AEW Will Always Be #2 In Wrestling, Unless...

Tony Khan Warner Bros. Discovery
AEW/Warner Bros. Discovery

All Elite Wrestling has creatively delighted its core base over and over again since 2019.

Countless instantly iconic angles, consistently hot crowds, comebacks and returns that will be talked about for generations, and every single style of pro wrestling somewhere or other on the card. It is imperfect, but it was deemed viable due to what WWE couldn't offer, and it has satisfied that brief hundreds of times over.

But what of that data that defined the opposition's current boom?

The weekly numbers tweet from Brandon Thurston/Showbuzz Daily et al hasn't been of greater interest since WWE lined NXT up as Wednesday alternative to their nascent opposition. Of course, this itself is an example of how the goalposts are constantly moved for AEW - back then it was about beating NXT, then when that war was won it was about converting 1.x million into 2, then following a drop about how to get back over the million, and so on.

The boring bit is that Warner Brothers Discovery are exceptionally happy with Dynamite's performance by all accounts, that AEW will get an enormous raise in rights fees when the company next negotiates, and that the odd dodgy-looking demo disguises the fact that they're still out-ranking almost everything else on cable on Wednesdays.

AEW's house is seemingly safe. Safe from extraneous factors doing away with countless other shows and concepts, and as safe from cord cutting as it is the streaming bubble bursting. Wrestling is yet again slipping through cracks as it always does, and the second-most viewed version of it is doing it too.

And there it is.

Second is better than literally every single other competitor anywhere in the world, apart from one. What do they do about that?


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Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back over 30 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz", Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 50,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett