All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite, the first installment of TNT's newest wrestling show, dominated in its first night, earning over 1.4 million viewers and landing the network's biggest broadcast premiere in five years. CBR caught up with some of the show's biggest stars, including Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, Kia Stevens (Awesome Kong), Brandi Rhodes, Nyla Rose and Jack Perry (Jungle Boy) at New York Comic Con 2019 following the inaugural episode to get their reactions to the show's beginning.
"It was a great start for me," said Chris Jericho, who is the first and current AEW World Champion. "And listen, we're not at war with anybody. I don't care what you put on against us, you could put on the Super Bowl. And you could, you know, resurrect John and George and put a Beatles reunion on. We can't control that. All we can control is our own show and worry about our own product. We didn't start a war. We didn't counter program. We just did our thing. And as a result, the whole industry was completely shaken up just by us being in existence. So I think that's good. It's a good feeling to know that there was a lot of people who felt the same way we did, but more important than that... we were second in the demo for the whole night against every show, except for the dastardly Major League Baseball wildcard."
Addressing World Wrestling Entertainment's NXT, which went up against Dynamite, and the show's goals going forward, Jericho said, "But other than that we beat everybody, so who cares about NXT. We're talking number two in the entire business so far. That shows value. And that's going to change a lot of opinions about people who might not have known who AEW was for advertisers to fans to other people in the industry. And it also creates a FOMO effect... That's how you build your brand. And we started off on the right foot. When I saw the ratings, I took a second like 'yes.' And then 'hey, how can we beat it next week? You gotta really come from come strong next week.'"
Jericho then talked about why he thinks fans responded so strongly to Dynamite. "Because it’s different," he said. "There's a buzz about it's not the same old, same old. I also think there's a segment of wrestling fan that just stopped watching. If you go back to 2012, how many people were watching wrestling on Monday night?... Where did those other people go? Did they just disappear? Was there a rapture that only wrestling fans were taken away?"
The long-time wrestling veteran then explained that fans "just went on to something else." However, the buzz around AEW and the company's "cool factor" brought them back into the fold, especially considering talent such as Jericho, Moxley, Cody Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. "Whether it's music, wrestling, comedy, TV, when something becomes popular, people will check it out and start buzzing about it," he said. "That's what we have right now."
Brandi Rhodes, who serves as AEW's Chief Brand Officer and one of its star performers, found her experience with Dynamite much different than any she'd had before. "Honestly, so I am not a nervous person. I missed that somewhere. It doesn't happen for me, which is kind of good sometimes, but for the first time ever, I felt like I was gonna throw up. And I couldn't really figure it out. Because we've done this. And I think it's just because everything hits you that what you've done is really huge... This is happening. This is never going to happen again... we're seeing all these people moving, which means they're having a great time. It was like walking into something where you didn't think you knew anybody and then you see all your friends and your family."
Stevens explained her experience, saying, "I was just proud of the whole production team. You know, grueling task, but I just felt very happy for the fans, because they just seemed so happy and excited. You know what I mean? A new excitement. I was like, 'wow.' I'm happy for you guys. Me too. I'm happy too."
When the question turned to Perry, he addressed his "crazy" year, which included the passing of his father, actor Luke Perry. "With this particular one, my match actually didn't get aired on the show," Jungle Boy said. "It's getting aired in a couple of days, I think." Perry's match is set to air on AEW: After Dark, the first episode of which goes live on October 8.
"I'm still looking forward to I guess my actual TV debut," he continued. "Still, we got to close out the show in the arena… Everyone was nervous and all, but the hard work is kind of already been laid. It's been done and now we're here. Getting here was the battle. Just time to go and do what we do. So just being able to see it come to life and that intro and the fire all of it, it was just amazing.
Rose, who responded to Perry's comments, said, "I honestly have nothing to add. He kind of like summarized it, you know, all of it. It's absolutely incredible to see all your hard work, because it definitely has been a team effort. And you know, to see everything that everyone's put together, see it come to life, take shape and see people genuinely, with every fiber of their being, absolutely enjoy what they're watching and have a hunger for more. It's I don't have the words for it. I don't think there are words for that, you know.
Perry and Rose also addressed which matches they're most looking forward to as AEW continues. Perry started by saying, "My first TV match of week three is with the Lucha Brothers. I'm super excited for that. Because those are two guys I was a big fan of on the indies. And I've never got to work with them. So I think that's gonna be super cool. And especially since it's my first TV as well. Super excited for that."
Rose, for her part, doesn't have one person she's excited to work with. However, she is looking forward to getting another shot at the AEW Women's World Championship that Riho took home at the first Dynamite event. "I don't care who they put in front of me," she said. "Quite frankly, I am going to knock'em all down. Knock'em all out. Get a couple of victories under my belt. Get that title."
Moxley said, "It was a great feeling, man. It really became this like team atmosphere. It was almost like on the sidelines at a football game, running players in and out, people coming in and out and watching the the end of the show play out and watching the clock ticking down… We're all like, 'We did it! We got two hours in the can. We got one! Nothing bad happened.' Because I was thinking all these nightmare scenarios in my head. Because it's live TV, anything can happen. And you got a bunch of people with no experience in live TV, so for it to go off as flawlessly as it did the very first one, it was like a celebration backstage. The energy was high, man, and that's addictive. Now I'm like, I can't wait to get to next Wednesday, and I can't wait to keep this momentum going."
AEW: Dynamite airs Wednesdays on TNT.