TNT President Says AEW Will Be a Sleeper Hit

All Elite Wrestling's weekly live show is set to make its debut on Oct. 2 on TNT. And while the company has only produced three live events so far (with a fourth coming on Aug. 31 with All Out), TNT officials already seem confident that the young promotion can make a splash in the wrestling industry before the year is over.

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is going to be a sleeper," Kevin Reilly, TNT/TBS/TruTV president told Variety in a recent interview previewing the Fall 2019 television lineup. "It's very counter-intuitive to launch a new league at the height of the WWE. But I have a lot of reasons why it makes sense where the opportunity is. We're not taking down the WWE but I think this is going to be surprising."

Since announcing their premiere AEW has already sold out its first three televised events — Oct. 2 in Washington D.C., Oct. 9 in Boston and Oct. 16 in Philadelphia.

Matches have gradually been announced for all three live shows as well. The premiere will see Cody Rhodes vs. Sammy Guevara, a six-man tag match involving Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks and the crowning of the first AEW Women's World Champion. The following week will see The Young Bucks vs. Private party in the first round of the AEW World Tag Team Championship tournament and the week after that will feature championship matches for both the AEW World and AEW Women's World Championships.

Back in early August Rhodes appeared on Busted Open Radio to discuss AEW's plans for the future and was asked about bringing casual wrestling fans in to watch the product.


"You guys have heard the term 'casual fan', right? 'Oh, how are they gonna get the casual fan?' The term 'casual fan' — honestly, I think I throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear it," Rhdoes said. "Because it's this vernacular to describe wrestling that is based on the Monday Night Wars. When the Monday Night Wars are over, they're not a thing, as in they're not happening here and now in the present. What's happening right here and now in the present -- we can't determine what it is. It's something that only history will be able to tell us.

"So my focus is always the base that built AEW," he added. "And that base, if you've seen it, you get it. And if you haven't seen it, it's just something that you have to see and feel. Bully [Ray] knows what I'm talking about. Because there's a lot of confidence, that sometimes can get misplaced for arrogance on my half or The Elite's behalf, but I've seen the power. I've seen it. And that's why I want to focus on them first and foremost."

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