A few days ago, Andrew Zarian of the Wrestling Observer alluded to the potential possibility that All Elite Wrestling (AEW) may soon add a third first-run pro wrestling program to their weekly rotation and fifth overall weekly wrestling show (sixth if you count Ring Of Honor). This would also include an upcoming reality TV series in AEW All Access which is set to debut on March 29th. Regardless of whether there is over-saturation for wrestling currently, the fact that Warner Bros. Discovery is apparently commissioning yet another weekly wrestling show speaks volumes for what they see in AEW.
This rumor comes at a crucial time for both AEW and Warner Bros. Discovery as AEW nears the end of its second television deal, set to expire at the end of this year. This is the year when they would be set to renew. As that is set to come up, we see more interest than before from Warner Bros. Discovery on the All Elite Wrestling brand.
Where Rampage Stands Today
As it stands, AEW’s weekly Rampage show is not performing as well as it should or used to. At its debut, peaking at over a million viewers for their ‘The First Dance’ special with CM Punk‘s own debut and for a time retaining 80% of Dynamite’s own rating from Wednesdays. However, that dip has gotten wider. A lot wider. Nowadays, Rampage merely retains a 45% of Dynamite’s audience. However, if these rumors are to be believed, that paints a very different picture over this negativity.
Over time, emphasis on Rampage has seemed to have fallen. Matches scheduled for the Friday show seemed more and more secondary and when ratings dipped to the point of massive concern for fans, what was done to mitigate them was often the bare minimum. During most weeks, it seems the program was more focused on the fun of booking for the hardcore wrestling fans rather than actually retaining an audience. While AEW’s modus operandi tends to be that mentality that they would rather grow their audience via that affinity to the truest of wrestling fans rather than catering to basic, casual fans, with Rampage, it tends to lean extremely hard on that side. The most memorable match the show has had in the past few months is Katsuyori Shibata vs Orange Cassidy, which really shows the extreme of that mentality.
Despite all that, AEW Rampage does at least retain a Top 50 cable programs spot on most weeks for Fridays. That’s pretty notable and may just be why Warner Bros. Discovery would both want a new show and retain Rampage in its current TV slot, when something doesn’t preempt it, of course. This may be their answer to the criticism of Rampage’s time slot and them replying with “well, we want to keep its Friday success as well.” After all, the show can’t move earlier in the prime-time slot due to SmackDown. While it could move to 7pm, it’s been preempted to that time before, that’s not considered prime time. That affects ratings and ad rates even if it might be more convenient for the wrestling show.
The rumored time slot of this apparent new show is 6:05pm on Saturdays. As many wrestling analysts have pointed out, Tony Khan loves his wrestling history. If you love yours, you might be aware that no time slot is more historic than Saturdays at 6:05pm – the time slot of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and its 30 year run on Turner stations, particularly, W-TBS (now just TBS). Allegedly, the show’s name, given recent trademarks, may be AEW: Collision.
What Does Collision Mean For Rampage And AEW In General?
That may paint a more negative picture for Rampage. The most likely scenario is that Rampage becomes AEW’s #3 program. We already mentioned the show’s typical line-up of matches catering far more to hardcore wrestling fans than Dynamite does, almost bordering on filler. Given how much this new show has to impress and having what is supposed to be a far more accessible time slot, not to mention a far more historic one, AEW has to treat it as a major show. The true follow up to Dynamite. For the sake of comparison to WWE, Dynamite would be Raw, Collision would be SmackDown and Rampage would be Heat – specifically in the late 1990s.
But this would undoubtedly affect the taping schedule. As mentioned, AEW already has four other shows. Their taping schedule is already so crammed, Dark tends to be taped in a Universal Studios studio as opposed to on the road. Would AEW really tape three weekly prime-time TV wrestling shows in one night? That does not sound very ideal.
Given AEW recently signed Jeff Jarrett not just as a performer, but also as someone to aid in the live events department, we have to imagine we will start to see more events from AEW. We already have house shows to come. Would AEW also expand to two TV taping dates per week? Maybe even three? Time will tell, but one night to tape all of this TV does not sound at all optimal. So lets see. All in all, if you were hoping for Rampage to change to be more in line with Dynamite, you may be out of luck. Because it seems far more likely that, instead, another program will come in to do that whilst Rampage continues on in its current form.
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 TBS and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube. AEW Rampage airs on TNT at 10 PM EST every Friday night.