Along with the advent of AEW Dynamite came the debut of another AEW product, Dark. On October 2, 2019, AEW’s Wednesday night program began airing on TNT, and before that taping the first four AEW Dark matches were filmed. At the time, there were no formal plans to release the series but in the years since, the show has become a staple Tuesday nights on the All Elite YouTube channel.
A little over a year later, Tony Khan debuted an additional AEW Dark show titled AEW Dark: Elevation. Along with the announcement of the second show came news that Paul Wight, fka The Big Show, had signed with the promotion and would be serving as a commentator. The AEW Dark franchise produced hundreds of matches, many through the difficult pandemic days, and helped to give time to talents that were not being featured on Dynamite. One of those talents, Leva Bates, confirmed her departure from AEW just a few days ago.
Wrestling Observer and Mat Men Podcast’s Andrew Zarian has released a somber update on the future of the two AEW franchises.
“AEW Dark and Dark Elevation have ended for the time being,” he tweeted. “This in part has to do with AEW signing a new deal for AEW Collision to air on Saturdays. Part of the new deal is that AEW Wrestling content will exclusively air on WBD. As of today, this doesn’t include ROH.”
The news will certainly be met with mixed emotions. Expanding AEW’s television presence is certainly a good sign for the future of the company’s relationship with Warner Brothers Discovery, especially with TV rights negotiations going on. However, unless many of the AEW Dark featured stars are able to find a spot on one of the two main shows, this will mean a loss of opportunity for talents lower down on the ladder.
Ring of Honor not being included in the new WBD deal is interesting but not entirely surprising. There has been little talk of WBD having interest in ROH and Khan has already begun featuring that content on its own platform, Honor Club. Not having Ring of Honor under the WBD umbrella also gives Khan the option to present pro wrestling content that WBD may otherwise not allow him to do, like when he wanted to work with The Briscoe Brothers.
Haus of Wrestling has heard that the working plan as of now is for AEW to film Dynamite and Rampage on Wednesdays, and then Collision and ROH on Saturdays. Plans can always change, as it was told to us everything is very fluid at the moment, but eliminating both versions of Dark certainly makes that taping schedule more feasible. It would also allow Khan to feature former Dark talent outside of AEW programming.
Zarian will be my Haus of Wrestling guest tomorrow at Noon EST on Premier Streaming Network. We will discuss this story, along with other top WWE and AEW stories. The full audio will be released on the Haus of Wrestling podcast feed following the debut on PremierStreamingNetwork.com.