearing on WWF television in the mid '90s that one company's talent appeared on another company's programming with the explicit acknowledgement that they work for an entirely different company (and are not, say, a stable masquerading as another company).
    • A two-way crossover occurred for a single title that AEW didn't even own: in early 2021, KENTA of New Japan Pro Wrestling suddenly attacked Jon Moxley over the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship - a title that Moxley had held for over a year and one that KENTA had the rights to challenge for. Not only did this allow KENTA to wrestle a match on Dynamite (a tag match alongside Kenny Omega against Moxley and Lance Archer), but this also resulted in a brief time period where Moxley was officially recognized as a titleholder in New Japan despite no prior mention of it.
    • On the April 20, 2022 episode of Dynamite it was announced that on June 26th the first ever full inter-company PPV would be held between AEW and NJPW, called (appropriately enough) "Forbidden Door". Both companies' main titles were put on the line in the dual main events, with the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship defended in a 4-way between current holder Jay White, former champion Kazuchika Okada and AEW's Adam Cole and Adam Page, and the AEW Interimnote  World Championship being contested between Jon Moxley and NJPW's Ace Hiroshi Tanahashi. IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay faced Orange Cassidy for the title, and FTR actually won the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships from United Empire, while up and down the rest of the card other AEW and NJPW wrestlers either teamed up with or faced off against each othernote .
  • Cursed Item: In October of 2023, Excalibur mused on commentary that the International Title was cursed as Orange Cassidy ran himself ragged defending the title before losing it to Jon Moxley. Moxley lost the belt soon afterwards after he suffered a (legitimate) injury in match against Rey Fenix (and called an audible mid-match and had Fenix pin him). Finally, Fenix himself lost the title in quick fashion after several nagging injuries caught up with him.
  • Custom Uniform:
    • The first six TNT Champions have had their own unique variation of the belt. At first, this was something of a coincidence: Cody had to make-do with an unfinished placeholder belt during his first run, Brodie Lee had the finished version of that belt associated with him when it was retired after his death, and Darby Allin got a black leather version of the belt as a replacement. The unique belt idea was solidified with Miro's reign, when he got a white and green variant of the belt (which alongside his red trunks matches the colors of the flag of Bulgaria, Miro's home country), with the coat-of-arms of his hometown, Plovdiv, replacing the Turner Mansion side plates. When Sammy Guevara won the title, the standard version was reinstated, albeit with rhinestones added in the circular area behind the TNT logo (likely to compliment Sammy's bedazzled ring gear). During Scorpio Sky's second reign, he would receive a Los Angeles Lakers-inspired yellow and purple variant of the belt (which also has the numbers "8-24" emblazoned on the strap where the snap buttons are note ), after Sammy and Frankie Kazarian smashed the standard version with a sledgehammer.
    • When MJF won the AEW World Championship, he debuted a custom version of the belt that retains the same overall design, but has a brown strap with a subtle Burberry check pattern. Beginning with Samoa Joe's reign, the standard version's inner side plates were updated with a removable section that can be customized with the reigning champion's logo.
    • The AEW World Trios Championship have gotten this treatment as well. During the House of Black's reign as World Trio Champions, they introduced a custom variant of the belts that eschew the blue and gold color on the plating in favor of a monochromatic grey, silver and black color scheme, befitting their dark natures. When The Acclaimed and Billy Gunn won the titles, they unveiled their own custom belts with a pink leather strap and the ends of the belt have large slits, allowing them to scissor.
  • Dark Reprise: The theme song for Lucha Brothers underwent this after teaming with PAC to become Death Triangle.
  • Different in Every Episode: Instead of the usual kayfabe factoids, the information tab on Hangman Adam Page's entrance graphic changes every week to reflect some random thought in-character as the Functional Addict, such as "Days Sober: 0", "Social Distancing Since November", and "IDK Make It Say Something Like Happee Hawlidays".
  • The Dragon: Several wrestlers have a big, strong enforcer.
    • Jake Hager for Chris Jericho, until the Jericho Appreciation Society broke up.
    • Wardlow for MJF, before the former turned face.
    • Evil Uno for the Exalted One, before the latter's untimely passing.
    • Awesome Kong for Brandi Rhodes, until the Nightmare Collective dissolved.
    • Luchasaurus, later renamed Killswitch, for Christian Cage.
  • Dramatic Unmask:
    • For the Masked Luchadores who compete in AEW, it is not against the rules for an opponent to tear off your mask, though the camera crews are courteous enough to not focus on your face when it does happen. Notably, FTR earned a win against the Lucha Brothers by ripping off Penta's mask and pinning him in the ensuring shock. The Lucha Brothers got their revenge over a year later when they got the stipulation that they would fight a mysterious masked tag team of Andrade's choosing; this turned out to be FTR competing as "Las Super Ranas", whom the Lucha Brothers quickly unmasked to reveal their real identities.
    • Happened twice at the 2022 edition of All Out.
      • First, late in the Casino Ladder Match, the opening match of the show's PPV feed, a group of masked men stormed the ring and took out all of the competitors. One of them climbed the ladder and grabbed the poker chip that assured its holder a future shot at the AEW World Championship, and then unmasked, revealing himself to be manager Stokely Hathaway. The rest of the crew then unmasked, revealing themselves as W. Morrissey,note  Austin and Colten Gunn, Lee Moriarty, and Ethan Page. Finally, another masked man entered the ring and was announced as the final entrant, "The Joker", and Hathaway gave the poker chip to him. "The Joker" teased unmasking, but didn't...
      • ...until after CM Punk reclaimed the World Championship from Jon Moxley. Immediately afterward, The Joker was shown in a video and revealed himself as MJF, who hadn't appeared in AEW since a searing worked shoot promo three months earlier. MJF then came on stage, flipping off the crowd and gesturing that Punk's belt would be his.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Alex Marvez was a fixture of the company's commentary team in its pre-Dynamite days. After Tony Schiavone joined, Marvez was relegated to being the promotion's backstage interviewer, where he has remained since.
    • Early episodes of Dark lacked a consistent commentary team; it was usually Excalibur with a Special Guest from the wrestling roster. Dark eventually settled on pairing Excalibur with Taz for most matches.
