Kenny Omega and Don Callis shocked the world at All Elite Wrestling’s ‘Winter is Coming’ which aired on December 2nd, 2020.
The episode was notable not least for Omega having dethroned long standing AEW Champion Jon Moxley, but for the involvement of Impact Wrestling Executive Vice President Don Callis and the pair’s subsequent appearances on Impact’s weekly television show.
The working relationship has thus far seen Tony Khan threaten to buy the former TNA via paid ads during the broadcast, the Good Brothers appear on Dynamite and Omega crossing paths with Impact Champion Rich Swann.
The pair will be on opposite sides at Impact’s Hard to Kill pay per view on January 16th, with Omega reuniting with his former Bullet Club brethren to face Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns in a six man tag team match.
Although the joint venture between the companies has clearly sparked interest among fans, some have queried what AEW has to gain from working with the comparatively smaller promotion.
Everyone is entitled to their position. Look, AEW built a great product in a very short period of time. Our hats are off to Tony Khan and his team. I’ve always believed that success in the wrestling business is like a rising tide in that it leads to more success for everyone.
I’m very happy we get to do some crossover stuff with them. Often in wrestling, the question is “Why would we work with someone else?” This has put eyeballs on both companies. We’re very appreciative, and we think it’s added a buzz for both shows. The collaboration on the talent level creates the potential for a lot of fresh matchups. We’ll see where it goes next, but it is a great time to be a wrestling fan and a great time to be in the wrestling business.
Impact have undoubtedly benefitted from the relationship thus far, posting a series of improved television ratings (relative to their 2020 average) and increased streaming viewership on Twitch.
But that’s not to say that All Elite are only set to prosper creatively from the arrangement.
In Wrestlenomic’sBrandon Thurston’s2020 review, it was clear that whilst WWE remained the biggest name in town, fans were diversifying their pro wrestling intake more so than at any point in recent times.
WWE still easily makes up the majority of time spent, but people are engaging with a wider variety of wrestling brands, which probably make up a larger minority of the engagement than at any time since the end of World Championship Wrestling in 2001, especially with the introduction of AEW on cable in October 2019.
The Hard to Kill card features several intriguing match ups including Deonna Purrazzo defending her Knockouts Title against Taya Valkyrie, the finals of the Knockouts Tag Team Title tournament and Ethan Page vs The Karate Man.