In 2021, it seems that AEW is almost at the point to release a streaming service.
For wrestling promotions, streaming services are a key way to entice fans into their body of work. Seven-day free trials allow for fans to get brief snippets of what the promotion offers and, most importantly, who the top stars of the promotion are.
AEW is in a unique position as they are a relatively new company. The promotion has only been around for roughly two years and hasn’t amassed the vast content libraries that promotions like New Japan, WWE, and even IMPACT Wrestling have. Instead, internationally AEW uses the AEW Plus system on the FITE TV website. While this is a terrific way for AEW fans to get their fix, Tony Khan must be looking to the future by now.
An AEW streaming service must be somewhere in the pipeline, but how wil it that look? Can All Elite Wrestling add anything new to this aspect of the business. Here are some of the ways AEW can implement a killer streaming service in the near future.
What Could we See on an AEW Streaming Service?
A Deep Content Library
While AEW doesn’t have the likes of WCW, Evolve and NXT under its umberella…it does still have some IP under its wing. The flagship show AEW: Dynamite has been on the air since October 2019. That’s almost two full years of weekly programming that can be placed straight onto the service. Not only that, but AEW: Dark and AEW Dark: Elevation could also find their way onto the platform.
While AEW: Rampage is still in its infancy, that is another show that could easily be placed onto the service. That right there is four key pieces of content that could make up a significant amount of the content library. Not to mention all of the past Pay-Per-Views. This seems like a great foundation for a streaming service. However, like all other services, this will live or die based on its original programming.
AEW Documentary Series
Perhaps the most fascinating prospect of AEW having this platform is the documentaries that we could see from the promotion. Tony Khan and the creative team have already shown that they are capable of creating enticing appetisers with the Road To…series. However, if AEW really fleshed out some of their performers and fully broke kayfabe, they could have some great products on their hands.
Imagine a documentary about the origins of AEW. One about their first Double Or Nothing show. Or, maybe even showcase the origins of the idea starting all the way back at All In. Even biographical pieces on current stars like Jungle Boy or MJF could make for great insight into the performer’s lives.
The elephant in the room is the likes of Sting, Paul Wight and Chris Jericho. Original feature-length documentaries on these icons could make for an honest, unfiltered portrayal. Something that is represented too well in WWE. If AEW really wanted to, they could make documentaries of the same calibre as Dark Side Of The Ring.
AEW’s Celebrity Culture
AEW has shown in recent months that they’re unafraid to bring in outside celebrities to either pop a rating. Or, to make for an interesting angle. Most notably, Shaquille O’Neil. It is well known that Shaq has wanted to make waves in the wrestling industry. With the TNT connection already there, maybe AEW could bring Shaq in for an original show. Whether that be some sort of training program or an ESPN-style analytical show is up in the air. That being said, Shaq could be a great asset for AEW’s service.
Another crossover star AEW could utilize is Dan Lambert, the founder of American Top Team. American Top Team is a group who have had several stars compete in the biggest MMA promotions in the world. With the huge popularity of MMA, AEW would be foolish to ignore this connection. They should instead bridge the gap between the two industries. Having a think-piece documentary that compares both professional wrestling and MMA, hosted by Lambert is a mouth-watering prospect.
Wrestling With Reality
While reality shows aren’t for everyone, they have a huge outreach to mainstream audiences. The success of Total Divas, Total Bellas, and Miz and Mrs show that there is an appetite for this form of content. If AEW were to expand to a streaming service, they should implement some form of reality show content. Cody Rhodes is already venturing out into these waters with his show Rhodes To The Top, however AEW can continue to expand this concept.
AEW needs to look at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). This is a reality-based UFC program that heavily focuses on the training, the relationship between the fighters, and a tournament that allows for one star to gain a contract with the company. AEW should 100% go this route! While it may get shot down by the likes of Jim Cornette for “exposing the business” it would make for a fascinating watch.
Having 12 indie wrestlers all come into a studio, train, and try and put together the best matches they can before being eliminated could be exactly what the industry needs. This could be a great show to place on AEW’s service as it would gain a more mainstream audience than a traditional wrestling show like AEW Dark. This could be a gamechanger for the promotion.
The Forbidden Door Swings Open
One of the best aspects of AEW’s current product is the affiliation with different companies. Stars such as The Good Brothers, Kenta and Yugi Nagata have all graced Dynamite. Surely cross promotional events are coming in the near future?
While AEW might not gobble up the tape libraries of Impact Wrestling and New Japan, that doesn’t mean the companies couldn’t collaborate on unique network events. The ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard at Maddison Square Garden was a roaring success in terms of ticket sales, so AEW would be wise to capitalise on these working relationships.
With each promotion having a huge amount of talent under their wings, there are some mouth-watering matchups. Jon Moxley Vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Darby Allin Vs. Kota Ibushi and maybe even another instalment of the Omega/Okada saga. AEW would be foolish not to at least consider this concept, let’s be honest…This has already crossed Tony Khan’s mind!
AEW Has More Content Than You Realise
With AEW Games as well as the episodic television product, All Elite Wrestling has a treasure trove of content. Whether fans want to dive back into old Dynamite archives or maybe they’re looking for an update on the AEW Console game, all of this could be accessible via a streaming service. Maybe Tony Khan is holding back on fully diving into the world of streaming, but now is as good a time as any to start dipping his toes.
More from LWOS Pro Wrestling
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube.