Song of the Week:
But I do think on a weekly basis, we found a really good rhythm. [We run] two hours of Dynamite, two hours of Collision, and now one hour of Rampage too, and how those hours are allocated. It’s something to certainly think about. I’m glad that it went well this weekend and gave people something to think about.” – Tony Khan on Dynamite moving to 3 hours | July 19, 2023
On March 20th, 2024, AEW Rampage will air live right after AEW Dynamite. This is due to TBS carrying live coverage of the NCAA March Madness Tournament. With Dynamites habitually going over schedule on a weekly basis now, I have to pose the obvious question:
Is it best for AEW to simply eliminate Rampage and extend Dynamite’s timeslot another hour? Afterall, WarnerMedia offered this to Khan back in 2021 where he initially turned it down.
“We knew that another show was coming this year. I’ve been saying it for a long time that we were going to add another night, one hour. I didn’t want to do three hours of Dynamite. They (WarnerMedia) asked at one point if I wanted to do three hours of Dynamite. It came up about doing a third hour and I said I really believed in doing it on another night.” – Tony Khan; 2021
Could it be time for a change? This is assuming the offer is still on the table. But if it is, can Khan wrap that up in a new TV deal moving forward?
Let’s take a look…
Will it Burn Out Viewers?
For years, many fans have complained about the length of Monday Night Raw. Sentiment is that AEW Dynamite is good at two hours and that it might drag if extended to three.
And I totally get it. However, I want to make a few points here:
- Fans are largely conditioned to a 3-hour wrestling show now.
- WWE programming tends to be promo-heavy, which can make the show feel like it’s dragging for some viewers.
Dynamite has been running with an overage now for sometime, usually anywhere from 5-10 minutes. And perhaps that’s the happy medium, but the show still flies by, in my view. And this is because of how it’s booked. It’s the Botchamania equivalent of “You Talk Too Much” (botches aside), where the in-ring action is heavily favored over lengthy promos. High in-ring action tends to keep eyes glued to the screen.
We’ll get into the booking opportunities later, but as far as burnout goes, I don’t see an extra hour becoming a chore for AEW fans who enjoy the product. And here’s the thing about a move to a three-hour Dynamite with the elimination of Rampage. It still ends up being the same amount of AEW TV by the hour.
This also goes for the live audience. They’re already there to see Dynamite and Rampage afterwards. So a move like this wouldn’t affect the live crowd at all.
But would a move like this be better for the booking overall? It very well could be.
Better Ingredients, Better Booking?
With an added 50 minutes to the usual weekly broadcast, the show opens up better booking opportunities. Sure, you have more time for more promos to help build better stories. Sure, you can slow the show down just a tad so there’s never a worry of rushing to “get everything in”. But what an additional hour could actually do is improve ticket sales.
Hear me out.
If you’re able to simply fit more talent on a weekly show per episode, there’s a better chance fans are going to want to see it live. There are still talent that we do not see weekly that we could. Powerhouse Hobbs, Julia Hart, Miro, Thunder Rosa, etc.
And if rumors are to come to fruition, we’re going to add Kazuchika Okada and Mercedes Mone to the mix? And lest we forget that Will Ospreay has yet to “officially” debut as a signed member of the AEW roster.
And there are names due back from injury as well (at one point or another). Jamie Hayter, Britt Baker, MJF, Adam Cole, etc.
At a full, healthy roster, it’s insane to me to think that all of these names are going to find a way onto AEW’s weekly flagship show. This isn’t a bad problem to have, but we may need more time than two hours for your flagship show.
But this move also accomplishes something else that fans have been asking for…
You can finally book two women’s matches on a Dynamite per show. You can finally introduce much needed AEW Women’s Tag Team Championships. You have the space to do this now!
While I have been enjoying the current feud between Deonna Purazzo and Toni Storm, as well as the returns of Serena Deeb and Thunder Rosa, and the hot start of Mariah May, there still exists a void in the women’s division.
It’s been miles better than it’s been in the past. But there are still so many names we just do not see live on a weekly basis. Names like Kris Statlander, Willow Nightingale, Julia Hart, Skye Blue, Hikaru Shida, Saraya, and Thunder Rosa are names we should see every single week in some form, be it Dynamite or Collision.
Extra hour? Problem solved.
And again, if Khan is bringing Mercedes Mone into the mix, you know we need dedicated match and promo time for segments. She has a huge fan base, and fans will follow and tune in with the expectation to see her every week.
