Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is getting even further into business with All-Elite Wrestling. WBD currently airs the two-hour AEW Dynamite Wednesdays on TBS (it started on TNT, but moved to TBS in January 2022) and the one-hour AEW Rampage Fridays on TNT. And they officially announced at their company-wide upfronts presentation to advertisers Wednesday that they will in fact launch another two-hour show on TNT on Saturday nights, with AEW: Collision starting there in June:
As announced at the Warner Bros. Discovery 2023 Upfront presentation today, TNT will launch a second night of professional wrestling with a new 2-hour series, #AEWCollision, starting on Saturday, June 17th LIVE at 8pm ET/7pm CT on @tntdrama!
To read the full press release:… pic.twitter.com/roOipqNDD6
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 17, 2023
Here’s more on that from that release:
TNT launches a second night of professional wrestling with a new tentpole series, “AEW: Collision” on Saturday, June 17, it was announced today by Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group, Warner Bros. Discovery, during the company’s 2023 Upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This live, two-hour, in-ring show will air every Saturday night from 8-10 p.m. ET and feature more wrestlers, more stories and more action to super-serve fans. “AEW: Collision” will feature headliners including Thunder Rosa, Miro, Samoa Joe, Powerhouse Hobbs and Andrade El Idolo.
…“We’re doubling-down on wrestling with ‘AEW: Collision,’ which gives fans two more hours every week,” said Jason Sarlanis, President, Turner Networks, ID and HLN, linear & streaming. “AEW’s roster of talent has expanded so quickly that we felt it needed another night to bring our audience the epic rivalries, unforgettable matches and stars they love to watch. Adding ‘Collision’ to our programming mix on TNT will allow us to satisfy the massive demand we’ve felt from our hardcore fanbase and be the ultimate complement to ‘AEW: Dynamite’ on TBS.”
“With the addition of ‘AEW: Collision’ on TNT, I’m extremely proud that a Turner network will be the home of Saturday night wrestling for the first time in more than two decades,” said Tony Khan, CEO, GM and Head of Creative of AEW. “The debut of ‘Collision’ is significant across numerous sectors including television, wrestling, entertainment and sports, and reinforces AEW as the bold property we envisioned when we launched in 2019. ‘Collision’ will deliver live every Saturday night more of what fans and viewers tell us they want – athleticism, big personalities, exciting storylines and authentic wrestling action, all of which have become synonymous with AEW.”
As Mike Johnson notes at PWInsider, this announcement of the Saturday show (which had been expected for some time) did not come with the announcement of a new overall AEW-WBD deal, which there had been plenty of discussion of in recent weeks. It also did not include mention of former AEW champion CM Punk, who many had discussed as likely to return to the company and headline the first Collision show (anticipated to take place Saturday, June 17, at the United Center, in his hometown of Chicago and the place where he made his AEW debut), and did not spell out the location of that first show. Johnson writes that the talk around Punk’s return was strong as recently as this weekend, so this is somewhat surprising to see:
Notably absent from the artwork and all mentions in the press release is former AEW Champion CM Punk, who had been long expected to be announced as returning at the first-ever Collision taping in Chicago, IL at the United Center. One would think that Punk not being center stage as part of the announcement means there’s a hurdle the two sides have yet to cross. The belief among AEW sources as late as over the weekend was that Punk was back “in” and would be one of the main forces in front of and behind the scenes for the new series. Based on the announcement today, It appears that (at least as of this moment) that is not the case. More as we confirm it.
AEW also did not (as of this writing) announce the location of the first Collision taping, which as noted above, has been expected to be Chicago’s United Center in order to tie Punk’s return into his AEW debut, which took place at that same venue. With one month to go before the taping, AEW will need to announce a location and put tickets on sale fairly soon.
So there are still several important aspects of this situation to keep an eye on. But the existence, timeslot, and title of AEW: Collision is now official. And it will be interesting to see how the show does, and how it fits into the larger AEW-WBD relationship alongside Dynamite and Rampage (the latter of which is expected to shift to focus more on younger wrestlers after the recent end of AEW YouTube shows Dark and Dark: Elevation).