Wrestling news, rumors: AEW Dynamite extended by TNT, Elias signs new WWE contract
AEW's weekly show has secured a place on TNT through the next few years
AEW and its weekly Dynamite show on TNT have altered the pro wrestling landscape in significant ways. Dynamite led WWE to place NXT in a competing Wednesday night time slot on USA, with both shows giving wrestling fans four hours of outstanding wrestling every week. With both sides claiming victory at various points during the "Wednesday night wars," AEW's performance has been strong enough that TNT announced an extension with the promotion on Wednesday.
In a press release issued from WarnerMedia, it was announced the partnership has been extended through 2023. The release also touted that Dynamite has averaged "1.2M total viewers and 654K [age] 18-49 per episode in Live +7 Day viewing." According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the deal spans four years and is worth $175 million. TNT also has the option to extend the agreement through 2024.
Also announced was the creation of a second weekly AEW show for the network. While the scale or scope of the second TV offering was not made clear, early speculation is that AEW: Dark, which features matches recorded before and after the weekly Dynamite broadcasts, could be moved from its current spot as a YouTube show to a time slot on the network. Dark has featured some big matches, and top talent routinely appear on the program
A second weekly show would provide AEW the opportunity to accomplish more in building storylines without having to overstuff two-hour shows with story beats as well as the high-octane matches the AEW fanbase expects. That differentiates the brand from the WWE weekly offerings that have long dominated the American TV wrestling experience.
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More wrestling news, rumors
- As originally reported on "WWE Backstage" and subsequently confirmed by the company, Elias has signed a contract extension with WWE. Elias has since posted on Instagram that his extension was for three years. WWE has been signing a lot of talent to extensions in recent months, including New Day, Nikki Cross, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns and others.
- Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor is now official for NXT TakeOver: Portland on Sunday, Feb. 16. The news was announced via the NXT account on Twitter. It is the first match announced for the event and has been brewing since Balor delivered a kick to the head of Gargano in his stunning NXT heel turn.
- Mercedes Martinez was officially announced as a part of the new class at the WWE Performance Center after rumors began to surface she had indeed signed with the promotion. It was announced on "WWE Backstage" later on Tuesday that she will appear on tonight's episode of NXT as a participant in the battle royal to determine the next challenger for Rhea Ripley's NXT women's championship.
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