    • Similarly, Elevation began with the commentary team of Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight. Later, Eddie Kingston was introduced as a third wheel, and has mostly stuck around since.
    • At the start of the "pandemic era", AEW took the initiative in taping around five weeks of shows overnight at the Nightmare Factory wrestling school (operated by AEW's Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall) in Norcross, Georgia, so they would be prepared if wrestling shows could not continue to be produced in the short-term. These episodes certainly stand out as AEW would use the distinctive Daily's Place as their home venue throughout the rest of this era.
    • For most of 2019 and early 2020, the "Elite" part of the company name was much more indicative of its brand identity. Omega and the Young Bucks were featured much more prominently, even above the world champions. Promos and segments on actual AEW shows were rare, usually being featured on Being the Elite instead. Inside jokes and references from the Elite's fanbase were extremely common and they even booked most of the matches and storylines. Essentially, if you weren't an established fan of the Elite and/or a regular viewer of BTE, you would have a very difficult time following the development of feuds and storylines. This seems to have been phased out over the course of 2020.
  • Elite Four: The "Four Pillars" of AEW, a name coined by MJF for the top young stars who would be carrying the company forward into the future — himself, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara and Jungle Boy (now working under his real name of Jack Perry). Although during their epic promo face-off, CM Punk suggested that MJF had been supplanted as one of the Pillars by Britt Baker, while a lot of fans in 2022 decided to replace Sammy with Wheeler Yuta, due to the former's lukewarmly received angle with Tay Conti and the latter's rising prominence and acclaimed matches.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Several heels have justified their actions in promos by saying they do it to put food on their family’s table.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Prince Nana was okay with barging through Hangman Page's house with Swerve Strickland when he thought nobody was home. However, when they started hearing noises in the house, Nana became uncomfortable with the idea.
  • Game Changer:
    • The foundation of AEW marked a significant shift in the balance of power in the North American wrestling scene. After the fall of WCW and ECW at the end of the Monday Night Wars, and after Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor had failed to gain more than niche followings (and Impact, formerly known as TNA, had managed to repeatedly embarrass itself when it had tried to compete with WWE on its own level, such as the "New Monday Night Wars" when they moved their flagship TV show to Mondays to go against Raw), the backing of Tony Khan and the guiding hands of The Elite meant that AEW aimed to be the true Spiritual Successor to WCW that fans had long been clamoring for. Even though it didn't aim to directly confront WWE on its own massive levelnote , by providing another promotion where wrestlers can sign to gain a relatively good amount of mainstream exposure without the harsh working schedules and difficult backstage environment of WWE, AEW managed to offer workers on the North American wrestling scene an alternative career trajectory than ultimately striving to end up in WWE. The existence of AEW had a considerable effect on the way WWE did business almost immediately, with the company signing more talent to longer, more lucrative contracts in order to keep as many wrestlers as possible away from AEW.
    • On November 12, 2020, Tony Khan tweeted that "the balance of power in wrestling will shift tonight". When the most dramatic thing to happen on the episode of Dynamite aired that night was the return of PAC (who had been absent for months thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic), this tweet became the subject of some mockery, but events that shortly followed suggested he had simply been a couple of weeks premature, as the December 2 episode revealed that AEW had entered into a working relationship with Impact Wrestling (which, despite the past failings mentioned above, was still the third biggest wrestling promotion in the USA after AEW's foundation) when Kenny Omega won the AEW World Championship and absconded together with Impact Wrestling vice president Don Callis to make his next appearance on the subsequent episode of Impact!, eventually leading to Impact World Tag Team Champions the Good Brothers (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson) appearing on Dynamite, and even Kenny wrestling a main event match on the next Impact PPV. Together with the working relationships AEW already had with the NWA and AAA, it was speculated that AEW was assembling a massive wrestling company coalition to compete against WWE, speculation that went into overdrive when KENTA kicked open the "forbidden door" at the end of the February 3, 2021 Beach Break special episode of Dynamite, revealing that AEW had also come to terms (or was in the process of coming to terms) with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the biggest wrestling company in Japan. Fans have theorized that AEW is attempting to revive the interpromotional wrestling network of the pre-WWE hegemony territory days, only now on a global scale.
    • In the fall of 2021, AEW signed in rapid succession CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, and Ruby Riott. The injection of massively notable talent (specifically Punk, who had not wrestled in seven years, yet still retained a devoted cult following through that time) gave the company a shot in the arm at a time when the AEW roster had not seen much of a shake-up in a while. The result was Dynamite and new sister show Rampage pulling numbers (over a million viewers) AEW had not seen since the first month of existence when they were still a novelty, with 18-49 demographic ratings that toppled even WWE Raw; filled Arthur Ashe Stadium (home of tennis' US Open) with 18,000 fans at a time when WWE struggled to hit 5,000 in return to live arenas; and led All Out 2021 to crack over 200,000 PPV buys, a first for a non-WWE PPV since 1999. The publicly expressed joy of Punk, Danielson, and Riott (now christened Ruby Soho) returning to action in front of rabid fans with more creative freedom than they had in WWE had wrestling journalists reporting that more disgruntled WWE talent were now counting down the clock on their WWE contracts in hopes of making a similar jump, and noting that jump of talent may be the most important since Scott Hall and Kevin Nash infamously jumped to WCW.
  • Genki Girl:
    • Kylie Rae was basically AEW's equivalent of Bayley, always showing herself smiling and cheerful. When she left the company, the void of that role seems to be filled by both Riho and Allie (at least until Allie turned heel and joined The Butcher and The Blade as The Bunny).
    • Yuka Sakazaki fully counts as one, especially when she goofs off in the ring.
    • Maki Itoh is shaping up to be a lunatic version of this trope.
    • Tay Conti (now Tay Melo) is dancing her way to the role nicely.
    • Willow Nightingale is the new crowd favourite for how infectiously happy she always is.
  • Genre Throwback:
    • Most AEW matches feature a 20-minute time limit, which has come into play on a few occasions (most notably Darby Allin vs. Cody at Fyter Fest 2019, where Allin surviving until the time limit draw served to build him up as a credible Determinator). Strictly enforced time limits was a staple of old-school professional wrestling, but had largely been abandoned outside of special stipulation matches as the major wrestling promotions evolved from being kayfabe broadcasts of sporting events to something more tailor-made for television.
