When WWE decided to move NXT to the USA Network, many wondered if it would keep its appeal and do as well as it did on the WWE Network. Not only has it continued to keep its fanbase, but it has grown as well. Many thought that All Elite Wrestling would rule things in the new “Wednesday Night Wars” and they did for a while, but the ratings gap has almost totally closed.
Back in mid-September, NXT got the jump on things by moving to the USA Network two weeks before AEW started on TNT. In early October, Dynamite began on TNT and came out with a huge bang and destroyed WWE’s third brand in the weekly television ratings.
For a few weeks, that was the trend and it started to look like a scary situation for the yellow and black brand. Many old-school wrestling fans began comparing it to when WCW Nitro destroyed Monday Night Raw for more than a year in the ratings.
But for those who remember that, they need to also remember that WWE eventually won the war.
While it is still too early to declare a winner in this whole thing, NXT has certainly worked hard to turn things around. Not only have they stayed consistent, but they have worked hard at closing the gap and catching up to its competition.
This week, AEW did win the ratings battle for the sixth week in a row, but this was the smallest margin between the two shows. Wrestling Inc. reported that Dynamite drew 822,000 viewers on Wednesday night while NXT drew 813,000 viewers for a difference of just 1.1 percent.
In the overall Cable Top 150 rankings, AEW came in at No. 8 while NXT topped out at No. 12.
This is huge news for WWE as they are learning that moving NXT to cable television was not a bad idea. Fans are latching on and longtime viewers are continuing to enjoy one of the best wrestling products on all of television.
It could be that the WWE brand-mixing going on with Survivor Series around the corner had something to do with it, but Wednesday night’s show was excellent. NXT had some great matches and topped it off with a main event match of The O.C. vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, and Keith Lee.
For All Elite Wrestling, they likely aren’t worried, but do need to be a bit concerned by the lower numbers on Wednesday. Not only has their viewership dropped slightly in the last month-and-a-half, but this was their go-home show for this weekend’s Full Gear pay-per-view.