TNT Jumps Back Into Wrestling Ring with AEW

TNT is returning to the wrestling ring through a deal between parent company WarnerMedia and All Elite Wrestling, a new outfit promising diverse male and female performers.

Weekly matches will appear on TNT in prime time and stream on B/R Live. Some will be on pay per view.

The AEW is founded by Tony Kahn and features Chris Jericho, who along with some of the other wrestlers will be executive VPs of the company.

“All Elite Wrestling is a talent-forward, fan-first league whose inclusive approach to creating high-quality athletic wrestling competitions is already making waves with fans and attracting top-tier wrestlers,” said Michael Quigley, executive vice president, commercial operations, content strategy and monetization at TBS and TNT. “It is high-adrenaline, gripping entertainment and we can’t wait to bring it to fans everywhere with this game-changing new business.”

B/R Live will be the exclusive digital streaming partners in the U.S. for the AEW’s first event, Double or Nothing, which takes place in Las Vegas on May 25.

A pre-show special, The Buy-In, will stream on WarnerMedia and AEW’s social channels.

“Wrestling fans have wanted – and needed – something different, authentic and better for far too long,” said Kahn. “AEW is answering the call. AEW is about more than wrestling. It’s about a movement fueled by wrestling fans who have been underserved and perhaps even disappointed by what the industry has produced in recent years. AEW is rising to the occasion with Double or Nothing and today taking it a step further by partnering with WarnerMedia, which is committed as we are to making wrestling fans the one and only priority. With WarnerMedia, AEW is poised globally to redefine wrestling as we know it today.”

Under Ted Turner, who launched Turner Broadcasting and TNT, now part of Warner Media, the company launched World Championship Wrestling, which competed with the WWE. It started in 1988 and was successful for a while, but it fell out of favor and went out of business in 2001.

WWE's Smackdown is moving in the fall to broadcast with Fox. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.