    • Main event non-title matches on TV are also under ''TV time remaining" limits as an old-school kayfabe concession that the last match will conclude by the time they're scheduled to go off-air. For title matches, it would continue on AEW's YouTube channel should they go long, but that has yet to be enacted.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: A (presumably) unintentional one during the AEW World Championship match between Chris Jericho and Cody at Full Gear 2019 when Cody went for a suicide dive out of the ring onto Jericho, only for Jericho to roll out of the way towards the cameraman, causing his body to block a lot of the shot as Cody smashed headfirst into the steel entrance ramp, tearing a vicious gash open in his forehead. Given the brutality of the spot, it may have been for the better.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: One of the silly nameplate facts given to Adam Page when he and Kenny Omega faced off against the Lucha Brothers said, "¿Cómo se dice yeehaw?" ("How does one say yeehaw?").
  • Grievous Bottley Harm:
    • On the January 8, 2020 episode of Dynamite, Moxley smashed a bottle of "a little bit of the bubbly" over Jericho's head after refusing his offer to join The Inner Circle.
    • During the Stadium Stampede match at Double or Nothing 2020, Kenny Omega and "Hangman" Adam Page had to break five bottles of "a little bit of the bubbly" (from a bar inside the stadium where the match took place) over Jake Hager's head before hitting him with Page's finisher (with Kenny providing the boost) to take him out of the match.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: As AEW started, Cody Rhodes stated that he believes Heels and Faces are tired tropes and that all wrestlers are merely “competitors”. However, AEW would still follow the traditional tropes — like TNA Impact in its heyday, there are separate entrance tunnels for heels and faces — although employ several tweeners like PAC and Lance Archer, while Cody Rhodes has his own entrance way between both designated tunnels.
  • Halloween Episode: The October 30, 2019 edition of Dynamite featured numerous wrestlers coming to the ring in costume, including Best Friends as Rick and Morty, the Young Bucks as Ryu and Ken, and Kenny Omega as Sans.
    • The Elite vs Dark Order match on the 10/27/21 episode of Dynamite had multiple costumes. The Dark Order had an eclectic costume style (John Silver in a Bambi onesie, Stu Grayson as Kratos, Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds and Alan Angels as cowboys, and Colt Cabana as The Elite's valet, Brandon Cutler), with the Elite having to scrap their Squid Game idea for a Ghostbusters theme instead. After eliminating the Dark Order horse (assumed to be Preston "10" Vance, in actuality Brandon Cutler) with a BTE-trigger, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man reveals himself to be Hangman Adam Page!
    • The 10/28/23 Collision "Fright Night Fight" match saw Hikaru Shida dressed as Ada Wong vs. Abadon, who had styled their makeup and ring gear for the night like Spawn. Additionally, the ring was decorated with Halloween ephemera, and a pumpkin pail of candy was used in place of the more typical bag of thumbtacks.
  • Hidden Depths: On the December 4, 2019 Dynamite, Luchasaurus roared at Chris Jericho... then asked if Jericho really thought he talked like that and bragged about his Masters in medieval history (which he really does have).
  • I Meant to Do That:
    • invoked After the embarrassing incident during a beatdown by the Dark Order on the Elite where one of the Creepers was caught full-on camera throwing punches at Dustin Rhodes that weren't even in the same postcode as his head, AEW came in for a lot of mockery for the segment. They responded by working it into the story, giving the Dark Order another one of their vignette videos where it was implied that the Creeper in question was a mole infiltrating the Order who was only faking his participation in the beatdown and they had him "dealt with".
    • Similarly, after a spectacular fail of the pyros at the end of the "Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match" between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega, Omega and Don Callis played it off as an intentional joke they played on Mox and Eddie Kingston. Probably the best "save" the promotion could have come up with, but still.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: At All Out 2021, with his originally scheduled opponent Pac unable to attend due to travel issues (which had plagued Pac and the Lucha Bros. before hand, all of which were implied to have been caused by Andrade), Andrade and Chavo Guerrero Jr. were interviewed backstage. After having been asked point blank if they were the cause of Pac's travel issues, Chavo quickly interjected that he didn't even know the number for American Airlines, and then quickly backtracked and said "if that's the flight he was using."
  • Interface Spoiler: A hypothetical one, but during the premiere episode of Dynamite when the Women's World Championship belt was revealed, a lot of people took one look at it and immediately guessed who was going to win it. The belt is absolutely tiny by wrestling belt standards, even women's belt standards (as could be seen when the ref held it up), and was being contested between  female Wrestling Monster Nyla Rose and petite Japanese joshi Riho, who weighs well under 100lbs soaking wet. Riho won, and the tiny belt was nicely sized for her. AEW eventually replaced the belt with a new one that had a similar design but was significantly larger during the celebration for Hikaru Shida's year-long title reign in early 2021, and again in 2022 with an even larger belt when Britt Baker was defeated by Thunder Rosa.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Dan Lambert and his American Top Team faction's feud with The Inner Circle caused audiences to chant "Fat-faced dip shit" at him. He constantly insists that his face is not fat.
  • Jobber: AEW has a recurring roster of jobbers (of both genders) who show up repeatedly to lose to higher-standing talent. Some of them, like Peter "the Librarian" Avalon and Brandon Cutler, are full characters who wrestle on the main show as well, while most are enhancement talent who only appear on Dark and don't have a real character or get an opportunity to talk. Regardless, some of them (like Shawn "The Captain" Dean, Lee Johnson, Skyler Moore and Musa) manage to get quite over with the fans who want to see them pick up their first win due to good performances. You can also never tell when an apparent jobber losing on Dark will be picked up and promoted to a full performer if they're well-received enough, like Preston Vance, who lost his debut match to Darby Allin and was promptly recruited by the Dark Order as "10", or Alan Angels, who was recruited as "5".
  • Kid-Appeal Character:
    • Riho is only and became the inaugural Women's World Champion at age 22, having been wrestling since she was nine years old. Ratings have shown her segments are especially popular among teenage audiences.