So we have a (hopefully) better booked show, and more opportunities for talent, especially the women. What do we do with Collison?
Ideas for Collision
Throwing a live non-PPV wrestling show on a Saturday night in this day and age is crazy. But ratings have been decent enough, and WBD seems to be happy with them. However, lengthening Dynamite to 3 hours would make Collision feel less important than it already does. So we need to make Collision feel important. Rampage hasn’t felt important for some time, and even as a self-proclaimed AEW diehard, I’ll tune into Rampage if I honestly have nothing else better to do on a Friday night at that time.
Here’s a few ideas…
Title defenses every week
Make the show feel special with featuring a title defense every Saturday. No Ring of Honor, either. Feature a legitimate title defense from one of AEW’s 8 current championships.
Build to the Main Event via Dynamite
If you have an extra hour of Dynamite to work with, then you can build to a main event on Collision. It’s marketing 101 — give fans a reason to tune in. This means live promos and/or matches!
No “soft” brand split
We should aim to see the same stars on Dynamite as we do Collison. For example, we haven’t seen FTR have a match on Dynamite since May of 2023. Same with the House of Black. Aside from his match with Sammy Guevara in January, Ricky Starks hasn’t had a match on Dynamite since June 2023. Now back in September, it was reported that the “soft” brand split would end due to Punk’s departure. But it still seems like there are a handful of stars being kept away from Dynamite, and that’s just not needed anymore.
Move to Monday nights/Streaming on Max (2025)
Khan has zero power over this one, but with Raw moving to Netflix in 2025, this may be an opportune time to either move Collision to Monday nights, or to Max via streaming on their B/R Live Sports tier. At the very least, even if you keep the show as is, you get more eyes on it. More eyes means more exposure, and more fans may want to tune in and buy tickets to see it live.
Regardless, Collision should feel as special as Dynamite, and for some reason, it just doesn’t. It’s still a subjectively good broadcast. But it just doesn’t hit the same as Dynamite does. Seeing a chunk of the same talent as you would on Dynamite, as well as higher stakes, may bring more eyes to Collision in what is a tough Saturday night timeslot.
So About Rampage…
It was a good run, yeah?
I’ll be honest, Rampage is just on a terrible timeslot where it’s hard for me to care about any wrestling on that night. The show is not without its historical moments. But at this point, I would prefer it to go the way of AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation.
Could something new be put in its place? If WBD wants it, then of course!
If WWE has NXT, why can’t AEW have ROH? Perhaps that’s WBD’s hang up: They don’t want to push Ring of Honor literally on their own. Would they change their tune if the AEW brand was carried with it? Afterall, the show is ‘WWE: NXT’ – so I could see ‘AEW: ROH’ work in a similar method.
Or why not turn it into a women’s show? I’ve long advocated for that.
But at the end of the day, we have the flagship show in Dynamite which is still delivering solid television on a weekly basis. We have Collision, which is fine on its own merits, but tends to be nothing to set aside an entire Saturday evening for. And we have Rampage, which is something to throw on if I personally have nothing else going on, and not in the mood to watch a movie.
And I’m your demographic. A middle/upper class 18-49 consumer. I’m more likely to be busy on a Friday night than a Saturday evening, and even then, Saturday night is questionable. But maybe that’s just me.
Bold Strategy, Cotton…
AEW is a brand that keeps evolving. And this is great for pro wrestling. You don’t want the sport to become stuck in the past, or rest on its laurels. If there’s an opportunity for Dynamite to go three hours I don’t see a negative to it.
Fans are already watching. What’s an extra hour?
More fans are likely going to tune into an extra hour of Dynamite (since they’re already watching) than Rampage at 10/9c on Friday nights. And the benefits of featuring more talent, with a better build to Collision, seems to outweigh any risks of fan exhaustion.
I see a Dynamite with more featured talent, more focus on the women’s division, and a cleaner product without having to worry about what to do for Rampage. And who knows? Maybe this is a moot point. Perhaps a TV deal is already in the works to move AEW Dynamite or Collision entirely to Max streaming much like Raw is with Netflix. In that case, it wouldn’t matter.
But in the current wrestling landscape, there’s a lot of great talent out there — and they deserve to be featured. Adding one extra hour of television, especially to AEW-only fans, would churn out more pros than cons.
(social media is the worst…)