All Elite Wrestling, AEW, and World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE will indirectly go head to head on Saturday Night July 13 for the first time since AEW formed on January 1, 2019. Athough this battle will seem small in comparison to future battles between the two companies, July 13 will mean a lot for many people and reasons.
AEW will host their third event, Fight for the Fallen, from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. The show is sponsored by Farah & Farah with all proceeds from ticket sales being donated to Jacksonville’s Victim Advisory Assistance Council to help victims of violent crimes. The event will be streamed for free on The Bleacher Report Live App.
On the same night, the WWE Network will stream Evolve’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, Evolve 131 from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the former ECW Arena used by several wrestling promotions. The event will be the first independent promotion wrestling show to be streamed on the WWE Network. Although several Evolve alumni have signed with WWE and will appear on the show in feature matches.
The WWE started working with Evolve in 2015. They wanted to use the smaller promotion to scout potential signees and use it as almost a minor league promotion. The WWE was in negotiations with Evolve to stream events on the Network since 2017. It’s certainly curious that WWE would choose this Saturday to stream the first Evolve event in direct competition to AEW Fight for the Fallen. AEW Executive Vice President and top performer Kenny Omega was critical of WWE on social media when the announcement was made.
This Saturday will be very important for AEW, WWE, and Evolve. Fight for the Fallen has been branded as a “B-Level” show by the internet wrestling community. One of AEW’s top superstars Jon Moxly, previously known as Dean Ambrose in the WWE, will not be at the show as he is committed to New Japan Pro Wrestling this weekend. It will be interesting to see how their live viewership compares to live content on the WWE Network. If Fight for the Fallen gets more viewers than Evolve 131, AEW would get a lot of positive momentum ahead of their next PPV, All Out, on August 31, and their weekly TV show debuting on TNT this fall.
For the WWE and Evolve, this Saturday Night is important because it will be the first solid test of just how competitive AEW can be to WWE in any kind of measurable fashion. If Fight for the Fallen gets more viewers than Evolve 131, the WWE will have to look at AEW as legitimate competition. If AEW continues to thrive, the USA and FOX Networks might pressure WWE to make their company better than AEW in order to justify the amount of money both networks paid for WWE television last year. If AEW continues to thrive, they could potentially lure some of the WWE’s sponsors away effecting the WWE’s bottom line.
This Saturday Night might be most important for the wrestlers performing on Evolve 131 that are not under WWE contract. It’s a very public audition in front of the WWE decision makers. If a wrestler has a great performance and the fans get excited about it on social media, the WWE might be inclined to offer the superstar a contract. Something similar occurred in 2016, as Cedric Alexander came into the WWE Cruiserweight Classic Tournament without a WWE contract. His performance against Kota Ibushi in the second round received rave reviews from the crowd with chants of “Please Sign Cedric” ringing out from the arena.
So what show are going to watch first Saturday Night? Tweet your comments at The Wrestle Report Card and come back next week for report cards on both shows as well as WWE Extreme Rules on Sunday.