AEW Dynamite debuted on TNT on October 2, 2019. One year on, Variety have published a feature on their website talking to some of the stars of the show.
AEW Executive Vice President and former TNT Champion Cody Rhodes is very positive about the past 12 months,
“It really is my baby in terms of how I feel about AEW and how I feel about the roster. Even people who are older than me, I think of them as my kids. So I feel very strongly about it. And I think we’ve had a wonderful year so I’m in love with AEW.”
The article went on to talk about AEW’s ratings over the last 12 months, saying that Dynamite has consistently beaten NXT’s weekly show in “both key demographics and total viewers” in their head-to-head slot on Wednesday nights.
“According to an analysis by Variety Intelligence Platform analysis, AEW has averaged a weekly audience of 835,000 viewers in Nielsen live-plus-same day ratings over the past year, compared to NXT’s 696,000.”
Former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho has been part of many of the highest-rated segments in the coveted 18-49 demographic. This led to him referring to himself as the ‘Demo God’.
“There is a little bit of a war, obviously, just by the fact that NXT is on a Wednesday night. We don’t really pay attention to what they do during the show. But afterwards, of course, you check in the ratings…The company really can’t point that out, but I can because I’m a heel and can say whatever I want to incorporate that and no one’s going to get any heat for it because it’s the truth.”
The current AEW World Champion, Jon Moxley, spoke about the difference in the creative process between AEW and his former employers, WWE, where he was known as Dean Ambrose.
“We let our talent speak in their own voice, say what they want to say, stay with the feeling, and it creates authentic moments, and you’ve seen that with myself, Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho, Darby Allin, and so many others. You have the feeling of being out there on the fly with no script. You just know we have to go off the air at exactly 10 p.m. and I have to smash the champagne bottle over your head.”
The article goes on to talk to AEW President and CEO, Tony Khan, about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the product. This included his thoughts on running shows with a depleted roster.
“After the first two weeks of the pandemic, as our roster started to thin out, what happened was we were forced to do shows with less than 30% of our wrestling roster available to us, and I’m actually proud of those shows as I am of anything because they kept us going.”
The continued success of AEW, even in these difficult circumstance, did not go unnoticed by their TV partner. Brett Weitz, general manager of TBS, TNT, and truTV, told Variety,
“I think where where the rubber really met the road was during when COVID hit and watching Tony really pivot and grow, and he was able to keep those storylines going and put so many great things together, even through a global pandemic, and that tells you everything you need to know about the DNA of that brand and that guy as a producer.”
The full feature also discusses AEW’s toy line, and plans to expand the brand across WarnerMedia.
AEW’s anniversary show will air on 14 October, headlined by Jon Moxley v Lance Archer for the AEW World Championship. Keep an eye on ITRWrestling.com for full results and analysis.