Jon Moxley, Awesome Kong, Sadie Gibbs and Super Smash Brothers are all poised to make big impacts in AEW.
On Saturday night, All Elite Wrestling made it’s official debut and by all accounts, the show was everything fans of the new company could have hoped for. The card delivered big time as Double or Nothing truly had something for everyone, much like the company had promised would be the case. Every moment felt important, every match developed and told its own story. From the Casino Battle Royale to the show’s closing sequence, nothing felt out of place.
It was an incredibly well-booked show from top to bottom and that’s testament to the men behind the effort, who spent the better part of the last five months building the perfect roster. Comprised on fresh indie talents, established veterans and those looking for a chance to break out on their own, Double or Nothing was wholly successful. That said, as any top company knows, a roster is always growing and changing. AEW certainly entered Double or Nothing with a top notch roster that certainly showed in the match quality, but it ended with an arguably even better lineup of talent as each division got stronger by night’s end.
Awesome Kong is ALL ELITE
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) May 26, 2019
Brandi Rhodes decided to throw an unexpected wrinkle into the women’s triple threat match, citing that as is, the match would have been great, but Rhodes didn’t want great, she wanted, “awesome.”
Enter the only woman who was fit for the job, Awesome Kong.
Also known as Kharma in WWE, Kong has been wrestling since 2002, where she trained under Jesse Hernandez and Bob Yozawa. The 41-year-old powerhouse out of California, Kong was inspired to go into the wrestling business by Trish Stratus and Lita. She trained at the School of Hard Knocks in her native California and made her debut for Empire Wrestling Federation in 2002. From there, Kong continued her training in the art of joshi puroresu, where she was invited to spend time in the All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling dojo. There, Kong took part in rigorous training, learned to speak fluent Japanese and had the opportunity to learn mixed martial arts.
In 2004, Kong began wrestling for GAEA Japan and OZ Academy, where she had the chance to face Japanese joshi legends, Chigusa Nagayo, Manami Toyota, Ayako Hamada and Aja Kong, who she also tagged with in GAEA. In their first match together for the promotion, W Kong won the AAAW Tag Team Championships, holding the belts for a little over four months. It was the third title of Awesome Kong’s career and first of several she won alongside Aja Kong. In 2005, Kong went on to wrestle for Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX and HUSTLE primarily, where she is a former tag team champion. During her time in Japan, Kong won several championships including the WWWA World Championship (top title of AJWPW).
Continuing to wrestle in Japan at promotions such as NEO Ladies, Kong’s success in the Orient led to her being noticed by companies in the U.S. In 2006, Kong debuted for SHIMMER and TNA/IMPACT, two promotions she would come to dominate and be known for over the next several years. In SHIMMER, Kong had various winning streaks and lost very few matches overall. It wasn’t until 2010 that she was pinned for the first time in the promotion. In TNA, Kong was a unstoppable force, winning the Knockouts title twice and the Knockouts tag team title once. She is also a former NWA World Women’s Champion, a title she held for 358 days.
In her career, Kong has wrestled for Ring of Honor, Women Superstars Uncensored, EVOLVE, CHIKARA, Shine, Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling and WWE. Taking time off from the ring, Kong spent much of the last year working on the Netflix original series, GLOW, where she played Tamme “The Welfare Queen” Dawson. At Double or Nothing, she returned to the ring for the first time since 2017, joining a women’s division that features her old tag team partner, Aja Kong.
Sadie Gibbs is ALL ELITE
Back in March, Brandi Rhodes teased a new signing to the AEW women’s division. Before she could announce the name, Dave Meltzer had reported the wrestler in question was 26-year-old British wrestler, Sadie Gibbs. On Saturday, while she didn’t debut, AEW confirmed Meltzer’s report as a vingette aired showing that Gibbs is coming soon.
Not much is known about Gibbs, as she has only been wrestling for a few years. A background in CrossFit and gymnastics, Gibbs debuted in 2017. Her style is very much evident of where she comes from as Gibbs is considered one of the best female high-flyers in the UK. In 2019, Gibbs began to experience her breakout, taking part in a brief tour of World Wonder Ring Stardom and debuting for Pro Wrestling: EVE.
