AEW seems serious about getting more viewers than SmackDown this week, but Tony Khan has walked back what he said about competition.
AEW has added a Buy-In show to this Friday’s Rampage in response to WWE tacking an extra 30 minutes onto the end of SmackDown.
Wrestling wars on television have usually been reserved for shows happening on the same night and in the same timeslot. Raw and Nitro battling on Monday, Dynamite going head to head with NXT. However, now that NXT has moved to Tuesdays and AEW‘s audience continues to grow, Dynamite’s numbers are being compared to Raw’s especially when it comes to key demographics.
Raw can take a break this week. Not just because Dynamite has been moved to Saturday, but also because all eyes will be on SmackDown and Rampage. Last week, WWE announced SmackDown will be Supersized this Friday and run for two and a half hours. That means the final 30 minutes of the show will run at the same time as the first half of Rampage.
Tony Khan responded to the news by tweeting that he can’t wait to beat WWE’s “main show”. In what is presumably an attempt to drum up as much interest in Rampage as possible, AEW has now announced it will be holding an hour-long Buy-In for Friday night’s show on its YouTube channel. The pre-show will include a match between Bryan Danielson and Minoru Suzuki, the first time the pair has clashed since 2004.
Not only is the Buy-In an attempt to get as many people to tune in to Rampage at 10 pm, but it also technically means an AEW show will now be going up against SmackDown for a full 90 minutes. However, Khan has backed down a little since the comments he made abiut beating WWE over the weekend.
“It’s not about competing with them. It’s about doing our best show,” Khan admitted during an appearance on Moose & Maggie. Whether this Friday is considered competition by either side or not, the numbers after the fact are going to be dissected no matter what. It’s hard to imagine Rampage will draw more viewers than SmackDown, but it will be fun to compare the two to see how they differ from previous weeks when both are on at the same time.