AEW announced its debut on the west coast with two huge shows in southern California. Tony Khan’s company will have two events in the Los Angeles market on the week following the Double or Nothing pay-per-view. Dynamite will be held at the Los Angeles Forum. AEW Rampage that week will take place in The Young Bucks’ neck of the woods at Toyota Arena in Ontario.
The Forum is notorious for being difficult to draw a wrestling crowd. Despite a long history of events at the historic arena, most major promoters dating back to the 1960s have struggled to sell tickets. Dave Meltzer noted on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio that AEW could be facing an uphill battle.
“WCW in 1998 and 1999 had big sellout level crowds at the Forum, so it’s been done. In the 60s when Verne Gagne went there with the AWA, they didn’t draw well at all with really loaded, stacked shows and local television. Jim Crockett Promotions had local television, this would be like, 86, 87, 88, and they didn’t draw well.
I was at the first one that did a little over 7,000. It was considered a pretty decent showing, 7,000 people at the time, but then the subsequent ones were way down. And then WWE, they had one big one with Hogan and John Studd, but… I think their second biggest was the one with Lesnar that did 8,000 and most of them, they were as low as 2,500. AWA was much lower than that. I think that Crockett was down to about 2,500. I know that they did one show where they did $1 tickets and had a little over $5,000.
If AEW draws more than 8,000 people for this show at the Forum, and I think they probably will for the first one in the market, they will have done better than just about everyone except for WCW in history, including many big promotions that had local TV that were also running their first show in the market. AWA a little before its peak, Jim Crockett Promotions at its peak, so if they go and do about 6-7,000, then they’re about where Crockett Promotions was when they started. So, it’s a tough building, historically, to draw in, but we’ll see how they do.”
AEW fans in southern California have been waiting to see their favorite stars live since the launch of the company. Plans were in place before the global COVID pandemic brought live events to a screeching halt. Tony Khan is hoping to capitalize on the market now that he finally has the opportunity.
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Transcription by Ringside News