AAW has been delighting pro wrestling fans across the Chicagoland area for nearly twenty years. A few names to carry the company’s Heavyweight Championship include Pentagon Jr., Rey Fenix, Brodie King, Sami Callihan, Eddie Kingston, and current title holder Jake Something.
In the summer of 2020, WWE announced they would feature some top independent pro wrestling promotions on their WWE Network. UK companies like Progress, WXW, and ICW got on board, along with EVOLVE, which WWE formally purchased. In an exclusive Haus of Wrestling interview, I asked AAW owner Danny Daniels if there had ever been talks with WWE about bringing their storied library to the platform or doing more with each other, in general.
“Yeah, quite a few times,” he said, describing the number of times they had talked. “I thought it was gonna go really well until Peacock came along, and that was the end of it. It is what it is, you know? It’s okay. I thought we did have something going on. I was interviewed a lot with them, and it just never panned out.”
Daniels is referring to WWE’s deal with Peacock, signed in 2021, that sees the NBC platform get the exclusive streaming rights to the WWE Network in the United States. The deal is for five years, sees WWE pocketing one billion dollars, and will expire in 2026.
It would have been interesting to see the AAW library alongside other WWE programming, considering some of its alumni. Most notable would have to be WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freaking” Rollins, who was trained by Daniels and became the AAW Heavyweight Champion under the name Tyler Black. As Black, he would sign with Ring of Honor and go on to have classics with current big-name talents like WWE’s Kevin Owens, AEW’s Bryan Danielson, and NJPW’s KENTA.
Daniels also noted that Peacock taking over the WWE Network was not the only thing to derail any plans AAW may have had with WWE, or anyone else, as the COVID pandemic also did not help matters. The promotion was forced to cancel events due to various protocols put in place at the time, something they had never done before.
As they have attempted to regain their footing in the wake of that, they have once again hit a setback as the venue they have been using for events, Irving Hall, had paperwork issues with the city resulting in the last-minute cancellation of their most recent show.
AAW will return to action on Saturday, July 15, at Berwyn Eagle’s Club in Berwyn, IL, with their show Never Say Die. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
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