The “Wednesday Night Wars” begins this fall when WWE is met with opposition from a rival promotion on network television when All Elite Wrestling debuts on TNT.
Comparisons have been made by pro wrestling fans regarding the two promotions ever since AEW was formed at the beginning of 2019. The one glaring difference people feel that separates AEW from WWE is the heavy focus of actual wrestling inside the ring led by Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, and Jon Moxley to more of the mixture of entertainment and wrestling that WWE presents every week.
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AEW has been preaching those sentiments to others because they feel it is easier to get the fans involved in the story they are telling with their work instead of using the microphone to cut a promo and losing the interest of the fans at home and inside the arena.
“The biggest strength is the in-ring action, for sure,” Rhodes, an Executive Vice President of AEW, said in a Tuesday media call. “I think the misconception now is that you can’t tell stories from bell to bell, in-between the ropes. Stories like Ric Flair used to tell on a nightly basis, and you absolutely can tell those stories. I think that’s the biggest thing we have going for us, is our bell to bell, our in-ring action and then, I spoke to it earlier, I think to accompany the in-ring work is the human connection. It’s to find out who these people are.
“Our biggest strength is all the things we’ve been talking about, and complaining about for twenty-something years if that makes sense. We’ve heard all that. If someone were to spy on us and get the formula like, ‘What are they doing? Why are people into this? I don’t understand; this isn’t good.’ No, it is good. See the crowd? See the continued sell-outs? That’s the value! It’s a product people want to see, and we just want to spread that product and share it with these returners and casual fans that might, if not until now, will see it for the first time and see wrestling differently. But see something they recognize from way back if that makes sense.”
Pro wrestling hasn’t had two significant companies going up against one another since the vaunted “Monday Night Wars” between WWE and WCW. Back then, the weekly ratings were the most important thing to the higher-ups in each company and the fans because of the perceived notion of whoever had the bigger numbers that were the superior organization.
Just like they were in the 1990s, WWE will be on the USA Network but with NXT while AEW will be on WCW’s old home for “Monday Night Nitro”, TNT, for “Dynamite”.
Everyone will be awaiting the ratings on Thursday to see who emerges victorious in week one. While he wouldn’t reveal it, Rhodes admits there’s a number they have in mind coming right out of the box.
“We have high expectations for this,” Rhodes said. “We think this is a product people want to see. We think this is a product that will appeal to the several-million people that went away around 2001 and are now calling themselves ‘Returners’, which is my favorite term for them. So, I think we have a number in mind, and hopefully, we hit it.”
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