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Meet Pro Wrestling’s New Kids on the Block

This Labor Day weekend, some 10,000 pro wrestling fans will flock to a smackdown in the suburbs.

Illustration: Ryan Olbrysh

What it is

A wildcard professional wrestling event on August 31 at Sears Centre Arena chock-full of everything fans love: chaotic matches, big names, scripted drama, and teeny Speedos. All Out is a sequel to last year’s wildly successful All In, billed as an alternative to megapower WWE’s prime events.

Who is behind it

All Elite Wrestling is a new promoter run in large part by the wrestlers themselves. It began to form last summer when wrestlers (and brothers) Matt and Nick Jackson and former WWE star Cody Rhodes set up All In on a Twitter dare and quickly sold out the 10,000-seat Sears Centre. It was such a hit that they nabbed a TNT deal to regularly air matches, becoming the first real competitor to WWE in two decades.

What to expect

More bloodshed. While the WWE avoids showing the red stuff on its shows, AEW lets it flow. Mind the splash zone.

More diversity. Recent WWE decisions, like running shows in Saudi Arabia even though female wrestlers and one of Syrian descent were banned, have kindled frustration among its fan base. Partly in response to that, AEW has played up inclusion in its marketing.

More connections to reality. Unlike the WWE’s practice of fitting talent to prewritten identities, AEW’s performers write the shows themselves and use elements from their real lives and real relationships. Earlier this year cofounder Rhodes won an emotional battle against his brother Dustin. It was billed as brother vs. brother, as Dustin shed the flamboyant, cross-dressing character Goldust he’d performed as for WWE.

Who to watch

• Former WWE legend Chris Jericho and Adam “Hangman” Page, an upstart who has been known to sport a noose as a necktie, will body-slam each other to a pulp for the title of first-ever AEW world champion.

Kenny Omega, best known for his stint with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (and an executive vice president of AEW), will go toe to toe with Jon Moxley, a former WWE champ. This dream match pits the former leaders of two of wrestling’s most famous stables — Omega’s Bullet Club and Moxley’s The Shield — against one another.

• The event will feature a lineup of yet-unannounced women’s matches. Possible participants include Awesome Kong (seen lately on Netflix’s GLOW) and Oak Forest native Kylie Rae, an AEW rookie (but eight-time champion of various other leagues).

How to watch

In person:Tickets, priced at $30 to $190, are sold out, but check with resellers or the official ticket exchange at allelitewrestling.com.

At home:Bleacher Report will stream the event live online for a fee, and most major cable providers will offer it on pay-per-view. Prices are TBD — AEW’s last major show cost $50 on Bleacher Report and $60 on cable.

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