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A GUIDE TO AEW'S EXCITING YEAR AHEAD

By Kendall Jenkins on 2022-11-22 11:51:00

It’s been another busy year for AEW. The company has seen stars like CM Punk, Swerve Strickland, and Saraya join the organization; made its first foray outside of North America; and delivered some of the most newsworthy action in the world of professional wrestling. 

Launched in 2019 in an effort to break WWE’s long-held monopoly of the pro-wrestling industry, AEW has grown quickly. Well-known grapplers like Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, and Adam Cole have led the charge inside the ring, while the financial clout of President Tony Khan has helped propel the promotion to new heights.

Early on in its journey, AEW’s fresh approach to pro-wrestling helped trigger the “Wednesday Night Wars”, in which the company’s Dynamite TV program regularly beat WWE’s NXT show in TV ratings, forcing NXT to be moved to Tuesday nights instead. The ratings victory secured AEW’s position as the number 2 pro-wrestling promotion in America, and the first genuine competitor to WWE since WCW in the 1990s.

AEW has built on these successes in 2022 and sites like Koobit have seen tickets snapped up at a record pace. Not only did the company continue to attract top-tier talent, but Khan also funded the acquisition of Ring of Honor. Thanks to the purchase of the beloved indie promotion, AEW has enjoyed further growth across its roster and fanbase. 

Just weeks before its final pay-per-view of the year, Full Gear, AEW capped off 2022 with the release of its first video game, and a place on Fast Company’s “Brands That Matter” list. Ultimately though, wrestling is the heartbeat of the promotion and that will never change, so what’s next for AEW? With a number of upcoming shows set to take the wrestling world by storm, AEW events 2022–23 could be some of the company’s very best yet.

After shows in Newark, Chicago, and Indianapolis in November, AEW kicks off December with a return to Texas. On 7 December, the H-E-B Center in Austin will host weekly shows Dynamite and Rampage to start the trip to the Lone Star State, before the company’s flagship combo show visits Curtis Culwell Center in Garland on 14 December, and Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio on 21 December.

Sandwiched between AEW’s regular events in Texas in December is an annual special – Final Battle. A famous event for Ring of Honor, AEW will present Final Battle for the first time in 2022, as wrestlers from both promotions will battle it out in the squared-circle. Final Battle will take place at College Park Center in Arlington on 10 December.

After its Texas tour, AEW will traverse the Rocky Mountains in late December, with a stop for Dynamite/Rampage at Denver’s 1stBank Center on 28 December, before arriving in the Pacific Northwest in the New Year. AEW’s first visit to the region will begin with Dynamite at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena on 4 January, before Oregon gets its first taste of AEW action on 8 January when Rampage and Battle of the Belts come to town. Battle of the Belts V will be 2023’s first edition of the quarterly special in which every match is a title bout with championship gold on the line.

The weather might be cold across most of the US in mid-January, but AEW will be heading for sunnier climes as the company touches down in California between 11–18 January. Starting off in the City of Angels, wrestling fans in the Golden State will be able to enjoy Dynamite/Rampage at LA’s Kia Forum on 11 January, before Jon Moxley and co travel to Fresno for another dose of weekly grappling action at the city’s Save Mart Center on 18 January.

When the whistle stop tour of the West Coast is over, AEW will begin a new chapter in its history with a number of debut shows in new cities. First up, the band of brawlers will journey back inland for their first Kentucky show at Lexignton’s Rupp Arena on 25 January. The firsts will continue as the company travels south to Phoenix’s Footprint Center for another dose of Dynamite and Rampage on 22 February – AEW’s inaugural show in Arizona.

Rounding off AEW’s confirmed list of dates so far for 2023 is another visit to California. This time, the promotion will make its bow in San Francisco, with 2 shows in 3 days in March. On 1 March, AEW will stage Dynamite, followed on 3 March with Rampage. The San Francisco shows will take place at venerable Cow Palace, a venue with a storied history. Not only has the legendary arena held some of the most famous wrestling shows on the West Coast during its history, but it has also hosted the likes of The Beatles, The Who, and The Grateful Dead. 

With so much to look forward to already, and much more still to be announced, AEW fans are gearing up for a historic year for the company. However, professional wrestling is known for its twists, turns, and surprises, and just this week, Tony Khan announced one of AEW’s most exciting developments yet – in 2023, with a date still to be announced, the organization will be coming to the UK

The UK show, set to be held in London, is not only a tantalizing prospect for European wrestling fans, but also a landmark moment for AEW as it takes its thrilling brand of action outside the USA for the very first time. As the company breaks into new territories and begins to entertain global audiences in a live capacity, 2022–23 could well be a period that AEW fans remember in years to come as a golden time for pro-wrestling.

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