Recently formed company All Elite Wrestling (AEW) announces a national TV deal with cable network TNT, the former home of WCW Monday Nitro. While World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) remains the highly profitable big kahuna at the center of the professional wrestling industry, it can be argued that Vince McMahon's empire has become far too complacent with its top dog status. WWE still manages to put on a great show from time to time - such as April's widely praised WrestleMania XXXV - but a large percentage of fans would agree that the company's storylines have largely fallen into a rut of predictability and repetitiveness.
With WWE's weekly Raw and SmackDown programming hitting all-time ratings lows in 2019, there's possibly never been a better time to try and launch a competing wrestling organization, and many fans no doubt hope that AEW will be that competitor. Of course, truly competing with WWE would by no means be an easy task, as McMahon's juggernaut is so firmly entrenched that it might as well be residing within a fortress. That said, signing people like Chris Jericho is definitely a smart move in that direction.
As of today though, AEW has officially taken the first step to becoming if not a WWE competitor, than at least a viable WWE alternative. As reported by Variety, it was announced during WarnerMedia's upfront presentation that AEW has officially signed a weekly TV deal with TNT. A target date for AEW's debut on TNT, what night the show will air on, and a title or length for the show, have yet to be revealed. The AEW/WarnerMedia partnership will begin with AEW's first ever event as a proper promotion, Double or Nothing, a follow-up to the highly successful All In event that led to the creation of AEW. Double or Nothing will stream exclusively on the B/R Live service, in addition to broadcasting via traditional pay-per-view providers, and costs $50.
Previous reports floating around the wrestling rumor mill have suggested that AEW's weekly show will be two hours long, first air in October, and be called Tuesday Night Dynamite. However, whether any of that turns out to be true remains to be seen. For now, the fact that AEW is signed with TNT is already a bit of a jaw-dropper for longtime wrestling fans. Back in 2001, prior to WWE purchasing WCW's assets and subsequently closing down the company, an organization headed by Eric Bischoff was set to buy WCW, and keep running it as a standalone product. That was until TNT decided it no longer wanted wrestling on its schedule. With Monday Nitro no longer in place, Bischoff backed out, and McMahon swooped in. What a difference 18 years makes.
All things considered, AEW would definitely be wise not to air its show opposite a WWE program, at least until the company has had a few years to prove itself. After signing big names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Jeff Hardy in 2010, Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA) rushed into an attempt to start a new Monday Night War by putting their show head to head with Raw. Impact's ratings fell through the floor, and they were forced to run back to their former Thursday night home. For now, what AEW needs to do is not try to be WWE, but instead be a haven for those sick of WWE's many problems.
AEW Double or Nothing happens live on Saturday, May 25, via B/R Live streaming or traditional pay-per-view.