Begun, the Wednesday Night Wars have.
WWE announced this morning that NXT, originally WWE’s developmental territory that has exploded in popularity and become something of a third brand in its own right, will begin airing on the USA Network Wednesday nights from 8-10pm on September 18. The show will also be produced live. Currently, NXT is taped four weeks in advance in one-hour blocks at Full Sail University, and aired on the WWE Network.
— WWE (@WWE) August 20, 2019
NXT has become a vital part of WWE’s business model, training and providing experience for future main roster stars such as Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. Since those days, it has become a highly desirable place for independent talent to sign, allowing them to gain WWE-level reach while still performing in a tigher-knit promotion, relatively untouched by WWE’s meticulous machine (until now, that is — rumor is Vince McMahon will become much more involved in NXT now that it’s airing on basic cable).
The timing of this move is obviously interesting, as All Elite Wrestling is poised to begin airing live wrestling on the TNT network Wednesday nights starting October 2nd. While WWE is publicly saying they don’t consider AEW competition, they are clearly making moves to try to combat the nascent promotion. In addition to this move, they announced several weeks ago that NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff would be taking place the same day as AEW’s All Out. Now, NXT is looking to make the jump to traditional cable two weeks before AEW debuts their flagship show.
NXT will begin airing on its new home on September 18.
Read the full press release below:
NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn., August 20, 2019 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) and USA Network today announced an agreement in principle to air WWE’s weekly Wednesday night show, NXT, live on USA Network at 8/7c starting September 18.
Following NXT’s growth in popularity, the new two-hour weekly show will expand its reach on USA Network, the leader in cable entertainment, while staying in its Wednesday night timeslot that it has held since 2015.
“The move to USA Network provides an opportunity to deepen our relationship with NBCUniversal and further build the NXT brand,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “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®.”
“USA Network and WWE have one of the longest and most successful partnerships in television history,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks – USA and SYFY. “As the #1 cable entertainment network, we’re excited to add NXT to our weekly lineup alongside powerhouse flagship Raw, and to bring a new generation of Superstars to a wide audience.”
NXT launched in 2010 and has risen to become WWE’s third global brand alongside Raw and SmackDown, hosting nearly 200 live events around the world each year. Airing on Wednesday nights at 8 pm, NXT has been WWE Network’s #1 weekly series.
NXT offers a unique blend of authentic in-ring action with exciting and entertaining storylines that feature WWE’s hottest up-and-coming Superstars including Adam Cole™, Velveteen Dream™, Shayna Baszler™, Johnny Gargano®, Matt Riddle™, Bianca Belair™, Io Shirai™, Candice LeRae™, Tommaso Ciampa™, Kyle O’Reilly™ and Bobby Fish™. The brand’s diverse roster consists of elite athletes from the NFL, collegiate and amateur sports, MMA and international sports such as rugby, kushti and kabaddi. It is also the birthplace to 80 percent of the current Raw and SmackDown rosters including Becky Lynch®, Seth Rollins®, Roman Reigns®, Charlotte Flair®, Bayley®, Sasha Banks®, Alexa Bliss®, Bray Wyatt®and Baron Corbin®.
The series will continue to emanate from Full Sail University in Orlando as part of WWE’s production partnership with the preeminent entertainment, media, arts and technology institution.