Earlier this week, it was confirmed that WWE’s development brand, NXT, will be given a two-hour weekly time slot on the USA Network. Not only will this effectively put NXT on par with Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, but it will also see the company directly compete against All Elite Wrestling on TNT.
History has shown that WWE doesn’t appreciate competition that potentially interferes with their business interests, so naturally, the decision to elevate NXT in such a way is being interpreted by wrestling fans and pundits as a declaration of war against Tony Khan’s company.
One person who’s looking forward to the prospect, however, is AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes. As reported by Wrestling Inc., Rhodes recently spoke to Bleacher Report and revealed that he’s “intrigued” to see what they do with the show going forward.
“My dad [WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes] was instrumental in building the NXT brand. For a long time, it had been a developmental project. For Vince to now bring it to the USA Network as if it’s a full brand, I’m just intrigued by it.”
If Rhodes is worried about the competition, he isn’t showing it. Given that he smashed up a Triple H-style throne with a sledgehammer at AEW’s Double or Nothing show, it’s possible that he’s keen to compete against the biggest wrestling company in the world.
Rhodes also stated that he believes the competition will be good for wrestling, and Wednesday nights will be the best night of the week for wrestling fans.
“The best wrestling is going to be happening on Wednesday nights. It’s destination TV, and when’s the last time wrestling was destination TV? It’s now must-watch, and I’m not going to complain about that…Wrestling fans now have a choice, and I hope they choose us.”
Rhodes is right in saying that this is the first time in years that wrestling has featured so prominently on television. While Impact Wrestling briefly tried to compete against WWE on Monday nights a few years back, the arrival of AEW is arguably the most significant thing to happen to the business since World Championship Wrestling folded in 2001.
AEW is fresh and new, so the excitement surrounding it at the moment is huge. The upcoming TV tapings have all sold out already, so the upstart company has the opportunity to hit the ground running and make a huge statement.
It remains to be seen if interest in the new product will hold up in the long run. For now, though, there’s hardly any reason to suggest that it won’t be a big success.