Wednesday Observations: AEW using Mike Tyson to end ‘Wednesday Night Wars’ with a bang?
AEW hit it big ratings-wise with Shaquille O’Neal a few weeks back. Cue Mike Tyson for what looks to be a purposeful one-off return tonight on “Dynamite” on TNT.
The former boxing world champion last appeared on “Dynamite” in May, after having a cameo at the “Double or Nothing” pay-per-view to present the new TNT title belt to then-champ Cody Rhodes.
The “Dynamite” appearance ended with a pull-apart brawl involving Tyson, Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle stable that Jericho later revealed was to have led to a Tyson-Jericho match at the “All Out” pay-per-view in September.
Without going into detail, Jericho said the match with Tyson couldn’t be worked out in time to get it on the pay-per-view card.
Tyson went on to take part in another pay-per-view event, main-eventing a celebrity boxing card against Roy Jones Jr. in November.
Tyson’s appearance tonight will be before a live crowd – his first with AEW since fans have been allowed at Daily’s Place, the ampitheater connected to the south end of TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, the home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Mike Tyson always commands a massive ovation and the attention of fans worldwide. I’m excited for everyone here in Jacksonville, and for those watching on TNT and around the world, to see what Mike Tyson has in store for AEW,” AEW CEO Tony Khan said.
One difference with the Tyson appearance vis-à-vis the recent Shaq AEW run: we don’t know what Tyson will be doing.
O’Neal was written into a long-running storyline involving Rhodes and his wife, Brandi, culmininating in an intergender match in which Shaq and his partner, a former Jacksonville University basketball player, Jade Cargill, defeated Rhodes and Red Velvet, with Shaq memorably power-bombing Rhodes in one spot, and taking a bump from the ring apron to a table on the floor in another.
That March 3 episode of “Dynamite” was a ratings success for AEW, drawing 934,000 viewers, beating WWE’s “NXT” that night by a 34.9 percent margin.
In the weeks since, WWE has announced that it is moving its “NXT” show from Wednesdays to Tuesdays beginning April 13, making tonight’s head-to-head the final installment of the 18-month “Wednesday Night War.”
Looks like Khan wants to go out with a bang.
Story by Chris Graham