    • During their tag-team partnership, Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy were very popular with younger fans as well, due to their cartoony gimmicks and Jungle Boy's youth. Marko Stunt's arrival in the stable added to it because of his unusually small size for a male wrestler (billed as 5'2", 120 lb).
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: During Kenny Omega's Undertale entrance on the October 30th, 2019 edition of Dynamite, a silhouette of Kota Ibushi (Omega's old tag team partner in New Japan Pro-Wrestling) holding the G1 Climax trophy was shown along with a modified version of the famous Lionmark of NJPW as a continuation of the Undertale-themed cutscenes made for Omega's Wrestle Kingdom entrance.
  • Left the Background Music On: At the start of the Anarchy in the Arena match, Moxley, Danielson, Kingston, Santana and Ortiz came out to Moxley's theme song, "Wild Thing". However, the song didn't stop when the match started, and kept playing on repeat until Jericho trashed the sound system, much to the crowd's displeasure. This may have been influenced by New Jack in ECW, somewhat of a hardcore icon.
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • The Dark Order (except Stu Grayson and Brodie Lee) were a stable of these back when they were heels. Evil Uno and 10 still wear their intimidating masks, but subvert the malevolent aspect since turning face. The young masked leader –1 is arguably still a heel, but since he's just a kid he still comes across as more endearing than malevolent, no matter how mean he is.
    • The House of Black wear skull-faced and animal-horned masks when making their sinister entrance, and are easily the scariest faction in the entire company.
  • Meaningful Name: The Elite in the name? It's because the wrestling part of their owning board formed a subgroup in the Bullet Club called "The Elite".
  • Mêlée à Trois: Double or Nothing 2019 had a triple threat booked between Dr. Britt Baker, Kylie Rae, and Nyla Rose and Awesome Kong as a surprise entrant to make it a fatal four-way.
  • Mythology Gag: As a dedicated promotion for hardcore wrestling fans, AEW incorporates a LOT of call-backs to famous elements of wrestling history.
    • AEW's TV series on TNT being named AEW Dynamite. Just remember that the last wrestling program TNT had was also named after an explosive substance. Also, the TNT Championship belt has images of the "Turner Mansion" (the Turner campus at Techwood, a former country club converted into CNN's original home in 1980; after CNN left for the CNN Center in 1987, it became home to every other Turner network, excepting [adult swim], which is based in an "overflow" facility on Williams Street) flanking the TNT logo; the "mansion" was where the WCW's predecessor, Jim Crockett Promotions, taped their shows (as in, you could feel the vibrations in CNN's original newsroom, and the wrestlers were in the basement, as several ex-Turner employees have recounted).
    • Brian Pillman Jr.'s tag team with Griff Garrison, the Varsity Blondes, is a call back to his late father's WCW tag team with the future legend then known as "Stunning" Steve Austin, the Hollywood Blonds.note 
    • The red and gold TNT Championship belt is a subtle nod to the classic TNT channel logo used from 1995 to 2001, which not coincidentally was the logo used throughout the life of WCW Monday Nitro.
    • Brodie Lee's brutal squash of Cody for the TNT Championship was directly based on Antonio Inoki being flattened by Big Van Vader in 1987, one of the most infamous Squash Matches of all time. Similarly, their dog-collar rematch was chosen by Brodie himself as a tribute to his personal favourite wrestling match of all time, Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper at Starrcade 1983, with Valentine himself in attendance.
    • Cody having a supposedly-friendly exhibition match against QT Marshall where QT snaps in response to Cody patronising him by holding the ropes open for him to reenter the ring after being thrown out and turning on him and attacking him was a call back to the famous "master vs student" match between Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko which ended the same way when Zbyszko beat up his mentor with a chair.
    • In the second Stadium Stampede, Tully Blanchard was attacked with a shard of wood, much like the ending of his famous "I Quit" match against Magnum TA. This time, Blanchard didn't say the two words.
    • CM Punk's debut match against Darby Allin featured several direct references to and recreations of spots from one of Punk's favourite matches, Bret Hart vs the 1-2-3 Kid from a 1994 RAW. Someone even made a video comparison of the matching spots and X-Pac himself thanked Punk and Darby for the homage.
    • Immediately after Tony Khan opened the March 2, 2022 episode of Dynamite by announcing he had bought Ring of Honor, he brought out Bryan Danielson and Christopher Daniels for a match. The two had performed in the very first ROH main event in 2002.
    • At Forbidden Door 2022 the team of Sting, Darby Allin and NJPW's Shingo Takagi was called "Dudes With Attitudes", a homage to the team Sting formed in WCW ("The Dudes With Attitude", consisting of Sting, Lex Luger, Paul Orndorff, the Steiner Brothers, Junkyard Dog and El Gigante) to face The Four Horsemen at The Great American Bash in 1990.
    • It did not escape many fans that AEW Collision's logo bared more than a passing resemblance to WCW Monday Nitro.
  • One-Steve Limit: Completely averted, sometimes to near-comical levels; since AEW doesn't mandate its performers take on a new name when they sign with the company (unlike WWE under Vince; with Triple H, this seems to be going away) there's a significant amount of name overlap. Orange Cassidy has wrestled against Isiah Kassidy. In early 2022 Bryan Danielson wrestled Daniel Garcia one week, then Christopher Daniels the next, while at the same time AEW Champion Adam Page was feuding with Adam Cole (and during their match at Revolution 2022 the crowd completely leaned into it by chanting "Let's go Adam!" and other similarly unspecific chants). It may be fortunate that Adam Cole was out with an injury just when Adam Copeland was signed, but at the same time The Acclaimed's Max Caster was trying to make friends witH Maxwell Jacob Friedman. It's a meme among fans that AEW should book Adam Page, Ethan Page, Christian Cage and Brian Cage in a cage match with Diamond Dallas Page as the special guest referee. And when Tony Khan does interview segments, he's usually accompanied by Tony Schiavone to introduce him, with the two men simply addressing each other as "Tony."
    • Played straight, however, when Chris Jericho was introducing his new Jericho Appreciation Society, part of which included renaming the former 2point0 members Matt Lee and Jeff Parker as "Daddy Magic" Matt Menard and "Cool Hand Ang" Angelo Parker. It was such an obvious Take That! to WWE's habit of repackaging every wrestler who debuts on the main roster with a stupid new name that it took a while for fans to notice that he'd done this the week after Jeff Hardy had debuted in AEW to reunite his legendary tag team with his brother Matt Hardy. A few guys who share names is one thing (Matt Hardy had even teamed with Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks when he'd first debuted) but two separate tag teams where both pairs of guys share the same two names is one too far.
