October 2, 2019, Washington, D.C.
Just ten months after officially forming All Elite Wrestling, LLC, AEW Dynamite makes its national television debut on TNT. Emanating live from the nation’s capital, the young company continued its streak of sold-out shows and moved over 10,000 tickets in just three hours, eventually drawing a capacity crowd of 14,129 raucous fans to Washington DC’s Capital One Arena. Despite experiencing some minor production glitches, the two-hour inaugural episode of Dynamite was an unqualified success, garnering a 0.68 television rating and averaging over 1.4 million viewers for TNT, which placed it as the #2 ranked cable program of the night.
Hosted by announcers Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, and Excalibur, the program featured five matches; Cody Rhodes defeating Sammy Guevara in the opener, MJF over Brandon Cutler, PAC defeating “Hangman” Adam Page, Riho capturing the AEW Women’s World championship by toppling Nyla Rose and, in the main event, Chris Jericho, Santana & Ortiz besting Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks. The show also featured appearances by Jon Moxley, SCU, the Lucha Brothers, Dr. Britt Baker, Dustin Rhodes and the debuting Jake Hager.
The other major news coming from Dynamite’s debut evening was the sound defeat it handed WWE’s NXT program on the USA Network. In an attempt to preemptively stifle AEW’s momentum, WWE had moved the popular “developmental league” from the WWE Network over to USA two weeks prior to Dynamite’s debut. In a surprise to many, head-to-head, NXT’s two-hour offering averaged 891,000 viewers compared to Dynamite’s 1.4 million. Furthermore, in terms of the key 18-49 demographic, AEW more than doubled its lead over NXT by out-drawing its competition 878,000 viewers to NXT’s 414,000.