Wednesday, May 15, 2019

All Elite Wrestling Is Officially on TNT

AEW made it to TNT
All Elite Wrestling, the company backed by Tony Khan's billions and run by the collective of Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, has found a home on television, and guess where that home is...

Yep, TNT, the home of World Championship Wrestling Monday Nitro for the better part of a decade, will air the fledgling wrestling company's television output. This deal has been rumored for awhile now with conflicting reports on what the financial situation would be. More than a few people reported that AEW would be paying for time on TNT like their wrestling was an infomercial. This practice may seem backwards given how much money networks are tripping over themselves to give WWE, but it's not an uncommon practice historically at least. More than a few promotions in the territory days bought time on local television, the most notable being Memphis/Mid-South. However, they could buy the time locally because local TV was cheap and Memphis was one of the most lucrative, well-attended territories.

Dave Meltzer, however, reported that it wasn't a time-buy. On one hand, he's the closest wrestling "journalist" to Rhodes and the Bucks, but on the other, a lot of his opinion pieces have been overly flattering to the group, both in the ring and out, so people have raised questions whether he's reporting or repeating propaganda. To be honest, I really don't care either way. Besides, if they did have to buy time on TNT, look whom they have backing the fucking company. Tony Khan can shell out the money, so he should. Either way, the official report from Hollywood Reporter doesn't make mention of the financials, but it did make sure to include the least flattering picture of Chris Jericho they could find.

TNT having wrestling again evokes a certain nostalgia, and the network didn't really help dissuade that affinity for the past by using inferno in the background that was a trademark of Nitro's aesthetic. Hopefully, AEW doesn't try to evoke the more negative portions of WCW, as in the bait-and-switch booking and egos run amok. Of course, it'll be hard to tell what path the promotion will tread until it runs a first official show. Speaking of which, part of the deal includes streaming of Double or Nothing, and I would assume other special events, on Turner's Bleacher Report streaming service.

No matter what way you slice it, getting on TNT or Turner networks in general after the company wanted to rid itself of wrestling in 2002 (the reason why Vince McMahon was able to buy WCW in the first place) is a coup for AEW. Even though cable TV is declining in importance, it's not dead yet, and TNT is certainly at least five steps above whatever bobo channels Ring of Honor or Impact Wrestling have been relegated to, although I really shouldn't talk shit about Pop TV. That network has given the world Schitt's Creek, one of the best shows of the last five years. But I digress. AEW getting such prominent television is only good news, not just for them, but for wrestling itself.