Brian James, better known as "Road Dogg" in the wrestling world and currently serving as the Senior VP of Live Events at WWE, expressed his candid views on All Elite Wrestling (AEW) successfully staging a stadium show in the United Kingdom.
AEW's feat marks the first time a North American promotion outside of WWE has managed such an undertaking, selling an impressive 60,000 tickets for the 'All In' event slated for August 27. Speaking on his "Oh...You Didn't Know" podcast, James acknowledged AEW's impressive accomplishment.
"They've done fantastic at Wembley — it's a considerable number of tickets sold," James observed, viewing the achievement through the lens of a businessman rather than a competing wrestler. "It's a huge success from a business standpoint, and they deserve credit for pulling it off." Drawing parallels with the late '90s, James hinted that wrestling might be on the verge of another boom, much like during the onset of the Monday Night Wars.
He believes that AEW's successful staging of 'All In' provides concrete evidence of the sport's resurgence.
Comparing AEW's and WWE's Global Reach
In the context of global marketing, James was asked to compare AEW and WWE, to which he responded that while the two were comparable in some ways, AEW still had some ground to cover before it could match WWE's global impact.
Yet, he emphasized that AEW's ambition and willingness to take bold steps, like booking a stadium show, were commendable. Discussing his guidance for AEW's leadership, Tony Khan (CEO) and Jeff Jarrett (Director of Business Development), James said, "The advice I would give is, 'What can't I do?' Because I'll try everything but that." He emphasized the importance of maximizing the fan experience, given that professional wrestling relies heavily on live events for revenue generation.
Praising AEW's "great talent," James credited the organization's successful selling of the 'All In' show to their skilled roster. He mentioned that competition benefited the wrestling business, pushing everyone to strive for greatness.
Despite the praise, James expressed concerns about AEW's leadership and management, admitting his need for firsthand knowledge about their internal operations. Yet, he commended WWE's leadership team for their strategic acumen.
In a surprising revelation, James disclosed that his job application to AEW was declined, sharing, "He [Khan] wouldn't have me. I asked."