NXT vs AEW: Are We In For Wednesday Night Wars?

Photo Credit: Joao Ferreira / AEW

WWE made the long-rumored announcement: NXT will officially be airing as a two-hour live show on the USA Network on Wednesday Nights starting September 18th. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter had first reported that there were talks of NXT on FS1, but ultimately, it was the USA Network who seemingly wanted it more, potentially outbidding FOX to earn the right to air NXT.

This is a drastic change for the yellow brand because, for the last 7+ years, it had taken a new life as WWE’s developmental territory. Seeing the progress it’s made has been extremely interesting because the level of talent kept increasing and once they began with the Takeover shows, there was absolutely no stopping their momentum.

Till date, there’s yet to be a bad or even average Takeover show, with NXT delivering no matter how stale or how good they have been at any point of time. Naturally, there has been quite a bit of skepticism about NXT going live. It takes away the charm of the pre-taped one hour show that was so easy to watch. Moreover, the presentation, approach, and booking of NXT are what made it so popular among the hardcore fanbase in the first place.

Moreover, there comes another major problem. If it’s going live, it is very likely going to be handled and overlooked by the main roster backstage names as well, inciting fear that NXT will end up becoming just another WWE product and another extension of RAW and SmackDown Live. It is an understandable fear, but there is still a reason to be positive about NXT, but we’ll get to that soon.

On the side over the last 9 months or so, All Elite Wrestling was announced as the newest top promotion and Cody Rhodes and the rest of the crew did a fantastic job in hype and promotion, giving them momentum months before their first show. To nobody’s surprise, the Las Vegas-based Double or Nothing PPV sold out in no time (a trend that AEW has been enjoying quite a bit).

Double or Nothing was their big test and they passed with flying colors, putting on a fantastic PPV and topping it off by debuting Jon Moxley, skyrocketing their momentum. Their shows selling out would be a trend and it took all but 15 minutes for their next PPV ALL OUT to sell out. There is naturally a lot of promise and since no other big promotion has that momentum, WWE has clearly taken notice.

Even though AEW has just begun, the manner in which its being run proves that they’re very serious about giving WWE a run for their money long-term. This was only fuelled by the fact that they landed an incredible TV deal with giants TNT. The momentum they have had has truly gotten fans to believe that there is an alternative to WWE and one that’s going to be on a similar level soon.

In short, it feels like we’re in 1995 again and the Monday Night Wars are about to begin. Putting NXT on Wednesday nights is a clear indication that WWE wants to go head-to-head with AEW and it’ll be interesting to see who fans end up choosing. WWE also knows that NXT is the closest comparison to their TV show and this is the reason why fans need to be more excited about NXT.

Triple H knows what AEW is capable of and in all likeliness, he has a lot of respect for them. But this is undoubtedly going to be his biggest test as a backstage figure in the last many years and this is also what’s going to push him to bring a new side out of NXT. We’ve seen NXT grow and evolve over the years, but now that there’s a mass audience involved, things are going to change. Not only do they have to cater to casual fans tuning in, but they have to also make the product good enough where fans choose NXT over AEW.

As we know, competitiveness brings the best out of each other and that’s very likely what we’re going to see. Wednesday Nights are going to feature two incredible shows and the biggest winner of them all is us, the fans. We are on the verge of getting two fantastic shows and this is something that hasnt’ happened in years. It’s truly a great time to be a wrestling fan and AEW and NXT going head-to-head on Wednesday Nights means that we’re in for another war after over two decades.

This is going to be a fantastic period of time as a fan.