All Elite Wrestling has only been on the air for four months. The show kick started a new “Wednesday Night War” of sorts in wrestling. Their arrival on the scene has caused WWE to rethink its own business. Competition is always a good thing for any business. Now AEW will be able to compete until 2023 on TNT. Variety is reporting that TNT is giving AEW an extension. In addition to that extension, they’re also getting a second weekly TV show.
The news of the contract extension isn’t super surprising. It’s a nice thumbs up from the network that they’re doing well. The real news is the announcement of a second weekly TV show. AEW Dynamite is their two hour long program that runs Wednesday night head to head with WWE’s NXT. AEW doesn’t have the roster size to compete with WWE head to head on another night currently. Let’s dive deeper into what this could mean for the company.
Issues Arising From AEW’s Second Show
First off, it’s nice that AEW and NXT are pushing each other on Wednesday nights. It must be a special kind of thrill to be backstage at either show. But when you look at it, NXT is the third brand for WWE. Dynamite is AEW’s only current live show. So they can tout the ratings wins all they want. In my heart and my eyes, the only thing that matters is the quality of the product. AEW has fantastic wrestlers top to bottom. They also have problems that would be very much exacerbated by a second show.
The first issue arises that they just simply don’t have enough bodies on the roster to have a second show. Unless it’s a studio style show with a half wrestling and half talking. They have their main event players but not a real mid-card to speak of. So this means that if they go to another hour or two a week, they’re going to have to build new stars, and quickly. That is a huge benefit of this announcement.
They’ll be forced to take the spotlight somewhat away from Jericho, Cody, Moxley, the Bucks, and Kenny Omega. Those six wrestlers are the backbone of what AEW is all about currently. Sure, you can make the argument that AEW is better at building new stars than WWE is right now, but I don’t see them making a star with just one good match against those six. They need extended time in front of the audience to make that connection with them. I did say earlier that great wrestling matters more than ratings. That’s sort of a lie because you can have all the great wrestling in the world, but you also need to make a connection with the audience.
AEW’s Women’s Division
This is the real area where AEW Dynamite lacks behind all three of the WWE shows. WWE, for long, didn’t give a crap about their women’s division, and only until recently, they’ve been given main event status. WWE has the best women’s division on the planet. I would assume that’s an undisputed fact. They buy up all the best independent talent. When you get that much talent together, sometimes the talent overcomes bad booking. WWE has so many great women on their roster that sometimes it feels like they’re not all getting solid shots to shine. AEW doesn’t have horrible, talentless women on their roster. They just haven’t really gotten their shots to shine.
You have basically two overarching stories in their division right now. One involving somewhat random matches for the AEW Women’s Title, and another involving Brandi Rhodes and Awesome Kong. Anyone can see where this is going, Brandi is going to either win the Women’s title or Awesome Kong is going to go on a run of destruction throughout their thin women’s division. That story-line isn’t the issue. That’s a classic wrestling story-line that works. The problem is that all the matches so far for the Women’s title and the division have felt thrown together. They have had great matches like the inaugural match for the title between Riho and Nyla Rose. Outside of those four and maybe Britt Baker, they don’t have a mid-card or other challengers for the title.
What Night Would They Run On?
The untitled second AEW weekly show, has to pick carefully what night they run on. Monday night would be suicide, Friday night would also not be particularly kind. Going head to head with Raw or Smackdown would not lead to the kind of ratings wins that AEW is touting against NXT. So what days does that leave? Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is what makes me believe that this won’t be another full-fledged weekly show. AEW is a second option for wrestlers who want to have lighter schedules. Chris Jericho only works about 40 dates a year currently as opposed to 200+ that someone would work with WWE. They don’t run house shows, it’s just about the TV product currently.
So they have to pick carefully which night they want to run the second show. In addition to all the other issues that I’ve outlined above. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an AEW hater here. Jon Moxley is my favorite wrestler on the planet. The company has been incredibly successful up to this point. A new extension from TNT is a great thing for wrestling. All fans should be excited by this prospect. But like so many other businesses that expanded too fast, AEW might want to take this a little slower.
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