AEW on TNT: Why an Alternative fits better than Competition for Pro-Wrestling
For all the hope All Elite Wrestling provided with its announcement, the acquisition of Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega and the whammy of Double or Nothing, none of it would have mattered had the company not doubled down on an actual programming agenda.
Let's face it, in the current ADHD infused fast food culture you're either visible on a constant basis or don't exist at all. Content is a must to sell a product, excessive content might get you killed or fans overstuffed and underserved (seen by 5 hours of WWE) but content regardless is king.
The rumors were around of TNT and Turner broadcasting returning to the land of professional wrestling.
Those just came to fruition tonight with Turner announcing its partnership and distribution on both cable and streaming of the Tony Khan backed AEW product.
With a show set to broadcast later this fall, after their big Double or Nothing PPV (streaming on B/R Live, the Turner backed streaming service) on May 25.
There isn't a specific date set for the upcoming TV show or a day/time slot on the TNT calendar, but the fact remains that AEW shall now be a very potent and visible pro-wrestling alternative to the WWE.
An alternative being the keyword.
While fans have clamored for a competitive pro-wrestling atmosphere for over a decade, AEW readies to deliver not as competition but the other choice for fans disillusioned by the pro-wrestling giants lethargic and complacent product.
It doesn't come as a shock anymore that WWE continues to register history breaking low viewership each week. Their weekly five-hour product (besides the little good that is 205 live and NXT) is a stale beast relying on few tricky gimmicks such as their new Wild Card rule and for some banal reason the idea of showcasing talent at either their worst or most handicapped.
On one hand, RAW has slowly become stale. On the other, despite the abundance of talent and spirit, SmackDown Live is always seen as the B-Show, has reflected this in its reputation among the casual fanbase and therefore the ratings as well.
Even then, toppling a juggernaut like WWE is easier said than done. For some reason besides courting controversy in Saudi Arabia or record low rating, FOX early last year managed to capture Smackdown for broadcasting in a bumper sale. The idea remaining that WWE still thrives at the forefront of the wrestling landscape.
For some, the words pro-wrestling and WWE remain interchangeable much like toothpaste and Colgate. Brand value is the game of the day for any corporate entity and entertainment avenue, WWE is just that.
So while AEW may seek to rattle the market, there is a shadow of a doubt that it can cause a quick turn around on the game. Sadly neither the unending pockets of the Khan family nor the consistently horrid WWE product can change that.
One thing can and that is TNT. For all the mass attention WWE claims today, this solidarity at the forefront of pro-wrestling can all be traced back to an era where pro-wrestling truly thrived in pop culture. This is none other than the Attitude Era.
The casual fan may not care or differentiate between a Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, but they definitely knew and cared about the difference between a Goldberg and Stone Cold Steve Austin. It is that reason even now, WWE manages bumper ratings only on the basis of their returning/part-time Attitude era stars.
The big guns sell and they sell hard. The Attitude Era molded a time of competition in the business, but only on the basis of two (and in the case of ECW, three) distinctive if somewhat thematically united products, that made each one try for the better until of course WCW lost the plot and folded.
Yet that is the distinctive difference AEW can aim for, in a generation and market constantly seeking the new fix and sticking on for variety. With Turner at its helm, a company still relevant and bridging ways into the growing space of streaming not to mention a visibly popular history with Wrestling.
AEW has it made to bring eyeballs not just of hardcore fans in need of a new fix but also lapsed fans that WWE marginally carries along only during its now dragging WrestleMania season.
For that it doesn't need to compete like the old legacy brand of TNT and Turner, it doesn't need to birth a new era under the powers of the ELITE or anyone else. It doesn't even need to go head to head like TNA did in 2010, an ill-advised run.
All AEW needs to do, is deliver on what it's promised. A true alternative to everything that plagues WWE and who knows maybe then the juggernaut of the wrestling industry will find in itself a change of heart.
It's hilarious to think how deep the vault of talent is in pro-wrestling today. At this point considered a glorified T-Shirt company by its detractors, AEW houses an elite collection of talent.
The indies thrive on the numerous wrestlers making a break in the business. WWE despite the product, continues to fill its ranks with the best of the best. While further in the East, NJPW continues to hold strong.
There's enough talent and enough wrestling to go around, thanks to AEW fans have now a new fresh product, on closer shores to look to. For that AEW has the strong backing to go the distance. Maybe then a new better Attitude Era can come forth, and hopefully, one that survives generations hence.
Variety is the spice of life, and variety is incoming. AEW's Double or Nothing comes to PPV and streaming on B/R Live; Saturday, May 25th.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belongs to the writer and doesn't necessarily represent Sportskeeda's stand.