  • Only One Name: Several amongst the roster; notably, Cody Rhodes initially went by "Cody" as he did on the indies as the name "Cody Rhodes" was in a trademarked battle with WWE. Cody was able to get the rights to use "Rhodes" in November 2020, competing from that point as "Cody Rhodes" once more.
  • Parent-Child Team: As well as being a backstage figure, Billy Gunn was wrestling together with his son Austin as Gunn Club. Younger son Colten later joined them, and still later the sons turned on their father, now working as The Gunns.
    • In a slightly different version, Taz's real-life son Tyler Senerchia wrestles as Hook. The son had been in his father's Team Taz stable until it broke up in 2022.
  • Parts Unknown:
    • Private Party hail from "A Location Where You Need an Invitation" and have a combined weight of " of Vodka Cranberry" (or "Cranberry Vodka"; the order varies).
    • Orange Cassidy is from "...wherever" and weighs "...whatever".
    • Kris Statlander was originally billed as being from "The Andromeda Galaxy".
    • Danhausen is "from some place far away", claims to stand "six feet, seven inches tall" and "weighs over 300 pounds."
    • Before being renamed Killswitch, Luchasaurus was "from the tar pits". He's now introduced without a location at all.
  • Player Elimination: The Casino Battle Royale has 21 entrants, with the first 20 entering at intervals in groups of 5 based on the cards they drew from a deck before the match. The wrestler who drew the Joker from said deck enters solo as the last entrant. Eliminations can occur at any time, and all entrants must have joined before a victory can be valid.
  • Power Stable: The Inner Circle is the first prominent group in the promotion, followed by The Dark Order and more recently The Pinnacle, the Andrade Family Office (before it broke up; it was originally the "Hardy Family Office" until Matt Hardy "sold" a majority interest to Andrade El Ídolo and later left the stable), Team Taz (until it too broke up), the Jericho Appreciation Society (ditto), and the Blackpool Combat Club. As of the end of 2023, the BCC has been joined by the Mogul Embassy, the Patriarchy, and the Undisputed Kingdom. There are also the Power Trios mentioned below.
  • Power Trio:
  • Precious Puppy: The AEW Puppy Battle Royale, done as a promotion for the Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, and also for a laugh.
  • Precision F-Strike: Moxley got one in himself during his post-match promo at Revolution, when the sound guys thought he had finished after a long pause to soak in a reaction and hit his music prematurely:
    Moxley: I'm gonna—[music hits]— 'ey, what the fuck?!
    • Happened again after he returned from rehab and some unruly fan heckled him during his return promo, leading Mox to respond accordingly:
      Moxley: Hey, go fuck yourself! Get that guy outta here!
    • Bryan Danielson got in his usual pre-WWE one after hitting Kenny Omega with a particularly vicious kick to the head during their match at Grand Slam.
      Danielson: He just got his FUCKING HEAD KICKED IN!
    • MJF got one in the main event of All In 2023, likely getting the biggest cheer of the night in the process:
      MJF: We're going 'til we got a winner in FUCKING Wembley!!
  • Recurring Extra: Many of the wrestlers on the AEW Dark roster play this role on Dynamite. You can usually find Kilynn King, Tessa Price, Katalina Perez and Dani Jordyn (among others) in the background of most matches on Dynamite, but they rarely play a prominent role in the story.
  • Red Herring: During the championship match between Jericho and Cody at Full Gear 2019, a time limit of 60 minutes was put on the bout, with three judges on hand to decide on a winner if it went to time. Even more notably, the judges were Arn Anderson, the legendary Keiji Mutoh, and Dean Malenko, Jericho's Arch-Enemy from WCW, and during the match Jericho even got into Malenko's face, almost starting a physical altercation with him, all of which pointed towards the possibility of the match using all of its alotted time and requiring the judges to step in. As it turned out, the match didn't even get close to 60 minutes, ending just shy of 30 minutes when MJF threw in the towel for Cody, with the judges not being required at all.
  • Running Gag:
    • The text above "Hangman" Adam Page's nameplate being changed to various silly things, much to his frustration. Examples include, "Drank a bottle of whiskey at home alone last Wednesday", "IDK make it say something like Happyee Hawlidays", "Has been drinking" (which got popular enough to make it onto a shirt), and "Not gonna pay Private Party that $.
    • A shot of Britt Baker sitting in the audience giving shocked reactions, which is a nod to her appearance in NXT: WarGames 2019.Background 
    • The Elite's promos continuing to run after they're done speaking, since Brandon Cutler doesn't know how to make a video camera stop recording.
    • The Pinnacle somehow being unable to defeat Captain Shawn Dean, with MJF himself having two losses against him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the 4/13 episode of Dark, Luther was introduced as from "The Kingdom of Nye". This is the nickname of Nye County, Nevada, home of the late broadcaster Art Bell. Appropriate as Luther is also a paranormal podcast host, and the show aired on the third anniversary of Bell's death.
    • Penta's ring gear in 2021 greatly resembles The Joker. To keep the DC references going, Andrade came to the ring of his debut match dressed as Black Mask.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: A random guy on Twitter doing a question to Dave Meltzer led to a bet with Cody Rhodes which also involved The Young Bucks. A year later this strange chain of events led to the creation of All In, the biggest indie PPV, and half a year later, it ended up with the creation of AEW.
  • Spanish Announcers' Table: While the foreign language commentary is done from backstage, there is a timekeeper's table right next to the ring that is available to be smashed up if the match demands it.
