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 owners Shahid and Tony Khan who would join in their journey later that year. After The Elite (Cody, Matt, Nick, and "Hangman" Adam Page) finished up their ROH/NJPW commitments (save for stablemate Marty Scurll who has several months on his ROH contract) they went on to launch the AEW venture.
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.
The developments of the company can be followed in the following channels:
- The promotion's official channel.
- The Young Bucks' own YouTube series, Being the Elite.
- The "Nightmare Family" channel (property of both Cody and Brandi), which runs both the "All Us" series, documenting the ins and outs of ALL IN, and the "Road to..." series.
AEW will have a weekly TV show, Dynamite, airing on TNT in the United States premiering on October 2, 2019.
The promotion recognizes three championships:
- AEW World Champion: Chris Jericho since August 31, 2019
- AEW Women's World Champion: TBDnote
- AEW World Tag Team Champions: TBDnote
- Male roster: Cody Rhodes, PAC, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Adam Page, CIMA, Jimmy Havoc, Chris Jericho, Joey Janela, Jungle Boy, The Young Bucks, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Rey Fenix, Chuck Taylor, Sonny Kiss, Sammy Guevara, Scorpio Sky, Trent Baretta, Pentagon Jr., Kenny Omega, Brandon Cutler, Kip Sabian, Michael Nakazawa, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes, Peter Avalon, Isiah Kassidy, Marq Quen, Angélico, Jack Evans, Jon Moxley, Luchasaurus, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Shawn Spears, Marko Stunt, Orange Cassidy, Wardlow.
- Female roster: Penelope Ford, Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, Brandi Rhodes, Yuka Sakazaki, Aja Kong, Bea Priestley, Sadie Gibbs, Allie, Hikaru Shida, Leva Bates, Riho, Awesome Kong, Shoko Nakajima.
- Broadcast team: Jim Ross, Justin Roberts, Excalibur, Alex Marvez, Alicia A, Chris Van Vliet, Tony Schiavone and Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez.
- Producers and coaches: Michael Cuellari (fka QT Marshall), Billy Gunn, Jerry Lynn, Dean Malenko, Keith Mitchell, B.J. Whitmer
All Elite Tropes:
- Combat Commentator:
- Retired wrestler Excalibur is a color commentator.
- Allie did commentary during the women's fatal four-way in Double or Nothing.
- Genki Girl: Kylie Rae is basically AEW's equivalent of Bayley, always showing herself smiling and cheerful.
- 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 had a triple threat booked between Dr. Britt Baker, Kylie Rae, Nyla Rose and Awesome Kong as a surprise entrant to make it a fatal four-way.
- Power Trio:
- 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 in the creation of AEW.
- Spin-Off: While AEW was a clean break Ring of Honor didn't see coming, as opposed to something intentionally setup like Full Impact Pro or SHIMMER, their initial show had ROH's blessing, and the resulting promotion continued to have ROH's blessing going forward, because even if it meant another competitor, ALL IN still convinced their owner to let them into larger arenas. It's quite different from, say, AEW partner AAA's departure from CMLL.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Stylistic Suck: The Librarian gimmick is intentionally bad, although fans are divided as to whether or not the joke lands.
- Tag Team:
- The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)
- The Brotherhood (Cody and Dustin Rhodes) note
- Lucha Brothers (Pentagón Jr. and Fénix)
- The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Baretta)
- A Boy And his Dinosaur (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus)
- Los Gueros Del Cielo (Angelico and Jack Evans)
- Private Party (Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen)
- The Dark Order (Evil Uno and Stu Grayson)
- 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 isn't involved with storylines), 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.
- 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 is a fully licensed and practicing dentist.
- 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 to their matches.