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All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is on a collision course with its rival World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as the company gets set for a weekend of anticipated shows 'Rampage' and 'Dynamite.' AEW founder, co-owner, president, and CEO Tony Khan joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the evolution of the pro-wrestling industry and what it feels like to go head to head with WWE's Friday Night SmackDown.
"I was surprised when I found out we had head to head competition tonight because it's kind of a first. We rise to these challenges and we have the best wrestlers in the world and the best wrestling in the world."
AEW's flagship show, "Dynamite," on TNT, has delivered its best ratings since launching in October of 2019. In August and September, the show ranked as the #1 cable program on Wednesdays in the 18-49 age demographic for six weeks in a row. As part of an extended partnership with WarnerMedia, AEW launched a second show in August 2021, Rampage.
Since its August 13 debut, "AEW: Rampage" has also ranked as one of the top cable programs on Friday night. For the first time ever, Rampage will coincide with WWE flagship Friday show, Smackdown.
On September 22, AEW made history when it held its first show in New York City at Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens AEW Grand Slam. The show was not only a commercial success with 20,000 fans filing in, but it was seen as a big step up for the company to hold a show in what has traditionally been "WWE territory."
Khan tells Yahoo Finance that the brand AEW has cultivated is not just an evolution of the wrestling industry but also a revolution.
"This is a revolution for the fans that happens to be the name of our Q1 pay-per-view event, which has been very successful for us. And we built this big audience on TV and on pay-per-view and have really evolved the business model."
Khan says that he tries not to oversaturate the pay-per-view world with too many shows and instead holds fewer shows but are are large in scale. The company boasts a roster filled with well-known, established names such as CM Punk, Chris Jerico, Sting, Kenny Omega, and Jon Moxley. The AEW roster also features some of the most popular up-and-coming talents in the industry: Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy, and Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF).
Khan said he is also mindful of not over-saturating his talent as well. He says that there is plenty of room for all of AEW's talent to shine.
"He [CM PUNK] is quite possibly the biggest name in all of professional wrestling, and it's been a huge attraction for us … Darby Allin is a young, exciting wrestler," Khan said. "So it's really a great time for us."
"AEW: Rampage" will emanate from Miami on October 15 at 10 p.m. EST on TNT, and "AEW Dynamite" will air on Saturday, October 16 starting at 8:00 p.m. EST on TNT.