  • Spin-Off: AEW could be considered to be technically a clean break from Ring of Honor that ROH itself didn't see coming, as opposed to something intentionally setup like Full Impact Pro or SHIMMER. While All In was independent from any particular promotion, ROH was part of it by virtue of several of its then-contracted wrestlers taking part of it, and the resulting promotion continued to have ROH's blessing going forward, even if it meant another competitor.note 
  • Spiritual Successor: AEW is a promotion based in the American South with a Rhodes holding the book, a weekly show on TNT (named Dynamite, no less), a popular faction of real-life close friends up front and center, international agreements that grant access to cutting-edge talent, and a billionaire backing it all... hmm, what major wrestling company could this possibly remind people of? Cody has admitted that this is a little deliberate, and that he has harbored some thoughts that AEW is an avenger for WCW. He's also stated that, while it's certainly a romantic idea, he isn't going to be pursuing it, as he has people who rely on him and have no interest in taking down WWE.note 
  • Start My Own: After a stint in the indies, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and Ring of Honor, the Elite contingent of Bullet Club split up from both New Japan and Ring of Honor and started their own promotion.
  • Streisand Effect: An intentional invoking of this was done in response to MJF's brutal Worked Shoot promo against the company and Tony Khan on the June 1, 2022 episode of Dynamite. Immediately after the promo, the show cut to commercial and made zero mention of what just happened when it returned. The promo was not uploaded to AEW's official YouTube channel, and the press kit lacked any photographs of it. MJF was also subsequently removed from the roster page, and his merch pulled from ShopAEW. If you want to watch the promo, you need to seek out a third-party upload of it.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • The Librarian gimmick is intentionally bad. In fact, it traces its origins to Dave Meltzer saying that the one gimmick that would never get over in wrestling would be that of a librarian.
    • Revolution 2020 marked the debut of Orange Cassidy's titantron graphics... which is just his name written in black marker on a white background.
    • Ever since Malakai Black spit poison into her eye, Julia Hart started wearing an eyepatch. For several months, said eyepatch appeared in her promotional renders, albeit poorly photoshopped.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: An onscreen variation. As commentary was wont to point out many times since Cody's initial title victory, Cody's weekly TNT Title defenses, coupled with his heavy workload as EVP of the company, was clearly taking a great physical toll, as it took increasingly more effort to put away later opponents and Cody had little to no time to rest any of his accrued injuries leading up to the next show with his company-related responsibilities. Enter Mister Brodie Lee as the latest challenger. While Cody put up an initial flurry, the exhaustion and numerous injuries finally caught up with him, and Lee bulldozes Cody in 4 minutes flat to become the new champion.
  • Tag Team: AEW has repeatedly been praised for having the single deepest and best-developed tag team scene in the entire history of the wrestling industry, and the division arguably receives even more attention than the singles wrestlers do. Past and present teams include:
  • Take That!:
    • Over time, it became noticeable that the Librarian gimmick was basically a perfect storm of anything that can go wrong in a storyline, especially "comedy storylines" WWE is known for. First, The Elite claimed that Tony Khan forced the storyline on them (in reality he wasn't), much like how it's claimed that certain storylines only go ahead because Vince McMahon finds them amusing. Then, when one of the wrestlers performing the character, Peter Avalon, went to Creative to complain (as shown on Being the Elite), he finds a pair of Obstructive Bureaucrats who talk him into continuing it; their conversation mirrors one Jon Moxley described to have when discussing his own issues with his character's direction in WWE.
    • Dynamite has produced several instances where the wrestlers have not-so-subtly mocked WWE in their promos, such as Chris Jericho telling the audience to stop chanting "We the people" at Jake Hager because it sucked and was a stupid idea from creative, or Cody Rhodes saying that "this isn't like the other company we came from" where there was an invisible wall stopping him from reaching Jericho in the luxury box. But perhaps the most obvious one was at Double or Nothing 2019, where after Cody's entrance, a chair filled with the imagery of a certain wrestler was revealed, which Cody promptly destroyed with a sledgehammer (said wrestler's Iconic Item).
    • After Christopher Daniels had spent weeks questioning the existence of "The Exalted One", the supposed leader of the Dark Order, said "Exalted One" finally reveals himself as Brodie Lee (formerly known as Luke Harper in WWE, and known for being one of many wrestlers to be very underutilized while on WWE's roster), and strikes at both Daniels (who at the time had just turned 50 years old) and Vince McMahon in a single line:
      Brodie Lee: Mr. Daniels, I assure you you're not the first out-of-touch old man to not believe in me, but I will make damn sure you're the last.
    • During the build to the 2020 edition of Fight for the Fallen, Taz cut a promo on Moxley, whose title match with Taz's client Brian Cage was delayed after Moxley's wife, WWE commentator Renee Young, contracted COVID-19, forcing Moxley to quarantine at home as a precaution. Taz alleged that Moxley was simply ducking Cage because all of Mox's COVID-19 tests came back negative, and Taz pointed out Mox would still get tested upon return because "We don't run a sloppy shop!" This was a shot at WWE, who had just had a highly-publicized wave of over 30 performers and crew testing positive for COVID-19, in part because of lax protocols (reportedly, Kevin Dunn had consistently downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic to the talent, and had even told the NXT/Performance Center talent acting as audience to not wear face masks because "if you wear a mask, you're not a real fan"; masks only began to be worn after the wave of infections). While neither AEW or WWE had been enforcing standard social distancing guidelines among talent during production, AEW had been giving full COVID-19 tests to talent while WWE had simply been running temperature checks as a precaution. According to industry journalists Brian Alvarez and Dave Meltzer, WWE brass were extremely angry at this jab.
    • During 2020's All Out, one segment features Kip Sabian announcing that he will be married on a future episode of Dynamite, before plugging his Twitch channel with an on-screen message reading "This message has been approved by All Elite Wrestling". This was a shot at WWE over the ongoing story at the time that they were cracking down on talent using their wrestling names (or even their real names) to promote themselves on third-party platforms such as Twitch and Cameo.
    • During AEW Games' first announcement, they have officially confirmed that Yuke's and WWF No Mercy's developer Geta-San (real name Hideyuki Iwashita) are part of the development team for their first console video game. This is a huge blow for a couple of reasons:
      • For Yuke's, the company had a falling out with 2K Games, who still publishes games for the WWE. Being able to make a game that competes with the WWE's games invigorated the company's team. This was a shot at both WWE and 2K for making decisions outside what Yuke's wanted.
