Turner’s return to the world of professional wrestling won’t be a short one. On Wednesday, TNT and AEW announced that they had agreed to an extension of their current TV deal through 2023.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) January 15, 2020
Critically, the announcement also notes the “launch of another night of AEW action,” though specifics of that new program have yet to be outlined.
News of Turner’s initial interest in AEW broke last April. Weeks before AEW’s premiere, WWE opted to move NXT to Wednesday nights, setting up a head to head ratings battle with AEW Dynamite. That premiere episode of AEW topped WWE in viewership for the evening, and while Dynamite has yet to hit those heights on a regular basis, it does routinely beat NXT, which airs on USA.
While details of this second show have yet to be revealed, it’s reasonable to believe that the show will also be going head to head. The reason for that is because TNT airs live NBA games on both Tuesday and Thursday nights in the fall and winter, and WWE’s other live programming airs on Monday (Raw on USA) and Friday (Smackdown on Fox) nights. Turner’s not moving away from the NBA for AEW, and airing more content either before or after the NBA games would be counterproductive. Weekend evening content is also a possibility, but in the fall, you run the risk of AEW getting buzzsawed by the NFL and college football.
Who would have imagined that in 2020, 19 years after the cancellation of WCW Monday Nitro and the end of legitimate national competition for WWE, we’d possibly be getting a second edition of the Monday Night Wars, or the first edition of the Friday Night Wars?