For decades, WWE is the sole provider of mainstream wrestling entertainment that has grown so big that it seeps into American and global pop culture. Despite the criticisms, WWE remains to be a mega influence in the pro wrestling industry.
So it’s no wonder why fans would get very excited at the prospect of a future rival company. Not in an unfriendly way, but more so in terms of providing alternative content.
Since its inception, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has given just that in the form of pay-per-view events. And all of them were often quickly sold out in hours. According to IGN’s interview with AEW founder and performer Cody Rhodes, “When we did All In, and even before we did All In, we felt the hunger for this. And it wasn’t just in Chicago. Every place we’d visit we’d find this really strong hardcore fanbase who wanted to be part of everything we did. And we wanted them to be part of everything we did. And that was nation-wide, that feeling.”
But selling out PPVs isn’t all Rhodes envisions for AEW. On 2 October 2019, AEW will be making its TV debut on TNT.
The shows will be taped for two hours and broadcast every Wednesday, with the first three episodes to be shot in Washington DC, Boston and Philadelphia. This format is different from WWE who airs all of its shows live every week. And this is something that Rhodes doesn’t want for AEW.
“We’re going to try and present quality over quantity. Which means that some guys are going to have some time off. Which for the life and the well-being of a wrestler is a great thing to hear; that they’re not gong to be, every week, putting themselves in a high-profile singles match,” explained Rhodes.
On top of the two hours for each show, Rhodes and his team are thinking of adding an extra hour of content but as an online exclusive (possibly on Bleacher Report. This might feature wrestlers who aren’t on the taping for that week so that fans can still watch their favourites.
But AEW may face tough competition from WWE as they will move their NXT shows to USA Network also on Wednesdays. Which means that on AEW’s debut episode, fans would be split between watching the two products. And according to Wrestling Inc, the tickets for NXT’s 2 October and 9 October shows have completely sold out.
WWE NXT will make its official TV debut on USA Network next week on 18 September.