      • For Geta-San, this is a historical shot at WWE. Geta-San was the director of the 4 main Nintendo 64 pro wrestling games under AKI Corp, now known as Syn Sophia, since 1997. The first N64 game, WCW vs. nWo World Tour, was the game that set the standard of pro wrestling games and fighting games because of its focal point: The unrivaled game engine that was very simple to play, but difficult-yet-addicting to master thanks to the many available gameplay options. WCW was WWF's competitor at the time, and to see a game dent WWF's fortunes shows how big this game is. WCW/nWo Revenge was the tipping point where WWF decided to actually buy the competition away from WCW to do WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy, which later on led to WCW's demise and later on purchase from WWF. What made these 4 games great is that while it adds new features, it only refines the core gameplay without mass overhauling the game's engine like other wrestling games. WWF No Mercy, the last of the series, is the Trope Codifier of pro wrestling games, to the point that even hardcore fans today have modded it to match the current roster such as NXT. WWF Backlash (2001) was also in development for the Nintendo 64, but that game was never completed. Despite Syn Sophia suggesting Yuke's to WWF for SmackDown development for PlayStation, it is unknown why WWF and Syn Sophia separated ways in favor of Yuke's for the Nintendo Gamecube.
      • Kenny Omega and Cody mentioning that this game will take time to develop and wants to make this the best pro wrestling game ever, thanks to the above mentioned. This is a shot at WWE's practice of releasing a game every year and lowering the quality testing, which was the result of invoked WWE 2K20's abysmal launch that set the pro wrestling bar very low. This is also a shot at TNA (Impact Wrestling) for rushing their game and getting such mediocre reviews that it did not release a sequel after that, even with some input from AJ Styles and Samoa Joe who were known gamers and also wanted a No Mercy like game for TNA.
    • The "Paid Advertisements" featuring Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone during Kenny Omega's invasion of Impact Wrestling was full of digs at that promotion. Doubles as Biting-the-Hand Humor, given that the clips were being shown on Impact! itself (then again, a big part of the digs is that by paying for the ads, Tony Khan was helping fund Impact!).
      • In the first ad, Tony Khan brings up Schiavone's one-off appearance early in TNA's run:
        Khan: You spent a cup of coffee in Impact Wrestling yourself, didn't you, Tony?
        Schiavone: Yeah, one night, and then I quit the business for eighteen years.
      • In the second advertisement, Schiavone gets the input of two wrestlers known for their runs in TNA:
        The two greatest wrestlers in Impact history now with AEW: Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. [...] You know, I asked Daniels and Kazarian "Remember when Impact had fans when they were TNA?" And they said "No, we don't."
      • Schiavone also throws in a few shots at AXS TV while he's at it.
        It's great to be on cable AXS TV. Following this program, you will see the latest city council meeting.
        Lesson number one would be where to watch AXS; I don't even know where to find it. If you ask your smart TV to put on AXS, it says: "Dude, why?"
    • Another shot at WWE at ''Revolution ' when the "Face of TNT" ladder match required the winner to climb a ladder and grab a huge brass ring.
    • When WWE ceded the "Wednesday Night Wars" to AEW in April 2021 and moved NXT to Tuesday nights after a decidedly one-sided affairnote , Dynamite has made a few jabs. Notably, when NXT mainstay Adam Cole signed with AEW after his contract expired with WWE, he immediately ran afoul of Christian Cage, who said he didn't sweat Cole because "you're so used to losing Wednesday night wars".
    • On the first 2022 episode of Dynamite on January 5, MJF wrestled Shawn Dean. Just as the match was starting, CM Punk ran in as part of his ongoing feud with MJF, who immediately left. Then, Punk performed a GTS on Dean, handing MJF a DQ loss. In the following days, MJF tweeted that Dean didn't beat him; Dean then responded using Roman Reigns' catchphrase of "Acknowledge Me!" Also, cue Dean getting a new T-shirt that skewered MJF's catchphrase: "I Beat You And You Know It".
    • As part of his 2022 heel turn, Chris Jericho rebranded himself as a "sports entertainer", with his new stable the Jericho Appreciation Society all following his lead and boasting that they "beat up wrestlers", leaning into the "wrestling vs sports entertainment" narrative that defines AEW (and arguably every other wrestling company) vs. WWE.
    • After Wardlow turned face on MJF, MJF revealed that he (in kayfabe) still owned Wardlow's contract, refused to release him, and was just going to pay him to stay home until everyone forgot him, something WWE has been accused of doing with signed talent they have no interest in utilizing (most recently and infamously Mustafa Ali).
  • Wham Episode:
    • The March 18, 2020 episode of Dynamite revealed a debuting Brodie Lee as The Leader of The Dark Order, and closed with Matt Hardy also joining AEW.
    • The special December 2, Winter Is Coming episode of Dynamite featured two major reveals. The first was Sting becoming All Elite, walking out to break up a post-match brawl with his presence alone. The second was Kenny Omega winning the AEW World Championship, and subsequently revealing that he would be celebrating his victory on the next week's episode of Impact!. The reign of the Belt Collector has begun.
    • The March 10, 'Dynamite'' saw Chris Jericho call a "war council" of the Inner Circle. First, Sammy Guevara, who had left the stable due to MJF's antics, came back, showing a video which revealed MJF had been plotting to usurp Jericho's leadership. Then, the rest of the stable revealed their continued loyalty to Jericho, who kicked MJF out... only for MJF to reveal he had started his own stable, which proceeded to beat down the Inner Circle.
    • The second episode of Rampage, on August 20, 2021, began with the long-awaited return to professional wrestling of CM Punk after being retired for seven years, making his debut on AEW in the process.
    • The 2021 edition of All Out pay-per-view was this, seeing Adam Cole debut, seemingly looking to challenge Kenny Omega, only to reveal that he was joining the Elite. And if that wasn't enough, just as Omega was about to gloat about his victory, Bryan Danielson finally makes his AEW debut.
    • The special two-year anniversary episode of Dynamite on October 6, 2021 saw the unveiling of the new TBS Championship title, as well as Adam Page's dramatic return to the ring for the first time since his humiliation at the hands of the Elite. The episode ends with Page emerging victorious in the seven-man Casino Ladder Match after being revealed as the "Joker"—finally giving him his long-awaited shot at challenging his former mentor for the World Championship title.
