AEW star and executive vice president Cody Rhodes kicked off 2020 by speaking with Yahoo Sports about All Elite Wrestling's first year as an official wrestling promotion. Since Oct. 2, AEW's flagship weekly program AEW Dynamite has gone head-to-head with WWE's NXT brand, leading fans to dub the battle between the two as the Wednesday Night Wars. But Rhodes firmly stated that while he enjoys the competition between the two shows, he and the rest of the AEW officials aren't focusing on the TV ratings battle between the two, nor is he looking to change plans for the program based on what the opposition is doing.
"There's a romantic way to look at the ratings and say 'Here we are, it's the late 1990s again. Every Thursday let's check 'em,'" Rhodes said. "It's fun to look at the ratings but I know internally we're not having any pep rally speeches. Our concern is not NXT and I believe NXT's concern is not us. If anyone is going to succeed, we cannot be a reactionary brand. One really good, positive takeaway that the ratings war doesn't show is that there is a lot less crossover between the fan bases, there's a lot less of the turning the channel between one and the other. That means there's a lot of people just watching wrestling on Wednesday nights. Making wrestling destination programming again is cool."
Dec. 18 marked the last time the two shows competed against each other before the end of 2019, and was the first time NXT outright beat AEW in both viewership and the 18-49 target demographic.
One way AEW has tried to separate itself from other promotions, according to Rhodes, is by fighting back against the age-old philosophy "less is more."
"I think a lot of us have pushed back on 'less is more' with what we actually do in the ring, but that approach to TV is very true," Rhodes said. "It creates the feeling that everything we are putting out for you in narrative is really important. Our titles, the fact that we only have the men's, women's and tag team championships at this point, we make them the most important thing from the company standard. When you approach it from that, you're able to put things on a pedestal more and make things mean more from a narrative standpoint."
This week's Dynamite, which will run unopposed as NXT airs a clip show, should be an eventful one for Rhodes. He's got a match with Darby Allin, will debut Arn Anderson as his personal advisor for 2020 and learn what the stipulation for his future match with MJF will be.
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