Gibbs’ star is only just beginning to shine and in AEW, she’ll have great opportunities to showcase her phenomenal talent.
Super Smash Brothers are ALL ELITE
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 26, 2019
When most people think about Super Smash Brothers, they are likely thinking about the Nintendo video games that brings together everyone’s favorite characters in one brawling universe. Now that Evil Uno/Player Uno and Stu Grayson/Stupefied/Player Dos have arrived in AEW, fans will soon know another definition for Super Smash Brothers.
Known as Triforce, in 2006, Canadian wrestlers, 31-year-old Player Uno and 30-year-old Stupefied, both early in their careers, came together as a team. The two debuted their team at International Wrestling Syndicate, finding a home there and in CHIKARA over the next several years, winning the tag team titles at both promotions. In addition, Player Dos won the 7th Annual Young Lions Cup in 2007, as both he and Uno had become huge favorites among the CHIKARA fan base. The two wrestled their last match with the promotion in 2010.
In 2008, SSB debuted for Ring of Honor. They began wrestling there regularly the following year up until 2010, facing such opponents as Kevin Steen and El Generico, the American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards), the Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe) and the Kings of Wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli – WWE’s Cesaro and Chris Hero – NXT‘s Kassius Ohno). In 2011, the pair made their debuts for Beyond Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, the latter of which became their primarily promotion the following year. At Death to All But Metal, SSB defeated the Young Bucks for the vacant PWG World Tag Team Championship, successfully defending the belt in their first defense, against the Bucks and Future Shock (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly) in a ladder match. They went on to hold the belts for 232 days.
By the time 2013 rolled around, SSB were being regarded as one of the best tag teams on the indies, picking up bookings at CZW, EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA among their other work. However, due to a new rule the duo were informed of in 2013, their success in the U.S. was cut short. SSB needed to obtain work visas to continue wrestling in America, a process that could take several years. In the meantime, they became beloved in Canada as well, wrestling for SMASH, Capital City Championship Combat and BATTLEWAR Pro Wrestling regularly and picking up championships almost everywhere they went. They also debuted in the UK and in Germany for Westside Xtreme Wrestling.
And on May 25th, 2019, the Super Smash Brothers made their glorious and triumphant U.S. debut, showing up at the end of the Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) vs Jack Evans and Angelico match to stake their claim in AEW’s already impressive tag team division.
Jon Moxley is ALL ELITE
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 26, 2019
Leading up to Double or Nothing, perhaps the biggest speculation was if Jon Moxley, who makes his home in Las Vegas, would show up and join AEW. Jake Hager (WWE’s Jack Swagger) did nothing to quell that talk when he accidentally let out that he didn’t want to steal Moxley’s moment by debuting at Double or Nothing. The show went on as planned, with surprises throughout but no Moxley. It wasn’t the right moment, his would be a debut that would have to come at the end because his association with AEW would be the company’s biggest get, securing the top free agent in the business.
Sure enough, after Chris Jericho defeated Kenny Omega to stake his claim as one of the #1 contenders for the vacant world title belt, Moxley made his way through the crowd, attacking Jericho, the referee and Omega. In a sequence most would probably describe as a match potential they never knew they wanted, Omega and Moxley brawled to the top of the stage on top of a pile of poker chips, where Moxley DDT’ed Omega on top of before throwing him off of onto the floor. The lasting shot, as DoN went off the air, was Moxley on the chips, a look of satisfaction on his face, the DoN logo behind him.
A lifelong wrestling fan who watched every piece of tape he could get his hands on, the 33-year-old Moxley began training in 2004, the moment he was legally able. Les Thatcher, whose academy Moxley began at, wouldn’t train him until he was 18 but as soon as that happened, Moxley dropped out of high school to fully commit to wrestling. He made his in-ring debut for Heartland Wrestling Association. Moxley spent his early career wrestling in local indies, all with the goal of one day making it to WWE. With HWA, Moxley was a seven-time champion, including three world title reigns, tied for the second most in the promotion’s history.
