The wrestling purist inside of me will struggle to get this column out. I’ve long been jaded with the WWE product for nearly two decades. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said out loud “Raw is too damn long!”
Yet here I am advocating for Dynamite to go three hours…
It’s not out of a selfish need to see more of my wrestling product of choice. To be honest, between Stardom, NJPW, Impact, and even Mission Pro Wrestling, there’s more enough men and women playfighting in tights to go around.
But when you closely inspect what problems do exist in AEW (no show is perfect), just about every single one would be solved by simply adding one more hour to Dynamite.
Let’s get into it.
Is This Option Even Available?
Short answer: Yes.
In fact, Tony Khan was offered this third timeslot well over a year ago. He turned it down, possibly for the same reasons I was hesitant to it. He instead favored Rampage, which does well for it’s timeslot, but then again, it’s a crappy timeslot no matter what. I’m a self-proclaimed God Damn AEW mark, and I don’t even catch Rampage half the time.
I would imagine that WarnerMedia would allow Khan to keep Rampage where it is PLUS add a third hour to Dynamite.
Why? Because Wipeout sucks.
Airing after Dynamite, it seems as if many change the channel when Wipeout opens. In fact, Wipeout didn’t even make the top 150 cable network shows for last Wednesday night. More people tuned in for Married at First Sight (Lifetime) at MIDNIGHT, than Wipeout on TBS.
Furthermore, The Go Big Show, (a similar show to Wipeout) failed to make the top 50 for their usual Thursday night spot, even for their season finale (finishing 64th overall).
You can easily make a case that adding a third hour will justify the cost with extra ad revenue that it would generate.
So I would imagine that yes, this third hour is still on the table.
A ‘Sinking’ Roster
AEW’s roster isn’t “inflated” or “too big” when you take a look at it from afar. Give or take 100 wrestlers, this pales in comparison to WWE’s 200+ array of talent. However, this is spread across three brands.
Brand-splits are stupid and dumb. You don’t just have two sets of world champions (men’s/women’s tag team). That’s as illogical as the existence of the Intercontinental Championship (which by definition means the same thing as WORLD).
I will never advocate for a brand-split for AEW.
However, an additional third hour would solve a lot what of ails the roster. Take The Bunny, for instance. Her Owen Hart Tournament qualifying match on Wednesday night will be up against a new signing.
Athena? Nixon Newell? Toni Storm? Maki Itoh? Awesome, I’m here for it. But what about The Bunny? She’s a veteran of the industry, has a unique character, and should be a regular in the women’s division. Yet, she will play second-fiddle for whoever debuts.
A lot of talent simply gets left off of Dynamite because there’s too many really good wrestlers on this roster. It’s not called All Elite Wrestling for nothing.
With a third hour, we could see more of what AEW has to offer. The Bunny, Ruby Soho, Jay Lethal, wherever the hell Brian Cage is — we have so much talent sitting idle.
Even Arn Anderson, a staunch supporter of Tony Khan had this to say recently in an interview with AdFreeShows:
“Dante Martin is a very special kid. He had springs not like nobody else in the business. A short time back, he had two, three, four really good weeks and now they disappear down to Dark. It’s a dilemma we have, we will figure it out.”
The truth is the truth.
The Missing Titles
With a third hour, some love can finally be given to two missing aspects of AEW’s title picture. No, you don’t want to create titles hand-over-fist to reduce their prestige, but two that have yet to be created stand out to me as no-brainers:
-AEW Women’s Tag Team Championships
-AEW Trios Championships
What can a third hour do? Do the fantasy booking math along with me:
Anna Jay & Tay Conti vs. The Bunny & Penelope Ford vs. Diamante & Kiera Hogan for the Women’s Tag Team Championships? Sign me up.
Eddie Kingston & Proud & Powerful vs. 2.0 and Daniel Garcia for the AEW Trios Championships? Sign me up.
Whether it’s an extra match for the TNT or TBS Championships, or more time given to the upcoming Owen Hart Tournament — a third hour highlights even more prestigious matchups. AEW has told some of the best stories over the last few years in wresting — but the focus is always on the wrestling itself. Adding some new titles into the mix fits well into a third hour.
The Women’s Division Problem
Last week’s segment with Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose was a bit disjointed and “meh”. They both deserved better.
Adding a third hour also gives opportunity to give more time to build the women’s division that feels often rushed through on weekly Dynamites. Most folks don’t really know why Red Velvet and Leyla Hirsch have had their recent beef unless they’ve been watching Dark. While over 200k do on average per week, that’s only a small chunk of the weekly viewing audience.
We never saw any reaction or fallout from the former women’s champion with Britt Baker, either. It would have been nice to have that on the show. In addition, there are a few talents that quite honestly should be in featured, higher quality stories than where they currently sit.
This includes Jamie Hayter, Kris Statlander, The Bunny, and Abadon. In addition, it seems that names like Ruby Soho, Hikaru Shida, Serena Deeb, and Mercedes Martinez have slowly faded into obscurity.
A third hour gives these ladies a fighting chance.
Replacing Dark: Elevation
With a third hour, you really wouldn’t need two of these, would you?
Having a show on YouTube for young talent to practice getting themselves over against ‘jobbers’ is important. I think that there is definitely a place for AEW Dark, and it should remain.
But let’s ask a simple question:
What would make more money, and what would you rather have? A third hour of Dynamite, or Dark: Elevation?
With TK’s Ring of Honor on the horizon, a chunk of talent used on Elevation would likely be shifted to the new version of the promotion anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if they filmed it all at Universal Studios and use the same timeslot as is. If over 200k are watching Ring of Honor per week (until they can cement a TV deal, or renew with Sinclair) then that’s not a bad thing.
Again, it’s sort of a no-brainer.
Check out this lineup: (times are central)
-Wednesday Nights: AEW Dynamite | 7-10
-Friday Nights: AEW Rampage | 9-10
-Monday Nights: AEW Dark | 6-8
-Tuesday Nights: Ring of Honor | 7-9
Is this not a wonderful sight?
With more money to be made, and more talent to be given the proper exposure, this should be TK’s next big move. I would imagine that Ring of Honor could land on a possible AEW HBO Max streaming service, but this is still mostly speculation at this point until announced.
The bottom line is this: The roster is too big for what little time they have, and anything worth doing is worth doing right. AEW needs to jump to three hours. It’s best for the fans, it’s best for AEW, and quite frankly, it’s best for business.