Since the end of WCW and its final Nitro show on March 26th 2001 the WWE or World Wrestling Entertainment has dominated the wrestling industry for good or bad. Yes they have been challengers such as TNA/Impact, Ring Of Honor or New Japan Wrestling but they have often been on lesser cable networks or stations. The competitors to WWE also haven’t got the budgets, talent or production value to be a serious competitor to the WWE
Then Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega who put on their own show using You Tube and, the strength of their names to sell tickets and amazing the show All In sells out. The wrestlers then come to the attention of Tony Khan who is a wrestling fan and Tony’s dad Shahid Khan who is a billionaire; Now with strong financial backing behind them a new wrestling company All Elite Wrestling can now be built to a serious competitor for the WWE.
The WWE has signed big new contracts with USA to keep its flagship show RAW and FOX has signed a big contract to get its other show Smackdown. Apart from the big contracts for the shows the shows themselves has continued to have falling ratings with a lackluster often boring product in my opinion. It’s only recently when they put Paul Heyman in charge of RAW has the product involved vastly and become more watchable.
The lack of strong competition has hurt the WWE as they seemed to rest on their laurels but now with a serious competitor it should be good for all wrestling fans as the product should get better for everyone. WWE dismissed AEW as among other things a t shirt company but in private they consider AEW a serious competitor.
WWE has reportablely denied wrestlers getting out of their contracts early as there are afraid they will join AEW and ,also signed other stars too new contracts even though you rarely see them on air. AEW chose Wednesday nights as the perfect time for their new two hour weekly show as Smackdown was moved off that night as part of their new FOX contract.
In recent weeks there have been reports that NXT the WWE’s developmental show where new wrestlers get their start on the WWE Networks one hour weekly show will go to two hours on a cable channel. The idea is that NXT would go up against the new AEW show and maybe draw some of the new promotions viewers away.
Fox’s FS1 looked to be the likely new home for NXT but then came the surprise news that NXT is moving to the USA Network starting September 18th. The new NXT show will before AEW’s first show October 2nd which is from the Capital One Arena in Washington DC
The new NXT show debuting before AEW show hopes to get some of the potential audience for AEW to watch NXT before AEW even debuts. We won’t find out who will win the first real wrestling show ratings war since WCW folded until well after AEW’s debut. Will the new ratings war damage NXT or slow down AEW no one yet knows but a new ratings war is good for wrestlers as it gives them more options and, fans as competition makes a better product.