AEW on TNT: Why the new promotion’s TV deal is a historic moment for pro-wrestling

When the whispers of the launch of a new wrestling promotion spread late last year, nobody expected it to be something of this magnitude and potentially have that much of an impact on the global wrestling industry. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is steadily doing just that.

While the beginning of the year brought us confirmation that AEW is in fact a reality, this month we finally come to know that AEW will air its weekly wrestling episodic show, starting later this year on primetime TNT (American pay network television).

While The Elite (Cody and Brandi Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Hangman Page), members of which also serve as the executive vice president of AEW claim that the nascent promotion isn’t going to directly compete with WWE, one can’t deny that a little bit of healthy competition is only going to push each brand further. WCW, which also aired on TNT before WWE bought it in 2001, challenged the world’s largest promotion back in the day. The resulting competition for the ratings was dubbed ‘Monday Night Wars’.

AEW’s planned night and slot remains unannounced but it sure won’t clash with WWE’s Monday Night Raw. So far, reports have indicated that AEW has filed a trademark for ‘Tuesday Night Dynamite’, however, it’s also unclear whether the name will be used for their weekly show or another form of online program.

All_Elite_Wrestling_Logo

Regardless, the birth of AEW and the new TV deal is a huge landmark moment in the history of professional wrestling. No other promotion has come forward in such an impactful way as AEW has, since the end of WCW. In nearly 20 years, WWE has sat on the iron throne with no immediate competition to threaten its position. And AEW, meanwhile, doesn’t claim to do that either, it definitely serves as a much-needed “alternative” to WWE.

 

What it means is that if given due time and executed right, AEW can attract casual as well as hardcore fans (the latter of which are already excited and more inclined toward the new promotion). The billionaire Khan family-backed company’s strategy to do so is making it less “sports entertainment” and more ‘sports-centric’ with analytics and statistics playing a bigger role in determining the rankings of each performer and their opportunities.

That is definitely a rather effective approach to making pro-wrestling a realistic, more believable ‘sport’ where wins and losses matter – something that has been lost in WWE in recent years. AEW’s first pay-per-view Double or Nothing, to be held in Las Vegas on May 25, will set the tone for the future of the company. Judging by the success of ‘ALL IN’ in September last year, which directly led to the idea of forming AEW, Double or Nothing promises to be even bigger and better.

As for the debut of the weekly TV show, one must wait to find out what The Elite has in store. For now, TNT is back in the wrasslin’ business.

Written by Rahul Aijaz

Writer, journalist, photographer. A wrestling fan. Enjoys watching obscure films that you may not even have heard of. You may find him ranting on cinema and wrestling at @raulajz.

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