One of the things that many experts have said AEW Wrestling needs to do is not think about competing with WWE and Cody Rhodes has gone a long way to say that is not their intention.
However, someone forgot to tell Chris Jericho.
The biggest star in AEW is Jericho, a multi-time WWE world champion and the first man to ever hold the WWE Undisputed World Championship when he beat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin on the same night.
This week, TimeWarner announced that they had picked up AEW Wrestling and it would air on TNT starting later this year. TNT is one of cable TV’s biggest networks and is equal with USA Network, which airs Monday Night Raw.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) May 17, 2019
This means that for the first time since WCW, there is a company that is on equal grounds with WWE in terms of viewership.
When talking about the new TNT deal, Chris Jericho told TV Insider that WWE is now paying attention.
“This is a war. Even if you don’t want it to be, it just is,” Jericho said. “There hasn’t been any competition for WWE on a national basis for 20 years or more. I think this is something they didn’t really want, but it’s great for the fans and great for the guys. I think in the long run it’s going to make a difference because it gives people a choice. And it’s always good to have a choice.”
— TNT Drama (@tntdrama) May 15, 2019
While AEW is not competing with WWE for viewers right now, they are now a true alternative for WWE wrestlers who are disenfranchised with their spots in the company.
Some have asked for releases and others are just waiting for their contracts to expire to move on. AEW not only can pay them equal to what WWE offers but now they can get great television exposure as well.
Neither Impact Wrestling nor Ring of Honor is on television networks that come close to what AEW just swung with TNT. AEW will also get onto a streaming service with B/R Live.
“Vince doesn’t want anyone coming to AEW,” Jericho said. “Doesn’t want there to be a mass exodus whether you are an opening match jobber or a main event Roman Reigns. He doesn’t want anybody to go.”
Even though I wasn’t at the #WarnerMediaUpfront, it’s no surprise that I was still center stage and the star of the show… #YoureWelcome @AEWrestling tntdrama @ New York City – Manhattan – Nyc https://t.co/TZJJttQjqi
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) May 16, 2019
Chris Jericho also said that AEW will be like WWE used to be in the Attitude Era. He said there will not be 10 different people writing promos for wrestlers to say and they will give wrestlers a chance to do their own stuff and sink or swim based on their characters.
Things are about to get exciting again in professional wrestling.