Thursday, July 7, 2022

AEW boss Tony Khan fires direct warning shot at WWE over SmackDown head-to-head battle

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AEW boss Tony Khan
TK wasn’t holding back (Picture: AEW)

AEW boss Tony Khan isn’t taking any prisoners as he goes head to head with WWE’s flagship show next week.

The All Elite Wrestling mastermind hasn’t shied away from Friday’s (October 15) ratings battle with WWE SmackDown set to run for two and a half hours, meaning it’ll be competing directly with the first half of Rampage.

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Tackling the issue head on, Khan tweeted: ‘I saw you’re doing a half hour head-to-head with us. I can’t wait to finally beat your main show head-to-head.

‘It’s been a long time coming. See you next Friday for #AEWRampage on @AEWonTNT!’

For much of its run, AEW Dynamite – the company’s premiere show – was topping WWE’s NXT developmental brand in what many fans dubbed the Wednesday Night Wars.

The company’s have seldom gone head to head outside of those weekly battles before NXT’s move to Tuesdays, and on paper, SmackDown – WWE’s most popular show – taking on AEW’s new late-night show Rampage seems like a mismatch.

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However, SmackDown will be bumped to FS1 next week due to a scheduling conflict, which is clearly enough for Khan to think he’s in with a shot.

For comparison, next Friday WWE’s blue brand is already advertising the return of Brock Lesnar, as well as a hugely anticipated main event pitting Sasha Banks against Women’s Champion Becky Lynch.

The event is the go-home show for Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia, the it seem the company is pulling out the big guns, with AEW currently advertising CM Punk versus Matt Sydal, Ruby Soho versus The Bunny, and Inner Circle versus Men of the Year and Junior dos Santos.

In December 2020, SmackDown aired on FS1 and pulled in one million viewers.
This was around half of what the show was doing on Fox at the time, which is a much larger network with a wider reach.

For contrast, AEW Rampage has continued a trend of record low viewership six weeks in a row in its late timeslot, with 622,000 people tuning in last week, according to Westlenomics’ Brandon Thurston.

It’ll be fascinating to see what happens during the half an hour overlap next Friday.

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MORE : Ex-WWE star Bryan Danielson received ‘death threats’ as trolls targeted him and his baby boy over AEW move

MORE : WWE SmackDown results, grade: Edge attacks Seth Rollins and makes Hell In A Cell challenge

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