AEW’s live television debut finally took place on Wednesday, October 2. Dynamite premiered at 8pm EST on TNT and Tony Khan’s company came out firing on all cylinders, as many fans expected they would. The professional wrestling landscape has indeed changed as now AEW begins its journey into the realm of weekly TV.
WWE no longer monopolizes that realm and that’s a good thing for the industry as a whole. One massive company towering over all others doesn’t exactly provide a healthy environment for the business, or for fans who want more. So now that AEW is rolling, can the company give those fans something more?
The temptation to compare and contrast AEW’s television programming to WWE is obvious and it’s impossible to ignore. While it may not be fair to the young company, the fact is that AEW is surely prepared to hear those comparisons, which will be made by fans and insiders alike.
But it’s the contrasts that were immediately apparent when AEW went live on October. 2. The show began with a brief vignette of Cody Rhodes and Sammy Guevara, which led straight into their match. There were no long winded promos interrupted by various other stars from the locker room. No one was talking because no one needed to talk.
Check out Dynamite’s opening!
The most important thing was the wrestling match itself. That fact alone was enough to spark real interest from even the casual viewer, who may have tuned in to see what the new company had to offer. This was not a WWE presentation and that became obvious as the program continued with little to no mic time, as well also no backstage interviews.
However, WWE’s style has been employed by Vince McMahon’s company for years and it has morphed into the on-screen product that fans know today. While it’s often tedious and painfully repetitive at times, the fact is that diehard WWE fans are perhaps oblivious to it. They’re just accustomed to how the show goes, so chances are they barely take notice.
But for those who have been begging for something new, that’s exactly what they got with Dynamite. The storytelling was done primarily in the ring and on commentary, which is another point of interest for many fans who have missed that type of presentation. Ironically enough, this ie precisely how many other companies around the world regularly do business.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) October 3, 2019
Of course those companies are pro wrestling promotions and WWE is an entertainment company. WWE itself is quick to remind everyone of that as often as possible and it shows in the way they conduct themselves on television. One of the chief complaints against WWE over they years is the fact that they’re overproduced. That criticism is currently not being leveled at AEW.
But when it comes to characters, the company founded by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks is perhaps lagging a bit behind. The issue is that while full-time wrestling fans are mostly familiar with the AEW talent roster, the same is not true of new viewers. Those new viewers must have the opportunity to meet the roster individually, as the men and women of AEW appear on screen.
The meet and greet that must take place begins with the commentary table. Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are the perfect pair to illuminate the audience at home in terms of who’s who and why the stars do what they do. Excalibur is there to call the moves and to bridge the gap between longtime fans and today’s generation, which is completely understandable. But Jim and Tony have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which will help AEW’s cause along the way.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) October 3, 2019
But the company must also utilize video packages to enhance the characters that are presented every week. A simple 30 second intro would be enough to give a brief explanation for fans who may not be familiar with a particular star on AEW’s roster. But considering only one episode of Dynamite has aired, the truth is that there’s plenty of time for the company to dig deeper.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of Dynamite for fans was that the wrestling indeed took priority over everything else. Winning and losing, which does still have meaning in most companies, sometimes does not have the same meaning in WWE. But AEW has already differentiated itself from Vince McMahon’s empire by emphatically stating that yes, what happens today will directly affect tomorrow.
WWE’s habit of prematurely abandoning storylines and changing directions at a moment’s notice has not been evident thus far in AEW. If that remains the case, then fans will have yet another reason to be happy about what AEW brings to the table.
The truth is that AEW has many positives working for them. Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, MJF, Jon Moxley, PAC, and many other talented stars, are all in AEW’s locker room. The company has an all-star commentary team on TV and veteran backstage producers who are surely helping wherever they’re needed.
AEW is all about fresh starts, new days and bright futures. Whether or not the company will uphold that vision remains to be seen but it appears that AEW is indeed off to a good start, which is a good thing for everyone involved.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live