The long-rumored AEW: Collision was confirmed as reality today at the Warner Bros. Discovery upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The show is slated to premiere June 17th on TNT. Who will be the main people colliding with each other on Collision? Maybe not who you would have expected. Please enjoy the following press release from All Elite Wrestling, which I have commented on in italics like some kind of semi-professional commenter.
NEW YORK (May 17, 2023) –TNT launches a second night of professional wrestling with a new tentpole series, “AEW: Collision” on Saturday, June 17, it was announced today by Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, US Networks Group, Warner Bros. Discovery, during the company’s 2023 Upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This live, two-hour, in-ring action show will air every Saturday night from 8-10 p.m. ET and feature more wrestlers, more stories, and more action to super serve fans. “AEW” Collision” will feature headliners including Miro, Samoa Joe, Thunder Rosa, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Andrade El Idolo.
Miro? We haven’t seen him in an AEW ring for months. The same goes for Andrade El Idolo, who has teased his exit from the wrestling business on Twitter almost as much as he has posted photos of his wife. Thunder Rosa has been working the Spanish announce table after suffering an injury that forced her to abdicate the Women’s Championship title. Powerhouse Hobbs has been a mainstay on Dynamite. Perhaps a move to Collision will make his spotlight brighter and push him over the top with fans. By the way, where’s CM Punk?
In only four years following the launch of “AEW: Dynamite,” AEW’s footprint has more than doubled across TNT and TBS. Along with “AEW: Dynamite,” Friday night’s “AEW: Rampage,” the recent follow-doc “AEW: All Access,” and now “AEW: Collision,” TNT and TBS deliver the best matches and most entertaining moments in professional wrestling today. AEW has reached 23M viewers so far this year across all of its shows on TBS and TNT.
Will Collision‘s presumably stable position on Saturday nights mean that Rampage will no longer be thrown around the schedule, shown at special times on special nights? One wonders, because the addition of another show could put Rampage into stagnation mode with no forward movement. There seems to be a determination on the part of WBD to sweep Rampage under the bleachers.
“We’re doubling-down on wrestling with ‘AEW: Collision,’ which gives fans two more hours every week,” said Jason Sarlanis, President, Turner Networks, ID and HLN, linear & streaming. “AEW’s roster of talent has expanded so quickly that we felt it needed another night to bring our audience the epic rivalries, unforgettable matches and stars they love to watch. Adding ‘Collision’ to our programming mix on TNT will allow us to satisfy the massive demand we’ve felt from our hardcore fanbase and be the ultimate complement to ‘AEW: Dynamite’ on TBS.”
Shouldn’t that be “tripling-down” if you’re counting Rampage? That’s three AEW shows across the Turner networks, not just two. Maybe Sarlanis doesn’t know when Rampage comes on either.
“With the addition of ‘AEW: Collision’ on TNT, I’m extremely proud that a Turner network will be the home of Saturday night wrestling for the first time in more then two decades,” said Tony Khan, CEO, GM, and Head of Creative of AEW. “The debut of ‘Collision’ is significant across numerous sectors including television, wrestling, entertainment and sports, and reinforces AEW as the bold property we envisioned when we launched in 2019. ‘Collision’ will deliver live every Saturday night more of what fans and viewers tell us they want — athleticism, big personalities, exciting storylines and hard-hitting wrestling action, all of which have become synonymous with AEW.”
All of this hype leaves questions that won’t be answered until the show finally premieres. How will the other championships work in relation to Collision? The roster seems like a soft brand split, placing some workers who have created locker room controversy on their own program. That feels like a big reward for bad behavior, even more so if the rumors are true and CM Punk is on the way back to the company. Collision could wind up as the CM Punk Show which would create both ratings and curiosity.
Can these shows, and these performers, co-exist? Who will collide and what will be left of them? We won’t really find out until June.