Going Broadway: Why AEW’s Move to TBS is For the Best

It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…

“As a lifelong wrestling aficionado who is privileged to present AEW to longtime and new fans alike, it means a lot to me – personally and professionally – to share the news that All Elite Wrestling will call TBS home beginning in 2022.” – Tony Khan

Today is was announced that All Elite Wrestling will have a new home come January 2022. TBS (“The Superstation” as it used to be called) will now host Wednesday Night Dynamite. In addition, a new one-hour show; “Rampage” (cue Archer reference) will air on Aug. 13 after Dynamite.

In addition to that, four new supershows will air on TNT, much akin to  WCW’s Clash of Champions.

As expected, cue the mindless internet wrestling trolls…

But no matter. Here’s why this move is actually for the best in AEW’s future endeavors.

TBS Outdraws TNT

You wouldn’t think so, right? However, if you look at the top ranked cable channels in 2020, TBS ranks #14 out of the top 150. TNT comes in at #18. In fact as of April 2021, out of the top five cable networks TBS comes in at #4. That is five spots higher than TNT.

Yes, we all know TNT as the “wrasslin'” alternative to Vince’s USA Network, but the fact is more eyes tend to be on TBS than TNT. When AEW finished #1 in ratings for Wednesday night, they did so on TNT. However, Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” (on TBS) still finished 11th, and that was at a 10:30PM slot.

With TBS playing old sitcoms on a loop (Friends, Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, etc.), there is never a reason to reschedule a show due to the NBA or NHL. In fact, with a strong late-night show in Full Frontal, Dynamite may even prove to be a good lead-in of sorts to the broadcast.

With more eyes on TBS, AEW’s ratings could be potentially higher in January.

Wrestling is Back on TBS

Historically, professional wrestling has always had a home on TBS. From Georgia Championship Wrestling, to Mid-South Wrestling, and of course, WCW, TBS has always played home for wrestling in its history.

If you haven’t noticed, All Elite Wrestling pays a certain homage to the past. It’s not just nods to WCW and past wrestlers, but the focus on in-ring wrestling over sports entertainment.

Several weeks ago, Lance Storm calculated the amount of actual wrestling between flagships Raw and Dynamite. AEW Dynamite carried more actual wrestling in the first 30 minutes of their show than Raw had in two hours. 

TBS, and AEW, is simply where professional wrestling lives.

Expansion City

Let’s take a step back and look at what this company has done in less than 2 years.

-Signed a deal with Turner Networks through 2023.
-Expanded to two shows on YouTube and a third network show (RAMPAAAAGE!)
-Will have content on TNT and TBS, which includes 4 annual specials on TNT. Both networks hover in the top 10 of overall cable ratings.
-A consistent ratings draw in both the 18-49 demographic and overall viewers.
-Doesn’t have zombies (unless you count Abadon)

This move is proof that when it comes to professional wrestling, if you build it, they will come. AEW has done well in it’s short history, and this is further proof of such. While the NHL certainly had something to do with the move, overall, it’s a win-win for all parties.

AT&T and WarnerMedia

When AT&T merged WarnerMedia (who own TNT/TBS) with Discovery days ago, it shook the TV landscape a little. Already announced is WarnerMedia’s “Front Row” which will air HBO Max exclusives on TNT and TBS. Some may believe the future of Discovery Plus and HBO Max is in doubt after this news, but I think it will only strengthen the brands.

WarnerMedia has already expressed past interest at integrating more streaming options for cord cutters. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing AEW programming available on HBO Max, even if it’s Pay-Per-Views, much like the WWE Network on Peacock.

Either way, this opens the door for a plethora of partnerships and ways to integrate AEW programming into various mediums on different streaming platforms. It’s a win-win.

Going Home

I’m going to have to get TBS now. Oh well. It’s worth it.