As we previously reported, All Elite Wrestling and WarnerMedia officially announced today that AEW will air live on TNT in prime time later this year. WarnerMedia will be providing exclusive multi-platform access for fans to watch AEW events, airing live weekly matches on TNT in prime time, as well as streaming them through WarnerMedia's B/R Live and on pay-per-view.
Cody Rhodes spoke to Variety about the big announcement and discussed his own ten-year run with WWE. Rhodes admitted that while he liked his time with WWE, he felt that "it wasn't wrestling." AEW has promised to focus on producing fast-paced, high-impact matches and have less less scripted and soapy drama. AEW stated that wrestlers will also be given more freedom to explore their characters and highlight their athletic abilities.
"[As] much as I say [WWE] was a wonderful job, it wasn't wrestling," Rhodes admitted. "That's something I've learned a lot about, the grittiness and the sports-centric element of the industry that doesn't exist really anywhere else currently. We have the opportunity to seize that."
WWE Co-President George Barrios was asked this week if WWE considered AEW to be competition. Barrios said that they did, just like they consider the NBA and Kung Fu novels to be competition, because they are all "fighting for people's time." Rhodes talked about AEW being a competitor to WWE, and said that it is best for both parties.
"Competition raises everybody's game," Rhodes said. "It will raise the wrestlers' game, the creative people's game, everybody. Everybody feels a sense of urgency when someone is competing with them."
"Competitive means being profitable," he continued. "It doesn't mean, 'We have to have this to beat the WWE.' Our job is not to worry about what WWE is doing, not their TV clearances, not whose in the main event, nothing. With a growing company there are a lot of growing pains. It's a mix of creative and athletics and a lot of different things. Our focus has to be us, period."
AEW also officially revealed that they will be presenting statistics by tracking each competitor's wins and losses, analyzing their moves, assessing damage to their opponents, and providing insights into their winning streaks.
"One thing we really strongly want to present is wins and losses mattering again in pro wrestling. That takes more than the W and the L column," Rhodes said. "We're talking about percentage of times someone loses to this particular maneuver, percentages against somebody of this height, a whole by-the-numbers approach that really intrigues me. It's not a cornerstone of AEW necessarily but it's a great peripheral element we're working on and that's going to be exclusive to us."
No official date has been announced regarding when the show will start airing on TNT. B/R Live will exclusively stream AEW Double Or Nothing on Saturday, May 25th, while the hour-long live pre-show special, The Buy-In, will stream on WarnerMedia and AEW's social channels.