All Elite Wrestling’s debut show, Double or Nothing, is taking place in Las Vegas tomorrow. While this site predominately deals with pro-wrestling and MMA in Southern California, and AEW’s debut is taking place in Las Vegas (though some people have repeatedly pointed out that according to Wikipedia Las Vegas is considered part of the Southern California megaregion), a lot of AEW’s prehistory is the SoCal wrestling scene of the last 20 years.
I’m pretty certain everyone reading this knows by this point that the promotion is owned by Shahid Khan and his son Tony Khan, with The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson), Cody Rhodes, and Kenny Omega serving as executive vice presidents.
The Young Bucks were born in Southern California and grew up in the local wrestling scene. They trained at Revolution Pro’s Rudos Dojo and ran their own promotion, High Risk Wrestling in the High Desert area. If one was to go through old HRW results and reviews it could possibly be a glimpse of things to come in AEW. The Young Bucks wrestled everywhere in Southern California, but most notably in PWG. Their loyalty to PWG and having it written into their exclusive contracts with Ring of Honor is one of the things that helped build PWG into the powerhouse it is today.
The match between The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers at Double or Nothing happened first at the American Legion in Reseda at a PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles.
— SoCal UNCENSORED (@socaluncensored) May 23, 2019
In 1999, I went to my very first EWF show and got to see both Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian live for the first time. Kazarian was trained in Southern California after starting with Killer Kowalski back east and Daniels spent extensive time here wrestling for EWF, WPW, XPW, and later UPW. Both wrestlers would become PWG regulars.
Together with Scorpio Sky, they represent the area with the totally awesome name of SoCal Uncensored.
Scorpio Sky was trained at Revolution Pro’s Rudos Dojo and has spent 17 years wrestling throughout the area. Brandon Cutler, who just signed his contract on Being the Elite earlier this week is from High Risk Wrestling. Peter Avalon was the 2009 Southern California Rookie of the Year and has been a mainstay in the scene for the last ten years. Jungle Boy trained in Southern California and was a regular in UEW.
Quite a few members of the AEW roster who aren’t from Southern California still wrestled here quite regularly. Kenny Omega, Angelico, Chuck Taylor, Darby Allin, Fenix, Penta El Zero M, Jack Evans, Joey Janela, and Trent Berretta all have a dozen matches or more in the region. Even Chris Jericho would wrestle in the area somewhat frequently in the 1990s, trained with EWF’s Jesse Hernandez and stayed with WPW’s Martin Marin.
Overall, members of the AEW roster have won a combined twenty Southern California Year End Awards, including eight Match of the Years.
This isn’t even mentioning that one of the greatest referees to come out of Southern California in Rick Knox and the greatest commentator to come out of the area in Excalibur is there too.
AEW might be a national wrestling promotion with a chance to rival WWE, but a good portion of its soul is SoCal wrestling.
Double or Nothing will start with a pre-show called The Buy In at 4:00 p.m. Pacific. That will be available free on AEW’s YouTube channel or on Bleacher Report (B/R) Live.
The lineup for The Buy In:
- Sammy Guevara vs. Kip Sabian
- Casino Battle Royale (winner gets a future world title shot)
The main show for Double or Nothing will start at 5:00 p.m. Pacific. It will be available as a pay-per-view through most cable companies and satellite services such as DirecTV for about $50. You can also order it on Bleacher Report Live if you want to stream it.
The lineup for Double or Nothing is:
- Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho for a AEW World Championship opportunity
- The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. The Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix) for the AAA World Tag Team Championship
- Cody vs. Dustin
- Britt Baker vs. Kylie Rae vs. Nyla Rose
- Hikaru Shida, Riho and Ryo Mizunami Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki & Emi Sakura
- Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta) vs. Angelico & Jack Evans
- SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky) vs. Strong Hearts (Cima, T-Hawk, & El Lindaman)
In the UK the pay-per-view will be available on ITV Box Office and via Fite.TV in the rest of the world.