AEW on TNT: What We Know So Far
AEW begins it’s run on TNT on October 2nd! It’s a live, two hour show airing at 8PM ET and will be on every week, aside from Christmas Day where it’ll be pre-empted. I’m so ready for this, the world is ready for AEW on TNT and I’m happy to give you all the latest news available on it!
The first event is being made out to be huge just by the venue announcement alone. It’s to take place in the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. That’s the biggest arena AEW has run yet, with a theoretical capacity of about 20,000 seats. This is a venue WWE has often used for Raw and SmackDown as well as a bevy of PPVs, including SummerSlam and Survivor Series in the past. In addition, WCW’s final four Starrcade events all emanated from the Capital One Arena as well. Most notably in recent times, it’s where SmackDown 1000 took place.
This stands as a huge show of confidence from owner Tony Khan.
He expects big numbers from this debut show, positioning it as a must-see fly-in event. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, future venues are planned to be in venues of varying size, around the 6000-11,000 seat range. That’s pretty ambitious as that’s about what Raw and SmackDown have been drawing recently, with the latter falling under 6000 quite often nowadays.
Of course that’s considered a big slump for WWE, whereas AEW has thus far greatly exceeded expectations with live events. Still, it’s a bit of a risk, hopefully one that pays off.
The name for the show has yet to be finalized. Hence it being referred to as ‘AEW on TNT’ in this article.
Of course the name Wednesday Night Dynamite has flown around a lot recently. This is for good reason, as they do have a trademark filed. But they’re said to still be market testing names, so we’ll see what they come up with. It’s expected that the name of the show will be finalized and announced over the course of the next week.
I will say that ‘Dynamite’, or another similar name, would fit well with the Nitro-throwback fiery aesthetic that TNT has thus far used to promote the show:
As yet, no matches have been announced for the first show, but one can expect major names.
We’ll no doubt be hearing major announcements for the premier in the weeks after All Out, or perhaps even on the All Out show itself. Just going by the poster and the way it’s talked about though, I would assume appearances from all the biggest stars are likely. Jericho, Moxley, The Elite, ect.
We do know that a tag team title tournament is coming in the fall. It’s intended to be a major part of these early broadcasts. Whether or not that begins on the first show or in the weeks shortly after is not yet confirmed. But I imagine it’d play into that debut show in some capacity. Perhaps a bracket announcement or the first appearances for new teams.
Having this date and time confirmed now makes it easier for them to negotiate international deals.
AEW have already established a relationship with the UK-based ITV for previous events, and are looking to finalize a deal to air the new show every week overseas. According to Meltzer, the current expectation is for it to air on ITV 4 from 1-3 AM on Thursday mornings. They’ve also been thought to be in talks with TSN to broadcast in Canada. This would be a pretty huge deal. TSN used to be Raw’s Canadian network of choice.
They’ll no doubt want to branch out into as many markets as possible. They’ve already made strides to try and achieve this. They already have a decent few English stars, especially if PAC comes in now that he’s lost the Dragon Gate Championship. They also have an alliance with AAA that includes bringing in some of their hottest lucha libre names. In the Asian market, we have exciting joshi imports straight from Japan, and even a close affiliation with upstart Chinese promotion OWE. Not to mention two of their biggest stars in Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega being proud Canadians.
I don’t know how much focus I’d be devoting to this effort right away when you have a lot of growing to do domestically. But building the roster the way they have is certainly some smart future-proofing. And it’s never too early to atleast be thinking about this kind of thing. Not when you’re starting up as the #2 promotion in America anyway.