AEW Wins Wednesday Night Wars – For Now

AEW Wins Wednesday Night Wars – For Now

When it comes to professional wrestling, fans are often treated to a wide range of high-stakes shenanigans in the ring. The stunts, rivalries, personalities, and production help create an unforgettable spectacle. Historically, WWE has had the lion’s share of attention when it comes to pro wrestling… but not anymore.

In May 2019, All Elite Wrestling burst onto the scene after announcing a deal with TNT, with the promise of delivering on something ‘new’ for wrestling fans. In other words, AEW was looking to become the future of pro wrestling, while WWE would be the caretaker of the sport’s nostalgic days.

Not only did the announcement help curry attention, with new fans asking, “Wait, what’s AEW?”, but the group’s debut piggybacked on the expansion of sports betting. With the increase of sportsbooks across the US, more fans of boxing and MMA have shown interest in pro wrestling (and vice versa).

Both sectors are now looking to take advantage of the sports betting boom. At the moment, leading pundits who cover wagers on sporting events focus on Bellator and UFC fights. Punters can bet on specific bouts or the overall winner, depending on the match. At the moment, it’s unclear exactly how pro wrestling would fit into betting offers because of the performative nature of the sport.

Even so, that doesn’t mean the WWE or AEW won’t be appearing in major sportsbooks soon. With the WWE’s recent loss in the ‘Wednesday Night Wars’, a battle between TV ratings on each’s respective channel, both pro wrestling groups will be looking for more ways to engage with fans and excite spectators.

 

The Battle Has Been Decided…

In the ring, pro wrestlers may be facing chokeslams and ladder stunts, but in the WWE and AEW boardroom, the battles are all about TV ratings. Since 2019, the WWE has been contracted with USA Network, while AEW banded with TNT in the same year.

AEW formed a show named Dynamite with TNT, which premiered Wednesday, October 2, 2019. Only two weeks before, USA Network moved its NXT WWE program to the same time slot, creating what broadcasting execs know as a ‘counterprogram’. In other words, the WWE was making a direct attack on AEW’s TV ratings, looking to compromise the group’s worth with TNT.

The numbers immediately tilted in favor of AEW. NXT drew in 1.179 and 1 million viewers in its first two weeks before running against Dynamite, which saw 1.409 million viewers tune in. That same night, NXT averaged only 891,000.

The war continued on into early 2020, but the rules of engagement changed as major rescheduling and other logistical issues sullied both WWE and AEW’s plans for the year. As each group scrambled to rework shows, including the creation of a WWE ThunderDome and AEW’s big-name cameos from boxing champions. However, by March 2021, USA Network announced NXT would be moving to Tuesday nights, beginning April 13, as part of a multi-year contract agreement.

 

But The War Won’t Be Ending Soon

The win gave credence to AEW’s Dynamite, and, though the war between the pro wrestling giants isn’t bound to end soon, it may usher in a new era of pro wrestling. After all, AEW and their Dynamite program have highlighted a new future for the sport which favors creative freedom for wrestlers.

The WWE delivers on a treasured pastime and is able to bring back favorites, from Stone Cold Steve Austin to The Undertaker. The promotion group has deep pockets, recognizable personalities and rivalries, as well as a familiar format for longtime fans.

Regardless, pro wrestling can’t survive off appearances from athletes in their 50s and 60s—no matter how famous. AEW is looking to deliver on the next generation of pro wrestlers, and allow them to write their own scripts which feature more action in the ring.

Historically, WWE has produced narratives that can feature a bit too much time in the ring with a microphone in hand. However, just because AEW has won the Wednesday Night Wars, that doesn’t mean the WWE is close to folding. In fact, the group has seen harder times than these, including multiple brushes with dissolution and a notable victory over the former competition, namely the Monday Night Wars against World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

wrestling

But The War Won’t Be Ending Soon

The win gave credence to AEW’s Dynamite, and, though the war between the pro wrestling giants isn’t bound to end soon, it may usher in a new era of pro wrestling. After all, AEW and their Dynamite program have highlighted a new future for the sport which favors creative freedom for wrestlers.

The WWE delivers on a treasured pastime and is able to bring back favorites, from Stone Cold Steve Austin to The Undertaker. The promotion group has deep pockets, recognizable personalities and rivalries, as well as a familiar format for longtime fans.

Regardless, pro wrestling can’t survive off appearances from athletes in their 50s and 60s—no matter how famous. AEW is looking to deliver on the next generation of pro wrestlers, and allow them to write their own scripts which feature more action in the ring.

Historically, WWE has produced narratives that can feature a bit too much time in the ring with a microphone in hand. However, just because AEW has won the Wednesday Night Wars, that doesn’t mean the WWE is close to folding. In fact, the group has seen harder times than these, including multiple brushes with dissolution and a notable victory over the former competition, namely the Monday Night Wars against World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

 

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