Younger fans of wrestling probably don’t know there was a time in wrestling where we had the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW.
You had Raw going head-to-head with Nitro. Some even believed that WCW was winning the war, even though WWE had more money and advertising.
WCW had young and upcoming stars, blended with their veteran performers. WWE had mostly a veteran roster centered around Stone Cold, Triple H, The Rock, The Undertaker and Mick Foley.
Fast forward to today, and wrestling fans will witness a new war on Wednesday nights.
The combatants will be NXT and AEW! The great thing about this battle is both shows will center around in-ring wrestling action.
NXT will go live starting September 18 on USA Network for 2 hours weekly. The current format for NXT has been on WWE Network and running 1 hour long. As a wrestling fan, NXT has been the best brand in all professional wrestling for the past few years. The writing and in-ring wrestling have been second to none and keeps the fans coming back every week for more.
But, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has burst on the scene. The company formed by Cody Rhodes, and Nick & Matt Jackson, better known as the Young Bucks. When the idea of AEW was first publicized, it faced serious skepticism from fans. The company secured a major investment from Jacksonville Jaguars co-owner Tony Khan. Originally, it was thought that AEW would compete with WWE’s Raw and SmackDown products when they secured a major TV deal with TNT starting October 2.
AEW vs. WWE NXT
I have always felt that AEW should eye NXT as its primary competition, not Raw or SmackDown. My reasoning is simple, NXT is a WRESTLING show. The show centers around the in-ring ability of the talent while building solid storylines. As long as AEW is viewed as a wrestling organization, the fans will embrace their product as many are turned off by the entertainment side of WWE.
The only groundwork AEW has though, is a handful of PPV events, so it’s an unknown commodity going live for the first time. This isn’t a bad thing for AEW, as some fans want to see something this is not WWE. AEW can claim a small victory since WWE’s top shows are avoiding a head-to-head battle with them.
AEW MUST start hot and pick up momentum with each show.
Some will say that NXT moving to network TV on Wednesday nights is in response to AEW being on the same night. I get it, competition is good, but if NXT were to remain on the WWE Network, the two shows would still be doing battle. The only difference is now viewership for both shows can be tracked and bragging rights are delved out weekly.
The biggest winners in this war are wrestling fans.
We now have a choice of which product we will watch.
I think most fans will watch one and DVR the other. The fans will get 2 companies putting on great wrestling matches and putting on quality shows every week.
NXT and AEW going to head-to-head is going to be fun. But I think if it ends in a stalemate, wrestling fans will be happy.
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The Scrap’s Lee Brown is a 22-year Air Force Vet, fan of all sports – especially UFC, NFL & NBA, and cohost of Lee N Keys Real Talk Podcast. You can follow Lee on Twitter (@Levanstian757) and Instagram (@Va121Lee).