In a move that surprised utterly no one in the wrestling world, WWE as today [Tuesday 20th August] announced that their third brand NXT will be moving to the American channel USA network.
Already the home for Raw on Mondays and Smackdown on Tuesdays (before their big move to Fox in October), NXT will be leaving the WWE network and the one hour time slot to become a two hour show on September 18 but still air on Wednesdays and continue at their home of Fail Sail University in Florida.
WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon gave a brief statement saying “The move to USA Network provides an opportunity to deepen our relationship with NBCUniversal and further build the NXT brand.
“Over the long term, our goal is to develop a following that can be monetized to the same level as our flagship programs, Raw and Smackdown.”
While NXT already has a strong following with wrestling fans it’s a good thing for the wrestlers as they’ll bigger exposer to a wider audience who just watch the main shows and will hopefully have a more fluid gateway whenever they move from NXT to either Raw or Smackdown.
It’s also a way for McMahon to keep fans watching and bring in new fans away from All Elite Wrestling when they premiere on Wednesday 2nd October on another US network TNT.
Thus beginning a new era of the wrestling wars.
However, the biggest battle for NXT will be within WWE as this move is another step closer in the control of Vince and execs at USA as a weekly show on a major cable channel has much more stresses than being the cooler, younger kid on the WWE Network.
The first few months will be incredibly important for the future of NXT because hopefully Paul “Triple H” Levesque will have the chance to prove the way to continue the show is as if it was a two-hour show on the Network and fans will come to them and get a new side of WWE.
If the ratings aren’t there, despite staying the same, then Vince will more likely take control and turn NXT into his image. Damaging the brand and turning those fans off the company and switching to AEW.
So if I was Vince (I would’ve retired from the wrestling game and enjoy life) let Triple H continue to do his thing because it’s working and it has the best chance of winning when it goes head-to-head with All Elite Wrestling.
However, it looks like these worries can be set aside (for now most likely) as Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin posted an article stating.
“Sources tell us despite speculation, the current plan is for NXT to remain as the same show it’s been for years and that moving to USA Network was only done to get more eyes on the product.”
From a talent and wrestling point of view, this will give those in the Performance Centre a chance to break out and creating new storylines.
First, that comes to mind is the reemergence of Tyler Breeze and Fandango as both superstars have gotten new life in the brand and now we can see their story continue as it’ll be likely on a journey to the NXT tag titles.
They could also be joined by stars wanting to showcase their work and if they’re not getting a chance to prove themselves on the main roster, they can make an impact on NXT.
Meanwhile, more people will get the chance to see Pete Dunne and see why this incredible wrestler is the best thing to come out of the UK and why Matt Riddle is the next ‘top guy’ in WWE.
Elsewhere, the women’s division will have more time to be highlighted instead of one or two feuds going as the likes of Rhea Ripley and Kacy Catanzaro can make their presences felt in different ways.
Catanzaro as the woman who knows no bounds with high-flying skills and moves to get the crowd/fans excited. While Ripley can be the brutal force of the women’s division.
Bianca Belair is the Queen B and shows why she’s seen as the next big star in WWE alongside Io Shirai and Candice LeRae will be the heart of the brand.
Finally, on the men’s side Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Dominik Dijakovic, Keith Lee and Kushida could become massive stars and be major players in the top and mid-card.
What this move will do is project Velveteen Dream to being the top guy and if new fans jump on the experience, he’ll be WWE or Universal Champion in two to three years.
While Undisputed Era will become a major player in main brands and have the chance to be the faction that broke into the mainstream similar to DX and NWO and hopefully bring factions back to WWE.