Exclusive: Frankie Kazarian talks all things All Elite Wrestling and Double or Nothing

Frankie Kazarian has been in the professional wrestling business for over 21 years and he’s seen pretty much everything, including a brief run with the WWE in 2005.

As one-half of The Addiction, he’s been one of the most celebrated tag team wrestlers in the world alongside Christopher Daniels.

SCU were one of the first signees for AEW

SCU were one of the first signees for AEW

Then, they formed SoCal Uncensored by adding Scorpio Sky and adding a new dimension to their unit.

SCU were among the very first signings announced by All Elite Wrestling and for good reason. AEW is the new promotion backed by Tony Khan but, essentially, run by Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega.

Although the vast majority of this roster partook in All In last September, the follow-up to that event is Double or Nothing and that serves as the first event under the AEW banner.

That show is taking place May 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and talkSPORT caught up with Kazarian to discuss all things AEW.

On signing for AEW and Double or Nothing

“I’m very excited. Probably the most excited I’ve ever been to be apart of a new team. We’ve got our first event All or Nothing coming up, which is the first event under the AEW banner, May 25 in [Las] Vegas, and is going to be a game-changing event, an industry-shifting show and we’re all very excited about it. It’s going to be monumental in this history books of pro wrestling and very happy that the fanbase seems to be 100% on board and ready to take this journey with us.”

On Double or Nothing reportedly attracting 43,000 fans looking for tickets

“When we first put the event on sale – and this is personally speaking for myself – I knew that we would sell it out. Just how quickly that would happen, that shocked me. Maybe 20-30 minutes after we announced the presale at the Vegas pool party, I heard numbers that were being thrown around of how many thousands of people had signed up and that blew me away.

AEW talent and vice presidents; Cody & The Young Bucks

AEW talent and vice presidents; Cody & The Young Bucks

Every time we do one of these events, it’s bigger and more real. The demand is overwhelming and humbling, but it goes back to the fans want to be apart of this. They see that this is something special and something they want to get behind and with their passion for pro wrestling, it’s really, really cool.”

On if AEW began forming after the success of All In

All In, for me, was the most special pro wrestling event I’ve ever been a part of. There was an energy and a vibe in the air… it was special, that’s the only way I can describe it. It was a huge feeling of accomplishment, everyone was just elated and that kind of opened everybodies eyes like ‘wow, this could be big. People are behind us and people want to be part of this’. And I was certainly inspired. I was like ‘if this can be a regular thing moving forward, count me in. I want more of this’.

SCU are one of the best stables in pro wrestling today

SCU are one of the best stables in pro wrestling today

We all – myself, Scorpio Sky, Christopher Daniels, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page – we all had contracts coming up at the same time and to be honest, to be quite frank, we all had offers from all over the place. Early on in the year I had been approached and we had heard what the game plan would be with Cody [Rhodes] and The Bucks and All Elite Wrestling and that’s why we were one of the first to announce our signings because I’ve been very blessed to watch this grow from very close in the inner circle. To see the fact these guys have their fingers on the pulses of what wrestling fans want – I’ve been a part of that. So it was a no-brainer for me and us to be a part of it and honestly, it was the only option viable in my mind.

On what he’s learned from being a staple of PWG, TNA & ROH to now joining AEW

“I’ve been apart of a lot of companies at their very beginning. Like you said, I was apart of PWG (Pro Guerilla Wrestling), in the main event of their first show and their first world champion, and to see what they’ve become is really cool. The early days of TNA (now Impact), I was there in the trenches at the very beginning and to see that they’re still around and what they could have been is definitely something to speak of.

“When I look at AEW and I look at the people behind it from an ownership and managerial point of view, and then obviously the roster we have, I don’t think – at least in my time in professional wrestling [which is 21 years] – there has ever been a better combination of good business minds, good professional wrestling minds, people on the production side – everybody on our roster from behind the scenes to in front of the camera is an A-lister.

“Everybody involved is very passionate and very goal driven and we all want to accomplish the same thing. Everybody wants to use ‘competition’ as a buzz word; we’re looking to be an alternative. Something different. A lot of wrestling fans are, quite frankly, not thrilled with the status quo. There’s a lot of wrestling fans that fell off in the last 10 of 15 years that hey, if they watch our product, they might say ‘this is what I was missing in pro wrestling’.

Frankie Kazarian was the first-ever PWG champion

Frankie Kazarian was the first-ever PWG champion

“When we say ‘change the world’, that’s not a cute little catchphrase. We’re all very driven to do that and change the world of professional wrestling for the better. It’s all very positive.”

On AEW learning from TNA’s mistakes of just signing ex-WWE stars

The Young Bucks are more DIY than anyone I’ve ever personally known. They’re unconventional, they broke all the rules in how you’re supposed to succeed in professional wrestling and they have my eternal respect for that. Same thing for Kenny Omega. He’s a guy who could have punched his ticket to go anywhere he wanted to go. He decided to make his brand and his name in New Japan by becoming the best professional wrestler in the world and that’s the attitude of All Elite Wrestling. We’re not trying to get castaways or live off other guys’ names. We’re trying to create our name. Nationwide, the U.S. hasn’t really been exposed to the Kenny Omega’s, The Young Bucks and the SCU’s the way you get that exposure in WWE, and we’re going to change that. The world is ready for more wrestling.

On how he is feeling at 41 and the stacked Double or Nothing card

“I would argue I’m having the best matches of my life, I’m in the best shape of my career and I’m certainly having the most fun of my career. With SCU, I think again, I have reinvented myself again and have continued to be entertaining if not more than I’ve ever been. If you look at my match for Double or Nothing which is SCU taking on Cima and two partners from his crew from Oriental Wrestling Entertainment, that’s going to blow the U.S. audience away. It’s unlike nothing you’ve seen.

The Young Bucks in AEW

The Young Bucks in AEW

Then you take The Young Bucks, arguably the best tag team in the world, taking on Fenix and Pentagon Jr, also could be argued as the best tag team in the world and that will sell out any arena on it’s on. Then you top that with Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho and this card is shaping up to be the best one of the year. You’ve got an incredible talent like Pac and a guy who is continually on the rise, and I know this because I’ve been in the ring with him numerous times, like Adam Page, and that could really steal the show. It’s one of those shows where every match is going to try and top the last one and we’re going to blow the roof off the MGM Grand Arena so I hope they’ve got insurance!”

On Characters to look out for you might not know in AEW

“A character like MJF. He’s one of those characters that hits a nerve, good or bad. He strikes a chord with people and I think he’s going to be successful. Again, a guy like Adam Page that only really Ring of Honor fans have been exposed to and New Japan wrestling fans, this is a guy that has star written all over him. It’s very cool to see his career come to the point that it has and is going to. Of course, Kenny Omega is a more recognisable name but perhaps on a national scale, people are really going to get to see what this guy can do.

Kenny Omega was announced as AEW’s latest signing in Las Vegas

Kenny Omega was announced as AEW’s latest signing in Las Vegas

Then you go down and you see somebody like a Britt Baker, an up and coming great female talent and she is going to impress a lot of people. And then somebody like a Brandon Cutler or a Jungle Boy, guys that haven’t really had any exposure other than the independent scene – these guys are going to get a chance to get their face out there, get some exposure and get that opportunity.”

Leave a Reply