Moxley united with Sami Callihan in HWA and Pepper Parks, where the trio became known as the Crew. Moxley mentored Callihan and the two remained close up until they reunited in 2009 at CZW. But before that, Moxley traveled to Puerto Rico where he wrestled extensively for International Wrestling Association, as well as debuted for CHIKARA in the Young Lions Cup IV and WWE, wrestling several matches for both Velocity and Heat. He also debuted for ROH, began wrestling more regularly for Northern Wrestling Federation and Insanity Pro Wrestling and IWA: Mid South.
By this stage of his career, Moxley had started to become a well known name in the Midwest as well as on the East Coast. Opting to move from Cincinnati, OH to Philadelphia, PA only increased that presence as in Philly, Moxley was able to increase his visibility and exposure. He mainly did so with CZW, a company that had been picking up steam under new owner DJ Hyde. It was in CZW, that Moxley developed his niche as well, becoming a hardcore/deathmatch wrestler and excelling at it. Alongside Callihan and later Joe Gacy, Moxley formed the Switchblade Conspiracy and found his first but certainly not last success in a faction. Switchblade Conspiracy dominated and terrorized CZW for two years as Gacy, Callihan and Moxley showed no regards for the rules, the roster or even themselves as all three put their bodies on the line in extreme matches. Plus, they cut incredible promos filled with the same intensity they showed in the ring. Soon, the trio took their brand of destruction and disruption around the local indie scene, wrestling matches in Absolute Intense Wrestling, International Wrestling Cartel, IWA:MS and Germany’s wXw, where Moxley and Callihan won a tournament to crown new tag team champions. All of that was in their first year as a faction showing that Switchblade Conspiracy wasn’t going to wait for their opportunities, they were going to take them.
Moxley took part in his first Tournament of Death in 2009 and by the end of his first year with the company, was in the world title picture, winning a #1 contendership at Cage of Death XI. Much like Switchblade’s success, Moxley found championship glory right out of the gate. In his first chance at the world title in 2010, he won the belt at 11th Anniversary Show and held it for just under six months. He won it back shortly after, and held it again, for a little over half a year. In addition to his CZW success, Moxley won the Full Impact Pro title the same year, holding both belts simultaneously.
By 2011, Moxley was fully in WWE’s sights and by that June, he signed with the company on a developmental contract where he began with Florida Championship Wrestling. It was there that Dean Ambrose was born and where his WWE journey, one that is soon coming to an end, first began. Moxley opened his FCW career with a notable feud with Seth Rollins, one that saw the FCW 15 Title change from being fought in a 15-minute iron man match to a 30-minute one. Moxley couldn’t quite take that title or the FCW Florida Heavyweight Title from Rollins, but much like Moxley had with Callihan, Ambrose had found a sparring partner in Rollins. Together, the two came up to the main roster, alongside Roman Reigns, becoming the Shield. And together, they altered the WWE landscape tremendously.
A member of the Shield, Moxley was part of one of the most dominant factions in WWE history and one whose three members all went on to incredible and in some ways, unprecedented success. Moxley was the first of the trio to taste gold when he won the United States Championship in May 2013, a title he held for a still-record 351 days. Over the next eight years, Moxley added six more titles, a Money in the Bank win and became just the 16th wrestler at the time to win the grand slam (WWE/World, Intercontinental, United States and Raw/SD tag titles). He also became one of the top babyfaces in the company in those eight-plus years, constantly popping the crowd who enjoyed both his in-ring style and his antics.
Moxley had some memorable feuds in WWE, including with Jericho, who he targeted on Saturday. But more intriguing about his addition to the AEW roster, which Tony Khan confirmed is full-time and a multi-year deal, are the matches he hasn’t had, namely against Jimmy Havoc, who was one of the first people to express his desire for the match after Moxley announced he was leaving WWE. There’s also Omega, Pentagon, Hangman Page, Joey Janela, the list goes on. With Mox in AEW to stay, there is no doubt those matches will come and then some.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.