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Rob: Looking At The AEW TV Follies

Rob takes a look at the near comedic nature of the AEW television deal and the internet’s treatment of it.

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Rob takes a look at the near comedic nature of the AEW television deal and the internet’s treatment of it.

This past Thursday brought out a lot of chatter on Twitter about AEW and their very unclear prospects at landing a TV deal.  We’ve been hearing for some time now that they have multiple bidders offering good money and that it’s a matter of picking which one.  We’ve also heard that Warner Media appeared to have decided to go in with them and that an announcement of some kind should be coming soon.  But now a new rumor surfaced, that they might have to pay for the TV themselves.

Which brought on the jokes from a lot of different people and in turn brought out the ‘you guys are a bunch of WWE stans, why do you want AEW to fail?’ responses from some supporters of AEW.  So yes, Thursday night on Wrestling Twitter became the clusterf@# that most nights tend to be.  Now before I go any further, let me put out a little disclaimer here.

I am not anti-AEW.  I got no quarrel with any of the people there.  I’m not a fan of some of them as performers but it’s nothing personal.  At least from what I’ve seen Cody in particular has been nothing but gracious towards his former employers and co-workers, and has shot down many an attempt by fans to goad him into bashing WWE and/or Vince McMahon. I don’t know him personally but he seems like a good dude all around, and I respect the hell out of him for not just leaving WWE but leaving with a plan to accomplish what he did not there and not going on and on about his push or lack thereof.  I do however take issue with the constant bombardment on my Twitter feed from overzealous fans predicting that AEW is going to take down the WWE, the constant rumors about this WWE wrestler or that one being unhappy why they could/should go to AEW, and with Dave Meltzer’s state run media treatment towards them.  Dave has always loved those guys but since the run up to All In he’s become co-opted by The Elite and has spun everything they do as successful and a big deal.  He’s already declared that they are the number two company even though they haven’t run a show yet.

So yeah, when something pops up that runs contrary to all the bragging and boasting that the worst AEW fans have been doing….yeah, there are gonna be some jokes fired off.  That doesn’t mean we want it to fail, ok?  To be honest most of the people I’ve talked to are curious but not necessarily interested in it at all, and would be perfectly fine leaving it to exist and not saying a word one way or the other.  As for myself, I’m more interested in the operational side than whatever kind of content they’re ultimately going to be producing.  Quite frankly I’m not that pressed to see more wrestling than what I already watch, and that’s not where their success is going to come from anywhere.  The thing that rarely gets talked about re: WWE is that how they’ve run their office vs all of their former and current would be competitors has been the real difference maker and not the quality of their wrestling.  There are plenty of guys and gals who can get in a ring and put on a good match but there aren’t as many people who can competently run a wrestling company.  But anyhow…..

Does this thing have any credibility? We don’t know of course, but consider that virtually every other wrestling company outside of WWE is in a less than prime spot as far as television.  Even if the Turner folks don’t hate wrestling like they did 20 years ago there hasn’t been much demand shown for anything that’s not WWE, which has 35 years of branding and trust built up working to it’s advantage.  AEW or any other start up company is walking into a network environment that, while it may be friendlier than before, still isn’t looking to do any favors to a wrestling company that may not even out rate some of the reruns that they carry.  While them having to pay or maybe just not getting any rights fees may not be what happens, I’m willing to bet they don’t get some huge amount of money.  Why?  Take off your fan hat and look at things objectively.  What kind of audience they’ll bring in is purely speculation at this point – just how many people fit into the pool that might be interested but will actually tune in to watch?  That’s the real question, and we don’t know yet.  So far they’ve only announced special events, one offs that are easier to sell because they’re rare.  But when it’s the middle of July and you’re running the third week in a row of matches between the same people to further an angle, are there enough people willing to do that for a company they’re not already invested in?  That’s the key, in my opinion.  Can you get enough people in the tent who will stay with you through that?


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We’ll see what happens.  Network upfronts are coming soon and then all will be revealed.  The TV deal, should they get one, is an important building block in any success they have.  TV rights don’t just get you exposure they often pay the bills.  The NFL has been dining out on TV rights fees so much that attendance at games is an afterthought now.  A good timeslot where they have a chance to draw a good number will be the difference between them doing well or going down the tubes in short order.  But this whole thing is also a referendum on Dave Meltzer, as he has been doing a full Baghdad Bob routine and insisting that they have multiple big money offers and it’s just a matter of choosing which one.  Dave sounds like a full on shill at this point and has been straight up cheerleading them the whole time.  And look it’s fine to be a fan/shill for someone, but you just got to admit it and not play objective reporter.  Dave is All In (pun intended) on AEW, to the point where he’s venturing into crazy talk land to boost them up.  We’ll find out soon enough just how this thing plays out, and then we can go back from pretending to be TV experts to pretending we know how to book wrestling shows.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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