Tony Khan founded All Elite Wrestling in 2019. Even though the promotion is considered a rival to WWE, the initial ratings of the show saw decline. Tony addressed the situation in a recent interview.
Khan joined Freddie Prinze Jr. on this week’s Wrestling with Freddie podcast from iHeart Media’s My Cultra Network, for part one of his appearances. He spoke about early days of AEW.
“The thing I probably wasn’t prepared for at first, the first several months, was getting my hands around doing everything,” Tony Khan said. “I don’t think anyone ever expected me to get so organized.”
Tony then expressed his dissatisfaction with where AEW was, specifically in December 2019 and pointed out how far they have come since then. They are doing really great now.
“I was not hands-on about everything [at the beginning of AEW’s launch]. I was overseeing everything,” Tony explained. “But, it was probably more of a collaborative thing the first several months. And I just felt like, it wasn’t organized as I would have liked it to be. We had risen to such great heights and had such a great opportunity and it was all so close. At the end of 2019, we launched the show [Dynamite], had a huge debut, really good ratings, and now doing really great ratings these past few years.
“After the first two months or so, maybe even after the first six-seven weeks, we started to see a dip in, I think it must have been around late November into December, and it continued through December and it was a trend. And I didn’t like the way the ratings were going, and clearly, the way the ratings were going was reflecting that the fans didn’t like the direction we were going. So I made a lot of changes going into 2020 that I felt really good about in terms of being more organized, and you know, doing all the shows by hand.”
Khan also talked about Wednesday Night Wars with NXT, which has been a major turning point for for AEW. The ratings war lasted from October 2, 2019 to April 7, 2021, with the Tony Khan’s promotion eventually emerging victorious.
“We only lost the demo once,” Khan said.” I think we were head-to-head with NXT for like 76 weeks, and we went 75-1 in the demo. And the 1 was the one that reset me. We had been losing the overall number, which was not the network cared as much, you know, the lead number that was on the report they’d talk to us about, like the actual scoreline.
“Our number was 18-49 that they focused on. But also, you know, looking at the total viewers. In December 2019, we were losing the total viewers but we were still holding onto the demo. And I quit being in denial when we dropped the demo.”
AEW airs their flagship program Dynamite every Wednesday on TBS network at 8pm Eastern Time. Click here to check the full updated card of tonight’s show.
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