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By Mike Johnson on 2021-02-27 09:58:00

AEW will air their first-ever special on tomorrow at 5 PM EST, featuring:

*Riho vs. Thunder Rosa -  AEW Women's Eliminator Tournament America Bracket Semi-Final

*Yuka Sakazaki vs. Ryo Mizunami -AEW Women's Eliminator Tournament Japan Bracket Final.

*Mei Suruga & Rin Kadokura & AEW Women's Hikaru Shida vs. Emi Sakura & Veny & Maki Itoh.

In speaking with last week, AEW President Tony Khan discussed the special:

I am very excited for the special on Sunday. I worked really hard to get Bleacher Report on board. I felt like before we even knew we were doing a women's tournament for sure, I knew I wanted to get a special on Bleacher Report on Sunday. We didn't have a history of running shows on Sunday, so I felt that if we put on a great show and got the fans in the habit of watching AEW on Sunday a week before Revolution, we could establish it and create some new behavior, because I love doing the pay per views on Saturday, and we do these quarterly - Revolution, Double or Nothing, All Out and Full Gear. Now for Double or Nothing and All Out, they come on holiday weekends, Memorial Day and Labor Day so everyone here in America, most people get Monday off, and in England, the same holiday those weekends also. It's a good weekend to do a pay per view, so the Saturday/Sunday thing is not as important there, it's not like people are rushing into work. So we've done them on Saturdays, Double or Nothing and All Out - there I don't think it's that big of a difference, so I'm open to doing them there. This time, it was the right night, I've enjoyed doing them on Saturdays and we can look to do...certainly, Full Gear I would like to do on Saturday because I have no intention of ever competing with the NFL, so Saturday in November makes more sense for Full Gear. 

Now first and foremost, the content of the show, the women's tournament. It was really important to showcase these matches and given the amount of time that we had when we started the tournament, I knew we could put some content online and stream it. But I think we put lots of great stuff online and I've been focusing on that recently, trying to build up our streaming audience, and it's been working. If you look at the recent numbers for Dark, it's way up and I've been putting top stars on Dark and that's been the philosophy to build our streaming audience that way. So you've seen PAC and Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy on Dark on the recent and upcoming weeks and that's helped build the audience for that show and get those people out there and get their faces out. In the example of those 3 guys in particular, they have a huge audience for them and people wonder why I would ever have those guys wrestle anywhere but Dynamite. Well, I have Jon Moxley who's one of the biggest stars for us and one of the biggest stars in wrestling, was Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Wrestler of the Year last year, Wrestling Observer Wrestler of the Year, wrestle on Dark because those numbers are really important to us in order to build an audience. 

 In this case, doing a women's eliminator tournament special on Bleacher Report, I thought was a great idea and a great chance for us to build audience and also introduce some of our top wrestlers to a new audience and give them a show that's going to make them come back and watch more AEW, and like I said, get our hardcore audience in the habit of watching AEW on a Sunday. Riho vs Thunder Rosa is a perfect match for that I think, and then also on the Japan side of the bracket, Yuka Sakazaki vs. Ryo Mizunami is going to be a tremendous final. We've seen them competing on television here and I think whoever wins that match will come over here and it's going to be a great final between them and the winner of the American side of the bracket. We've got Britt Baker vs Nyla on Dynamite tomorrow night and we've got Riho vs Thunder Rosa on Sunday and the winners of those matches are going to wrestle on Monday and I really like that Monday time slot that we've carved out for the tournament, I think it's great and looking to do more programming there with our YouTube channel. 

 So in putting the streaming special together, I thought it was very important, with Bleacher Report being one of the biggest streaming platforms in the world, and a huge part of the Warner Media portfolio, and as you've said, knowing what's been happening with streaming rights and seeing that AEW is definitely valuable content, this is a great chance for us to partner with a huge streaming platform and put a big show out there. It's going to be a great special on Sunday, like you said we've been super busy. 

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