• AEW Staff

The (Back) Road To Fight For The Fallen What It Takes To Make It All Happen...

On July 13th, in Jacksonville, FL, metal gates swung open and unleashed a sea of fans into a common area shared by the Jacksonville Jaguars TIAA Bank Field, and the Daily's Place Amphitheater that served as host for AEW's “Fight For The Fallen” event.

As these fans made their way deeper into the facility, they found merchandise, concessions, and even a glimpse at the Jags football field offered up for the enjoyment. Fans found a Meet & Greet at their disposal, where they could get some face time with likes of Joey Janela, Hangman Page, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy. They could ride the escalator up to the second level, and enter into a gorgeous bar area that overlooked the aforementioned Jags field, and contained another merchandise stand with all the latest AEW apparel (which you can find over here by the way: AEW Shop).

But possibly the most impressive thing in those minutes between the gates swinging open and the fans finding their seats, was that moment in which their eyes first fell on the set design for the evening's bouts. The giant screen displaying the logo, the ring, the lighting, the entrance, the stage...it all proved visually stunning in its South Park-ian origins inside the brain of Tony Khan. And, for the fan just entering the building that hot Saturday evening, it all may appear to have been simply willed into existence by All Elite Wrestling, but in truth it is a labor of countless people over the course of 48 hours before the first bell even rings...

Thursday July 11th, production first arrives into the Jacksonville area to prepare for the next several days of their lives, to plan how they will construct a set that has been envisioned long before the crew has even laid a single foot into Jacksonville. It is the organization of labor, it is the scheduling of many a human body, it is the setting of breaks and lunches and dinners and out times and in times and so on and so on. It is taking absolute chaos and trying to give it a schedule!

And that is before a single person has actually entered into the Daily's Place venue...

Friday at 8am, for some even earlier, the whole adventure truly begins. The lighting crew arrives, the ring crew arrives, the coordination of both of their set-up processes beings and it is NEVER, absolutely never, the same from building to building. In the case of Daily's Place, it is getting the lighting truss that hangs over the entire event constructed, and elevated high above the ring before said four corners are even framed. It is getting the pieces of that stage seating assembled at the same time as the ring is being hauled from the truck, carted across the length of the venue, and handed from stage-to-floor for the crew to assemble.

But wait...we are nowhere near complete yet; because as that ring is assembled, as that truss is fixed so the lights fall in just the right place, as the stage seating is aligned properly, the Daily's Place team is also in action to deliver the actual seats the fans will be sitting in later. They are in motion with forklifts and dollies to truck the guardrails into the exact position they HAVE to be in in order to fit the seats that have been sold.

While the set design crew is busy constructing the staging area, and erecting the tunnel in which the wrestlers will make their entrance the next day, the ring crew is busy securing ring skirts, making sure the ropes are tightened and taped, strapping down multiple canvases (just in case), and hoping to get all of this done as a thunderstorm begins to encroach on the open air venue that is Daily's Place. Suffice it to say, the journey thru DAY ONE was a harrowing one...

Day two, the day of the actual event, is not much different. It's not only making sure that everything is ready to go where the fans will see it, but also making sure everything is as copacetic as Local H backstage. It is a crew taking care of monitors and audio to stream the B/R Live broadcast into the backstage area, it is another crew making sure that the interview area is secure with audio, with lighting, and with a simple backdrop, and it is another crew making sure that all of the boxes and crates and equipment that it takes to set -up this event is not in the way of everything else!

Meanwhile, in the area that fans actually will be looking at, there is the ring crew double, triple, and quadruple checking every single process they went thru the day before. It is hanging banners, it is setting up tables, it is making sure any equipment that may be needed in the heat of the moment is accessible, and it is generally stressing out during the course of the entire live event that NOTHING was done right.

And yet, here is the rather miraculous thing, all of these bodies and all of these brains thinking about the same thing in countless different ways...well they all manage to hit their target and lay the foundation for an event like “Fight For The Fallen” that energizes the fans, that motivates the wrestlers, that amplifies the energy within a venue, and creates an atmosphere that no other live event like a professional wrestling one can create.

At its heart, a professional wrestling event is one that embraces those who embrace it, it is one that is welcoming to all who welcome it, and it is one that aims to create an environment that encourages an individual to stand up and represent those they support, to boo those they do not without fear of censorship, and to support those who stand side-by-side with their fellow fans, and wear their love for professional wrestling on their sleeve.

It may seem like lofty ambitions, but any ambition worth having is one worth working for, and the ground work for those ambitions is laid down by the men and women who show up two or three days before showtime to construct the setting that allows those fans, those wrestlers, to lose themselves in the moment, and embrace the heart of professional wrestling...

Oh yeah, and there's those four or five hours AFTER the event ends in which it all gets torn down, packed up into boxes, loaded up into trucks, and sent back to its home to be cleaned up, repaired, washed, or replaced before it is time to do it all again on August 29th, 30th, 31st, and even September 1st, as part of the SOLD-OUT “All Out” event in Chicago at the Sears Centre on Saturday the 31st of August...

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