All Elite Wrestling's existence since its January 2019 launch, for better and worse, has been defined more by numbers than by the actual product offered by those three letters.
The company that has proven gifted at writing and plotting dense stories unlike anything in North America outside of NXT's very best efforts has instead been largely defined by a weekly ratings tweet from either Bryan Alvarez or John Pollock that determines if the angles and arcs were worth the effort. It's been this way since Dynamite's debut edition. Before then, in fact.
We now know that ALL IN was effectively a backdoor pilot presided over by billionaire backer Tony Khan rather than a celebration of independent wrestling spirit, but the premise was electrified by a bet with Dave Meltzer to draw 10,000 people. Those five figures felt like they needed a sequel, but Khan offered ten and the chance to form an entire company.
WWE's attempt to cut this off at the pass failed. Moving NXT to Wednesdays to go head-to-head with Dynamite was all about reducing perceptions and siphoning viewers. A fairly consistent pattern of wins for the TNT show has left a USA Network move for the black-and-gold brand looking more and more like a dangerous gamble. And even when they win a week, the demographics position NXT as show for the 50+ in contrast to the coveted 18-40 market dominated by the opposition.
Don't be blinded by what sounds like business talk - the discussion of the demos really does matter and should impact creatively. Demos drive advertisers, advertisers drive networks, networks pay for shows, just as TNT did for Dynamite in January 2020. But has this been the wrong age statistic to focus on all along?