Legendary announcer Tony Schiavone has defended AEW Rampage against claims that it is has become WCW Thunder.
WCW’s second show launched back in January 1998 after pressure from parent company Time Warner. Although WCW boss Eric Bischoff was initially against adding another two-hour show on top of the three-hour flagship program Nitro, it was a battle that he eventually lost.
Although Thunder did well in the ratings when it debuted, its popularity didn’t last long and suffered dramatically when WWE launched SmackDown in the summer of 1999. Much of the criticism stemmed from nothing of consequence really happening on the show, while the in-ring performances fluctuated wildly.
Fast forward to 2023 and AEW’s second show Rampage has also come under fire for not really impacting major storylines.
“We Want To Do It” – Tony Schiavone On Rampage
Speaking on his podcast, What Happened When, Tony Schiavone claimed that Rampage is nothing like Thunder. The announcer that has worked on both shows said that the main difference is that no one wanted to do Thunder whereas they want to produce Rampage. Schiavone added that due to the size of the AEW roster, Rampage is important.
“‘Rampage’ is important for us because we have such a big roster and not everybody gets TV time. Back then, we didn’t need it. We had a three-hour show,
It’s just too much. Right now we’re doing three hours of TV and two of it live.”
The discussion around the television ratings for Rampage came to the fore following the February 17th episode of the show. On that occasion, the show scored its lowest ratings ever with only 287,000 people tuning in.