If you have watched much of the Major League Baseball playoffs or National Football League in recent weeks, you’ve probably noticed a lot of commercials for professional wrestling shows.
All Elite Wrestling’s “Dynamite” broadcasts Wednesday nights on TNT, and next week it will be live at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center. The city and pro wrestling have a long history, but it has been nearly two decades since a show of this magnitude has come to town.
AEW, as a television show, has been around for less than a month, and as part of its fledgling status there are still champions to be named. The weekly shows so far have featured matches that are part of a tournament to decide the group’s tag team champions — a tournament that will come to an end with a championship match in Charleston.
The group behind the scenes for AEW is mostly made up of wrestlers. Older brother Matt and younger brother Nick Jackson, a tag team known as the The Young Bucks, are AEW executive vice presidents, along with fellow wrestlers Kenny Omega and Cody. Tony Khan, who is also a co-owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and English Premier League soccer club Fulham, is AEW’s founder and president.
“It’s funny, when Tony and I and Nick and Cody and Kenny were talking about the cities we were like, ‘You know what? It feels like Charleston has been neglected and we should give them something big,’” Matt Jackson said. “And Tony was the one who came up with the idea of giving them the finals of the tag team championship tournament. We were all behind it. ‘Let’s do it. Let’s give Charleston something big to be excited about.’”
Next week’s show will be the first trip to Charleston for the Jacksons, who have wrestled and held titles all over the world in promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and Mexico’s AAA, among others. The Young Bucks have traveled around the planet showing their talent at tag team wrestling and feel it is an area neglected by mainstream American professional wrestling for a long time. One of their main goals with AEW was to change that.
“If you’ve watched the first three episodes of “Dynamite,” you will really know that we’re focusing mainly on tag team wrestling right now, and for good reason,” Nick Jackson said. “I feel like our tag matches have probably been the best matches in the company. Overall with the wrestling product, I think the tag wrestling is our strongest point. The reason being we’ve signed the best tag teams in the world. We really wanted to focus on that because it’s been probably about close to 20 years since you’ve seen such an exciting tag division.”
The tournament’s semifinal round is set to take place on Wednesday’s episode of “Dynamite” in Pittsburgh, but without The Young Bucks — who were eliminated in the first round. Teams known as Private Party, Lucha Brothers, SCU and The Dark Order remain in the hunt for a spot in Charleston’s main event next week. Despite no longer being in the tournament, Matt and Nick Jackson still appear and often wrestle on every AEW show, in addition to their duties behind the scenes.
That part will take some time to get used to, both brothers said. Professional wrestling is a life that has often had them on the road during their 15-year career, but running the show — and a major television show, at that — has been a major lifestyle change for the Jacksons. Both are married and each have two children.
“It’s like everything is on fast-forward all of a sudden,” Matt Jackson said. “We’ve been preparing and planning for TV for what felt like forever, and now we’re here and it really feels like these TV days come very quickly. You think once a week like, ‘Oh, that’s easy, right?’ But all week long you’re preparing for that Wednesday night.
“We’re in a creative group chat and we’re constantly brainstorming new ideas and coming up with different concepts, and before you know it, Nick and I are on a flight. We’re coming out of Southern California. We’re leaving really late Monday night or really early Tuesday morning. You get into town and do a production meeting on Tuesday night then Wednesday we’re off to the races. It has really been intense, and those Wednesdays have been crazy.
“There is a lot on our plate right now, but it’s fun though.”
Some tickets for the Oct. 30 show at the Charleston Coliseum remain available at the arena box office or through Ticketmaster. The show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. with the live television portion beginning at 8 p.m.