It is hard to argue that there is a week more exciting for wrestling fans than WrestleMania week. WrestleMania brings with it not just a week full of WWE content, but also huge events for independent promotions, meet and greets for fans, and huge announcements from WWE and other promotions. All Elite Wrestling since its inception has been looking to provide an alternative to fans who have fallen off of the WWE product or are looking for something new to follow, but what does AEW offer that can compete with the show of shows?
AEW has two main contenders for their "flagship show", Double or Nothing and All Out, but the question is can it be turned into the massive sports entertainment franchise that WrestleMania has become. There are also arguments for why AEW doesn't need its own WrestleMania.
Double or Nothing
Double or Nothing was the original AEW event, and the inaugural show in 2019 stands as one of the best pay-per-views in recent memory. Double or Nothing represented the beginning of a revolution in professional wrestling and started a legitimate alternative to WWE. If you asked most people what is AEW's WrestleMania, most people would point to Double or Nothing.
Double or Nothing is also similar to WrestleMania in that it serves as a bit of a season finale/season premiere for AEW. Most storylines from the last year have a major resolution at Double or Nothing and the fallout from the show carries AEW into the Summer and sets up the major stories for the following year.
One argument against Double or Nothing is that the event is tied to Vegas in a way that in a post covid world I don't see the show working well in various venues across the US. One of the big upsides to WrestleMania is that it is in a new city every year and can be themed accordingly to each city, the double or nothing theme is very Las Vegas heavy and will likely be held in Vegas for most years to come.
All Out has a big claim to the title of flagship event and that is it is the spiritual successor to All In. Without All In, we likely would not have All Elite Wrestling at all. The fact of the matter is that if AEW had been able to retain sole ownership of the All In name we would not be having this discussion at all because All In would be the AEW's flagship event.
All In unlike Double or Nothing has nothing that really ties it to any particular city and could potentially travel each year in a post-pandemic world. All In was also chosen as the event to crown the first-ever AEW World Champion in 2019 and that doesn't happen by accident.
However, when it comes to its place on the calendar it doesn't really seem like All Out fills the same role that Double or Nothing does. All Out isn't so much a season finale as much as it is a mid-season bump. The event is still important but it doesn't have the same kind of finality to it that Double or Nothing has.
AEW Doesn't Need Its Own WrestleMania
Lots of fans would argue that whether you consider All Out or Double or Nothing the flagship event of AEW it doesn't really matter. AEW currently only presents four pay-per-views a year and that keeps the promotion from having to place more importance on any of their shows over the others.
This argument is pretty solid but I really see it as being a stand-in while AEW gets their footing in the world of pro wrestling. The promotion is still relatively young and it might take some time to establish either All Out or Double or Nothing as the kind of brand that can rival WrestleMania. AEW is on the right path though, their partnership with the Starrcast series of events will help draw eyeballs to the shows and as Dynamite starts to run unopposed on Wednesday nights we will likely see more people checking out AEW for the first time.
AEW has a lot of room to grow, and while they aren't at the WrestleMania level quite yet, they have two potential options to serve as their biggest night.
What do you think? Should I have given more love to Full Gear or Revolution? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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