It’s finally here. All Elite Wrestling’s weekly show, Dynamite, will premiere Wednesday night on TNT at 8 p.m. EST. Although he’s been dreaming of this day for a while, Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes admitted he’s had some sleepless nights as of late.
“I say that it’s the most important day of wrestling in my lifetime, but it’s really an important night for everyone,” Rhodes said on a media conference call.
He shared what his old friend Randy Orton once taught him about being nervous: be the red light guy. “He told me that when the red light is on, you can do just about anything. That’s who I want to be tomorrow for this show and that’s who I have to be.”
There’s been talk about what the expectations are like in terms of Dynamite’s ratings, which some may use those to determine its success. Rhodes on the other hand, does not. “When you come back through the ‘go’ position, and you’ve had an absolute barnburner of a match, where the crowd was up and down and they took that ride with you, that’s when you’ll know [if your successful],” he explained.
The audience may be an indicator of the ratings the brand will see the next day, but Rhodes also hopes that AEW will bring back what he calls the “returners,” the fans that seemed to drift away after World Championship Wrestling was shuttered. “We think this is a product that will appeal to the several million people that went away around 2001 and are now coming back to watch wrestling.”
There’s no question the talent that AEW has showcased at its recent one-off shows, like Double or Nothing and All Out, has been incredible. However, we’ve only seen a small portion of what’s to come during Wednesday Night Dynamite.
“There’s a lot of talent that we haven’t introduced yet. You will see [familiar faces from the previous shows] and meet some new ones,” he teased. Rhodes revealed that AEW’s roster is currently at 85 % capacity and that they are still looking for some more grapplers.
There has also been some rumours that disgruntled WWE talent would be able to join AEW at the drop of a hat. That, Rhodes said, is a complete misconception. “We would be doing a disservice to the crew we have now. It’s important that we introduce our new talent and do them justice otherwise, I find myself in the position I was in WWE,” he continued, “where I wasn’t being presented and nostalgia was being played instead.”
Social media has also been the home of some criticism that AEW is facing, specifically about the inclusiveness of their roster. Rhodes answered those critiques and explained that they would like AEW to reflect what America and the world actually looks like.
“I feel like we are doing a good job [of being inclusive] but that job is never done.” He elaborated, saying his wife and Chief Branding Officer, Brandi Rhodes, has done an amazing job at scouting diverse superstars and will continue to do so. “I think African American representation on our brand is huge and there are many men and women that I would love to be a part of Dynamite.”
There are others who would like to be included in Wednesday Night Dynamite: international fans. For the moment, it will be hard to watch the weekly programming, expect if you stream it on Bleacher Report live. But even at that, some of the European audience has been blocked from those services.
Canadian fans, however, may be in luck. PWInsider.com and The Wrestling Observer reported on Monday that TSN will be broadcasting the show every Wednesday. Rhodes doesn’t want fans to think they are being left out. “One of the things about having a major cable carrier cover this company, is that the international deals are very hard to navigate. We don’t have a network subscription service just yet so we’re working with the tools we have.”
For those who will be able to watch the series premiere, Rhodes compared the Dynamite content to be like a buffet you would visit on vacation. “I was once told that you need to offer fans a little bit of the high-fought fueled bell-to-bell unbelievable action. There’s no wrong way to do what we do and the only thing that matters is the fan’s appreciation… if they liked it.”
Catch the first episode of AEW’s Dynamite Wednesday, October 2, on TNT at 8 p.m EST.