All Elite Wrestling looks to usher in a new era in wrestling.
Earlier this morning, AEW officially announced their partnership with Turner Media/TNT. The deal will see AEW debut on TNT "later this year" with weekly live wrestling and be part of multiple Turner Media platforms. TNT was famously the home of WCW Nitro and part of the Monday Night Wars in the 90s, the hottest period in wrestling history. Many expect AEW to challenge WWE in a similar manner as WCW, although those in AEW have quickly shot down that idea, choosing to focus on their own product instead.
“For many years throughout my youth and plenty of other fans’ youths, pro wrestling has been essentially just one company and that’s not really the case. I want to be the sports-centric alternative in the pro wrestling world and I think we’re on a good path to get there.”
Longtime announcer Jim Ross also weighed in on the situation. Ross was in the trenches with WWE during the Monday Night Wars and will serve as a senior advisor to AEW.
“AEW has a great opportunity because they’re not underfunded, the leadership has amazing vision, is young and youthful,” Ross said. “It’s probably the youngest group of decision makers ever in the business and I think that’s a pretty good statement because they’re going to be able to relate to that 18-34 demographic and 18-49 demographic very favorably."
On the subject of AEW competing with WWE, Ross said, "Competition raises everybody’s game. It will raise the wrestlers’ game, the creative people’s game, everybody. Everybody feels a sense of urgency when someone is competing with them. Competitive means being profitable. It doesn’t mean, ‘We have to have this to beat the WWE.’ Our job is not to worry about what WWE is doing, not their TV clearances, not whose in the main event, nothing. With a growing company there are a lot of growing pains. It’s a mix of creative and athletics and a lot of different things. Our focus has to be us, period.”
While Cody was not part of the Monday Night Wars, his father (Dusty Rhodes) and brother (Goldust) were in the middle of the war between WWE and WCW. Perhaps more importantly, Cody knows the frustrations of working for WWE when there is no competition. In some ways, Cody was the catalyst for this recent run of release requests in WWE.
“[As] much as I say it was a wonderful job, it wasn’t wrestling. That’s something I’ve learned a lot about, the grittiness and the sports-centric element of the industry that doesn’t exist really anywhere else currently. We have the opportunity to seize that.”
You can find the full press release put out by AEW and Turner Media by clicking here.