For months, it seemed like one of the worst-kept secrets in sports, entertainment or the media was the partnership between the new upstart promotion All Elite Wrestling and Turner. The relationship between AEW and Turner was finally confirmed at the first presentation of the network for advertisers earlier this year with the announcement of a weekly broadcast on TNT. And while AEW worked with Turner to run shows on Bleacher Report Live, we were still waiting for the details of this weekly show.
The wait finally comes to an end.
On Wednesday it was announced that All Elite Wrestling will be presenting their new weekly show on Wednesday, October 2, from 8 to 1
The era of the All Elite begins TODAY.
– All Elite Wrestling on TNT (@AEWonTNT) July 24, 2019
AEW has reportedly The name "Wednesday Night Dynamite" is registered as a trademark, but that was not mentioned in the video, and it remains to be seen if that will become official in the coming weeks.
The window of opportunity for the Wednesday night is crucial for AEW as it seeks to attract a national audience and seek both short-term and long-term success. Firstly, this means that the new promotion can avoid a direct confrontation with WWE Raw or Smackdown about the US and the future Fox, and have the stage on their own for the cable. (WWE debuts on NXT on Wednesday night on the WWE network, but these shows can be viewed any time upon request.)
Second, this also means that AEW fits in nicely with the TNT cast. The NBA is shown on Thursday nights for much of the year and also some Tuesdays on TNT. It's worth watching what happens when the NBA playoffs take place and the schedule for the NBA after TNT gets fuller. We'll see if AEW switches to another Turner platform like TBS or even truTV or if it is able to stay on TNT and avoid conflicts after the season AEW-WWE contest. Just two days later, on Friday, October 4, WWE will be making Fox's Smackdown debut on Fox. WWE has come under pressure in recent months due to falling valuations and highly criticized creative circles. Vince McMahon has even appointed former ECW mastermind Paul Heyman and WCW manager Eric Bischoff, who is responsible for Raw and Smackdown respectively, as "executive directors" to improve the product. WWE will certainly try to pull out all the stops for the Fox debut. Therefore, it is a genuine signal to AEW of the intention of the new promotion to question WWE's global supremacy.
How WWE will respond to AEW's debut is also an important story. WWE Raw scored the highest ratings this past Monday with its Raw Reunion show. For the WWE, however, this is a small catch. It's good that the fans are getting involved, but it's not exactly gratifying that WWE's main attractions seem to be the stars of yesterday like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Ted DiBiase, who are not there every week. In the meantime, AEW is selling some new stars, while WWE seems to be having trouble creating them.
Of course, AEW still has a long way to go before it can reach WWE's level, both in terms of ratings and as a global business. In a way, it is a reminder of FS1's attempt to overcome and overtake the dominance of ESPN as a global sports leader. A few years after the launch, the "competition" between ESPN and FS1 is by and large not even close, but at least FS1 is viable as a network. Ironically, WWE could switch NXT from the WWE network to FS1 on Wednesday night to compete with AEW.
However, in light of WWE's recent struggles and the hope and hype associated with the AEW debut, this is the new promotion may have a fighting chance. With the TNT deal and the weekly primetime show, AEW has become the most serious competitor to WWE since they bought WCW almost 20 years ago. With AEW's debut and the move from WWE to Fox, the first week of October may be the most important week in the wrestling business since Shane McMahon turned up at Nitro all those years ago.