It appears wrestling fans may soon be seeing a sequel to the Monday Night Wars, as new wrestling company All Elite Wrestling has just secured a television deal with TNT. AEW and WarnerMedia announced on Wednesday that the series will be airing live programs on a weekly basis starting later this year, in addition to streaming on B/R Live and pay-per-view. This will be the first wrestling program to be shown on the TNT network since the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) aired its final episode of Monday Nitro on March 26, 2001, after World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chairman Vince McMahon bought out the company. Now, nearly two decades later, an all new wrestling program returns to the network to challenge WWE for prime-time TV ratings once again.
While WWE ultimately defeated WCW in the Monday Night Wars, things had previously looked much more grim. For 83 straight weeks, WCW had been pummeling WWE in the ratings by offering a more mature product compared to the cartoon-like storylines aired on WWE programming. This forced WWE to adapt by creating the "Attitude Era," aiming its creative content more towards adults with characters like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. When a bulk of WCW's fan favorite stars like Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit all abandoned the company for WWE, fans departed in droves, lowering WCW's stock and ultimately killing the company.
This actually won't be the first time an alternate wrestling company has attempted to compete with WWE on television. In 2010, rival organization Total Nonstop Action (TNA) had been airing weekly shows on Thursday nights on Spike TV. With the help of Hulk Hogan, TNA sought to then compete directly with WWE by airing its weekly Impact! show live on Monday night, going head-to-head with WWE's flagship show Raw. Unfortunately for the company, it never came close to the level of competition WCW had previously given WWE, and Spike TV soon moved the show back to Thursday nights. TNA would later be dropped by Spike TV, and the attempt to restart the Monday Night Wars was seen as a failed experiment.
However, many fans believe we might be seeing some different results with AEW. Many of the talent on its roster are beloved by wrestling fans and will certainly lead to many of them tuning in to check out the new company. This includes several familiar faces from WWE, including Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust (who's now going by Dustin Rhodes). Several indie darlings have been signed for the company as well, including Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, "Hangman" Page, Brandi Rhodes, and SoCal Uncensored. Perhaps the vibe of channeling WCW by airing on TNT will help bring in some viewership as well.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen if AEW will become formidable competition for WWE. Of course, there's no doubt that the McMahon family is currently sweating, given how close WCW came to putting them under in the '90s. Still, fans and workers can both benefit from having multiple options when it comes to wrestling companies, so hopefully things work out for the best for everyone. This information comes to us from The New York Post.