AEW President, CEO, General Manager & Head Of Creative Tony Khan took to Twitter this evening and referenced previous comments made by WWE Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Triple H when calling on fans to watch tonight’s Grand Slam edition of AEW Rampage on TNT.
You may remember a September 2019 interview Triple H did with Brian Fritz of Sporting News to promote WWE Premiere Week on the USA Network and FOX. At one point he addressed talk of a “Wednesday Night War” between WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite. He reiterated previous comments on how NXT had been on Wednesdays, and touted the ratings for the previous episode. Triple H also said it didn’t matter if AEW had a show on the same night as NXT as he’s not concerned with them, especially with the fact that they’ve held just a handful of shows. He did say the AEW shows had “been great” but were “one-off shows” and used a “marathon, not a sprint” line that has been referenced by critics since then. He said the following in that September 2019 interview:
“It’s a funny thing. I don’t hear anybody going the Tuesday night sitcom wars are off the chart. It’s just a genre of entertainment in a way and to say there’s this war, first of all, for me, it comes down to putting on the best show and I’ve been saying this over and over. Since day one, we’ve been on Wednesdays on the network. Since day one, I have thought about trying to make each show better than the one before, trying to raise talent to another level, trying to make this product the best product it can be while embracing its difference from RAW and SmackDown and everything else that’s out there. We have the opportunity five years, in or whatever it is, to stay in our time slot, go to the No. 1 cable channel on television and expand it so there’s more opportunity for everybody, but the goal is the same. It doesn’t matter to me if there’s another show on that night. It doesn’t matter to me if there’s somebody else in the space. I’m not concerned with that, especially not yet given the fact that so far, they’ve held four, five shows. And they’ve been great. But they’re one-off shows. Fifty-two weeks a year, two hours live every week is a different animal. Totally different animal. So, until that’s started happening and happened for a while, because an immediate splash … People have asked me right now, we had tremendous success last week (the Wednesday, Sept. 18 edition) with the rating for NXT, over a million people watching. The rating was great. A 200 percent increase in the 18-34 demo. On every level. I’m happy with that, but to me, this is a marathon. It’s not a sprint.”
“When we got this opportunity on USA, it was an opportunity to stand at the starting line of a marathon. I’m interested in the long haul. I’m interested in what this company has done for 50 years, with that they’ve done for 30 (years) with RAW, what they’ve done for 20 (years) with SmackDown which is what this company does better than anybody else on the planet: week in, week out, live sports entertainment and doing what we do. And it doesn’t matter what’s out there. There’s competition that we’ve dealt with for years. You can look back and say a brief period with WCW, but the competition we’ve dealt with for years is the NFL, is Major League Baseball. It’s large scale sporting events. It’s political debates. It’s everything that is out there and that’s what we deal with. So, my goal is to put on the best show possible every single week and we’ll see what the future brings because right now, it’s just a bunch of speculation over two-week programming that hasn’t even started yet and there’s no track record of success long-term of a two-hour, weekly live event in any way, shape, or form.”
In an update, Khan referenced Triple H’s comments when hyping tonight’s two-hour Grand Slam edition of AEW Rampage on TNT, and touted how AEW Dynamite has been the #1 show on Wednesday nights for 5 weeks in a row after this week’s Grand Slam edition of Dynamite.
Khan wrote, “Thank you for making #AEWDynamite the #1 show on cable for the past 5 Wednesdays! #AEWRampage Grand Slam is on TNT TONIGHT! It’s an incredible card Tonight! It’s our most star-studded 2 hour tv ever with @CMPunk’s return to tv wrestling & so many Big stars in Big matches TONIGHT!
“<2 years ago, our competitors said this is a marathon, not a sprint. They were right. They’ve also had a head start of >40 years & in <2 years we’ve made up more ground from scratch than anyone in wrestling history. Let’s FN GO TONIGHT. Let’s make #AEWRampage #1 on cable TONIGHT!" Be sure to join us tonight at 10pm ET for live coverage of the Grand Slam edition of Rampage, which was taped earlier this week from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. You can click here for full spoilers.
Below are Khan’s full tweets, along with the line-up for tonight’s Rampage:
* CM Punk vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
* Adam Cole and The Young Bucks vs. Jurassic Express and Impact World Champion Christian Cage
* Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky vs. Chris Jericho and Jake Hager
* AEW World Tag Team Champions The Lucha Bros, Santana and Ortiz vs. Private Party, The Butcher and The Blade
* Penelope Ford vs. Anna Jay
* Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki in a Lights Out match
* Appearances by AEW TNT Champion Miro, Sammy Guevara, Fuego Del Sol, The Bunny, Tay Conti and more
<2 years ago, our competitors said this is a marathon, not a sprint. They were right. They’ve also had a head start of >40 years & in <2 years we’ve made up more ground from scratch than anyone in wrestling history. Let’s FN GO TONIGHT. Let’s make #AEWRampage #1 on cable TONIGHT! https://t.co/JRzlBkiZce
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) September 24, 2021