    • The March 2, 2022 episode opened with Tony Khan making the huge special announcement that he'd been teasing—that he had acquired Ring of Honor!
  • Wham Line:
    • After Kenny Omega defeated Jon Moxley for the World Championship, then immediately booked it for the back with Don Callis:
      Alex Marvez: Guys, what did you do, what's going-what's going on here?!
      Don Callis: You'll find out this Tuesday night!
      Marvez: "Tuesday"?! Dynamite's on Wednesday!
      Callis: This Tuesday, Impact Wrestling on AXS TV!
    • After Jericho kicked MJF out of the Inner Circle:
      MJF: Chris, I swear to God I didn't want to take over your group. I swear, I swear, man... (slows down) 'cause I was too busy... building my own! (smirks)
    • On CM Punk's Dynamite debut, he seemingly goaded the crowd into starting up a "Yes!" chant with several rhetorical questions. His response to them?
      CM Punk: That's somebody else's schtick, and you might just need to be a little bit more patient, okay?
  • Wham Shot:
    • The company's first PPV Double or Nothing 2019 ended featuring one. Chris Jericho is gloating in the ring after defeating Kenny Omega, demanding a thank you from the fans, before the camera cuts to a very familiar, very lunatic man stalking through the crowd and heading to the ring (after having become famous in another company for entering the ring through the crowd, no less).
    • The end of the March 18, 2020 episode of Dynamite has the Inner Circle gloating over their win against The Elite, when a white drone appears. A very familiar white drone.
    • At the end of the "Beach Break" special episode on February 3, 2021, following his team's loss to the team of his hated rival Kenny Omega and the Good Brothers, Jon Moxley is about to put some pain into Omega, when a masked figure in a hoodie runs out and attacks him... who then unmasks to reveal himself as KENTA, who not only has an upcoming challenge against Moxley for his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship, but is also a current member of the actual Bullet Club in NJPW! It looks not only like the "Forbidden Door"note  may be finally opening, but a full-blown intercompany Bullet Club reunion may be coming as well!
    • MJF revealing himself as the masked "Joker" at the end of All Out 2022, marking his first appearance since his searing worked shoot promo three months earlier. (For more background, see "Dramatic Unmask" above.)
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Happened to Marko Stunt, the third member of Jurassic Express, who disappeared around the autumn of 2021 and never returned. His absence was all the more notable when his partners finally won the Tag Team Championship, yet he didn't join them in celebrating. He ended up being released in early 2022 after his contract expired.
  • Where It All Began: The 100th episode of Dynamite took place in the former Sears Centre (now known as NOW Arena) in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, where ALL IN took place exactly 3 years to the day of the latter.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: On an episode of Dark, Leva Bates was paired with Nyla Rose for a tag team match. Commentators implied that Bates was there because management refused to let Rose work a two-on-one match, but they couldn't force her to tag Leva in, so Bates scored her first AEW win by standing on the apron while Nyla single-handedly bulldozed the other team.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: In an episode of Dark Elevation Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky state in a promo that they would go after all the champions — except Shida. Scorpio actually backpedals after saying her name and he and Ethan agree that she is safe from their wrath.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay:
    • At AEW's initial announcement, Britt Baker was introduced as "Dr. Britt Baker DMD"...note  which is exactly what she is outside the ring. Baker graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 2018, and has a dental practice in the Orlando area.
    • One of the promotion's early storylines concerned two wrestlers being given the gimmick of "The Librarian", a wrestling librarian. Cody and Kenny backed Leva Bates for the role of The Librarian, while Matt Jackson and Christopher Daniels backed Peter Avalon for the role. Eventually, both Librarians met each other at the Double or Nothing Buy-In, and subsequently managed each other in their matches.
  • Wrestling Monster: AEW has an impressive roster of monster wrestlers:
    • Jake Hager debuted at the end of the first episode of Dynamite as the enforcer for Chris Jericho's new faction, the Inner Circle, providing most of their serious muscle.
    • MJF hired the services of the hulking and brutal Wardlow as his personal bodyguard.
    • Lance Archer came into the company as the client of Jake "the Snake" Roberts and murdered everyone who got in his way, in keeping with his Catchphrase "Everyone dies!" He has a tendency to attack random ringside crew and other personnel on his way to the ring, perhaps the most notable incident being when he gave a pop-up powerbomb to a random guy on the locker room. A locker room with a very low ceiling, resulting in the guy crashing through the roof before landing on the floor.
    • Brian Cage, "the Machine", is an almost Brock Lesnar-esque construct of solid muscle and callous brutality.
    • More recently, Nick Comoroto has drawn comparisons to Bruiser Brody for his size and in-ring viciousness.
    • For the women, the intimidating Nyla Rose is the leading monster of the division, and the second Women's Champion after eventually overcoming the petite Riho who'd defeated her before. They also had Awesome Kong at the start, but she had to leave to shoot the next series of GLOW. The legendary Aja Kong has also made occasional appearances.
    • Although she's smaller than the usual "monster", Abadon is pure nightmare fuel incarnate, like a female version of The Fiend in her howling psychotic brutality.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • While AEW is the Spiritual Successor to WCW, they can't actually say WCW, because WCW is owned entirely by WWE, who bought it up for pennies at the end of the Monday Night Wars. Notably, when Sting made his iconic debut on the "Winter Is Coming" episode of Dynamite, Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross could only refer to him being "back on TNT" after not having been seen there "since . Similarly, during the aforementioned Puppy Battle Royale, Schiavone said "This match is better than anything I called back in 2000."
    • They got away with tacitly referencing Bryan Danielson's tenure in WWE as "Daniel Bryan" in September 2022 when Danielson was announced as an entrant in the Grand Slam Tournament of Champions (a tournament ostensibly intended only for former AEW champions), despite never having won an AEW championship title at that point. Notably, Tony Khan announced him as a "six-time champion", but just didn't say which championship titles he'd held in the past (he was WWE Champion once, WWE World Heavyweight Champion four times, and Ring of Honor World Champion once).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): AEW


Timeless Toni Storm

As part of her Old Hollywood-inspired character, outside of matches, the image turns black and white when "Timeless" Toni Storm is on screen.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeliberatelyMonochrome

Media sources: