When AEW announced that they were going to have a weekly show on Saturday nights, it became a hot topic of debate within the IWC. The diehards were applauding two more hours of wrestling to digest on a weekly basis, while everyone else was shredding the very idea of running a show up against as stiff of competition as college football.
I understand their skepticism. Every Saturday is a potential gauntlet of competing interests. The UFC, The NFL, and the WWE run Saturday night events all year round. On top of all that, Saturday nights are historically bad for television ratings in general. The majority of your potential audience is likely doing something outside of their homes. It’s not a recipe for long term success.
However, in 2023, content is king. Every network is looking to add sports based live programing to their weekly lineups. For Warner Brothers Discovery, AEW is an established brand with a dedicated fan base that helps fulfill that need. Also, pro wrestling isn’t a seasonal sport, so it can provide live content year-round.
The truth is, whatever a network could potentially air on a Saturday night is going to face an uphill battle against Nielsen ratings. However, that becomes less relevant as more homes continue to ditch cable in favor of streaming.
From what I have read, the concept for Collision to run on Saturday nights came directly from the network itself. If that is the case, they must have some idea of what ratings the show could realistically produce, and those ratings must be satisfactory to the powers that be.
For me personally, I welcome the return of pro wrestling to Saturday nights. Being married with young children, we tend to be home on Saturday nights. It will fit nicely with my schedule and unless Michigan football is playing, I will be likely be watching live.
Did I mention that this show would be headlined by CM Punk? Are we really going to pretend that getting to see Phil cook every weekend isn’t going to be a blast? I still think this entire punk/elite fiasco has been a work from day one but that is another column for another day…
In many aspects, pro wrestling is thriving in 2023. AEW is the second biggest player in the industry and Warner Brothers Discovery has “double downed” their commitment to the sport with two more hours of weekly television. As a wrestling fan, that is just fantastic to see!
So, tomorrow evening, I will tuck the kids in, grab a snack, sit back and enjoy “Collision.”
“Saturday night’s alright for fighting.”