All Elite Wrestling and Warner Media announced a deal on Wednesday morning to bring wrestling back to TNT for the first time in 20 years.
AEW and Warner Media say weekly matches will appear on TNT in a prime time slot and stream on Bleacher Report’s B/R Live. Some shows will also be aired on pay-per-view.
The formation of All Elite Wrestling was announced in January of this year and has amassed an insanely talented roster headed by Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks. AEW is making a promise to have an inclusive, talent-forward and fan-first approach to wrestling. They have made it a point to say wins and losses will matter and soap opera-like storylines will not be a part of their strategy.
The joint press release reads:
Focused on producing fast-paced, high-impact competitions, AEW offers fans less scripted soapy drama and more athleticism and real sports analytics, bringing a legitimacy to wrestling that it has not previously had. Introducing statistics to wrestling for the first time ever, AEW will raise the stakes for its matches and deepen fan engagement by tracking each competitor’s wins and losses as the wrestlers pursue championships, analyzing their moves, assessing damage to their opponents, and providing insights into their winning streaks.
TNT and TBS were famous for putting WCW on the map at a time when WWF/E was all the rage. WCW went on to become legitimate competition for WWE during the Monday Night Wars until the company made some questionable decisions and was bought out by WWE in 2001.
Bleacher Report’s B/R Live will serve as the exclusive streaming partner in the United States for Double or Nothing, AEW’s inaugural pay-per-view event on May 25th. The Buy-In, the hour-long pre-show special, will stream on social channels and will feature the “Casino (Battle) Royale” which will include some major names like Jimmy Havoc and the ageless Billy Gunn.
The wording used in the press release has me intrigued. League, statistics, etc. I’m not sure if we’ll see teases of this format during Double or Nothing or whether it will hold off until the launch of the proper television show.
The broadcast team will consist of Jim Ross, Excalibur, Alex Marvez, Alicia Atout and Justin Roberts. With WWE’s SmackDown moving to Fox in October, I expect the inaugural AEW episode to be around that time. I doubt we will see the craziness of the Monday Night Wars recreated, but with such stale storylines and misuse of talent currently on WWE programming, any alternatives are welcomed alternatives for wrestling fans.