AEW is WWE’s first real fight in decades. It may change the face of pro wrestling in the U.S.
Timothy Bella, The Washington Post
Pac (center) throws Andrade El Idolo from the ladder in the Casino Ladder Match at the AEW Dynamite show in Philadelphia. Photo for The Washington Post by Rachel Wisniewski
QUEENS, N.Y. — On a Wednesday night in New York City, wrestler Bryan Danielson has a slight grin as he kicks Kenny Omega in the head, drawing a collective “Yes!” from the more than 20,000 fans in attendance. The primal yells inside Arthur Ashe Stadium only get louder with every kick: “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Soon enough, Omega rebounds and proceeds to knife-edge chop Danielson in the chest so many times that his upper body now resembles a lump of raw, unseasoned ground beef. Both men eventually take to the top rope and throw their bodies at each other, much to the delight of a crowd that knows the fight has only just begun.
If this seems like an ordinarily violent fight in the world of professional wrestling – part athletics, part entertainment – it is also part of a broader battle playing out between World Wrestling Entertainment, the company that brought America legends like “The Rock” and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and an upstart challenger, All Elite Wrestling.