Remember those joke paid ads Tony Khan would have on IMPACT Wrestling to hype up AEW, where he played the role of a crazy wrestling promoter whose money and power has gone to their head?
Well dust off the douchebag sunglasses, because that gimmick just got called up to the main roster!
After practically two years of interviews not talking The Smack about WWE, opting to take the moral high ground to focus on making AEW the best it possibly can be, Tony Khan has finally cut a full-on shoot promo on how bad Raw is.
Speaking to Barstool Sports’ Robbie Fox, Khan talked about his feelings on SmackDown going long this Friday to cut into Rampage’s timeslot:
“They’re literally going to do a half hour head-to-head with us? That’s fine, ok. We’ll see what happens. I’m not saying for sure we’ll win, and maybe the odds are against us in some ways, but we’re going to do the better show. I know. If you don’t believe me, watch the go-home show they did last night, because it sucked.”
NXT was always on the backfoot, reacting to what AEW was doing. But this is the main roster, bucko, and Vince has struck first – extending this Friday’s SmackDown by 30 minutes and making it commercial free. This has prompted AEW to do their first overtly counterprogramming move, something they’ve boasted not to have done until now, with Rampage putting an hour long pre-show on YouTube that will go head to head with the second hour of SmackDown – featuring Bobby Fish vs Lee Moriarty, and the dream match of Bryan Danielson vs Minoru Suzuki.
And if that wasn’t enough, it looks like Khan has played even more mind games with the addition of Tay Conti vs Santana Garrett to the pre-show too. When Conti vs Garrett happened in NXT on November 6, 2019, it was the first time NXT beat AEW in a single quarter-hour in the ratings.
Nice one, Tony. I’m sure WWE is shaking in their wrestling boots at the latest YouTube edition of AEW Dark Elevation Rampage. How could an online house show possibly even tickle WWE’s A-show?
By using one of the oldest tricks in Vince’s book against him: inflated audience figures.
SmackDown is very much expected to beat Rampage in the TV ratings this Friday, even with it being bumped to FS1. SmackDown has far more brand recongition, and Rampage’s viewership has fallen dramatically since they ran out of CM Punk returns.
There have even been accusations (and that’s all they are for now – accusations), that WWE wants to push its ratings superiority complex so much that they’re purchasing the early Friday night ratings to leak them to news websites in an attempt to make Rampage look bad.
Whether that part is true or not, Rampage can’t beat SmackDown in TV ratings… so why not beat them elsewhere?
By broadcasting on YouTube, which accumulates views from all around the world, not just the United States, the Rampage pre-show could feasibly pull in between 1-2 million viewers. SmackDown is expected to hover around 1 million viewers on FS1.
In the War of Perception – and isn’t that what wrestling is, a war based on perception? – it’s an AEW victory.
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