AEW’s Youngstown Debut Will Include Some ‘Acclaimed’ Wrestlers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – All Elite Wrestling will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its “Collision” show this weekend, and Youngstown audiences will be there for the party.

That’s because the wrestling circuit will also be making its Youngstown debut at 7 p.m. Saturday at Covelli Centre. The action will air live that night on “Collision,” which starts at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Anthony Bowens of the former champion tag-team duo The Acclaimed was at Covelli on Friday to talk all things AEW.

He and his ring partners, “Platinum” Max Caster and Billy Gunn, won’t be wrestling Saturday, but they will be on hand and speak their piece to the Covelli crowd.

“We’ll be in the middle of the ring with a lot to talk about,” Bowens said. “We’ve been under the tyranny of some evil executive vice presidents who have been holding our tag team title hostage.”

He’s referring to The Young Bucks, the villainous clique that wields a lot of control over the entire wrestling outfit.

The Acclaimed will have a match in Fairfax, Va., next week to potentially earn a shot at the AEW tag team title. “You’ll hear everything we have to say about it live tomorrow night,” Bowens said.

Youngstown has long been a strong market for wrestling.

The upstart AEW is the only major promotion besides the WWE with regular television exposure, presenting shows on TNT every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Bowens said the Covelli show will be a great way to introduce the promotion’s style to the city.

“The AEW is the best experience you can get if you’re a professional wrestling fan,” he said. “If you’re a casual fan, coming to a live show is like a rock concert. Plus, you’ve got fireworks, you’ve got high-flying action and technical wrestling, and you’ve got hardcore action. It’s family friendly and an all-around good time.”

The AEW has a good mix of veterans – such as Chris Jericho and Dustin Rhodes – to complement its roster of young stars and  newcomers. The Acclaimed has been under the wing of Billy Gunn, who rose to fame as part of D-Generation X with the WWE.

“He’s been a wonderful mentor and a guiding light,” Bowens said. “When we find ourselves in a rut and needing a piece of advice, Billy’s always been there for us. And it’s a two-way conversation – none of this, ‘I’m the legend; it’s my way or the highway.’ It’s conversational, and it allows us to learn.”

Bowens, Caster and Gunn won the AEW trios title last year at London’s Wembley Stadium with over 81,000 in attendance.

“Platinum” Max is known for his freestyle raps in which he disses opponents in hilarious fashion. As for what he might say Saturday, Bowens didn’t want to tip his hand. But he did say that he and his teammates will have something cooked up for the Covelli audience.

“Platinum Max is very unpredictable,” Bowens said. “You never know what he’s going to say; you never know what I’m going to say; and you never know what Billy’s going to say. And that’s what makes The Acclaimed so much fun to people. It’s our unpredictability.”

Before Bowens got into wrestling, he played baseball all the way through college. The New Jersey native still plays on a competitive team in his new hometown of Los Angeles and plans to stay active in both sports.

“They are both my passions, and I’m lucky to explore both at the same time,” he said. “I travel around the world with the AEW, and when I come home to LA, I get to play baseball every Sunday.”

Bowens has made some appearances on the MLB Network and plans to build on that connection. “I’m hoping to mix [baseball and wrestling] and do a little celebrity softball game at the Major League All-Star Game,” he said.

Saturday’s AEW card at Covelli Centre will feature a clash between Lee Moriarty and Dante Martin in a qualifying match for the upcoming Forbidden Door pay per view.

Other matches will include Thunder Rosa against Deonna Purrazzo; Lio Rush, Rocky Romero and TMDK versus the Blackpool Combat Club in an eight-man tag team match; and a six-man tag team battle between House of Black and the Bang Bang Gang.

Tickets range from $90 to $20 (plus applicable fees) and can be purchased at the Covelli box office or at

Pictured at top: Anthony Bowens, Billy Gunn and Max Caster.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.