Could the Wednesday Night Wrestling War be over in just a year? Why would NXT move nights if their only concern has always been to suppress AEW viewership? How would this benefit AEW? Also how could this actually benefit WWE and NXT? These are all legitimate questions as you read the news and speculation out there regarding a potential move for NXT to Tuesday nights.
So first off let's take a look at how it would affect the AEW:
This would certainly be a major "win" for AEW in the head to head battle with NXT and would certainly separate them from all the other companies out there. They would be the brand that could stand up against a portion of the WWE and hold their own. The only competition they would have now on Wednesday's would be, whatever else is on television that night. The removal of the big bad WWE and the NXT product would remove all reasoning on why they couldn't continuously be a top 5 program with over one million viewers.
They would be able to try and do more with their television show that they might be timid to try and do now. Maybe they give the ladies more time as they won't be worried about viewers flipping over to NXT. Maybe they stop overly spending on big free agents and continue to build up the young talent and the independent talent out there that many felt the company would do from the start. They would have an opportunity to grow their product, their way without weekly fear of people changing the channel to NXT if a talent comes on people don't like.
However what if they don't grow their product and reach a new peak without NXT?Currently, AEW has a built in excuse every week that their viewership falls, well NXT had an amazing card and wrestling fans tuned in. Well NXT ran a counter special and wrestling fans tuned in. AEW routinely uses ratings against NXT, poking fun at their direct competitor and almost leans on the war to help them on their programming. What if those excuses are now removed? What if NXT does leave Wednesday nights and viewership doesn't get any better? AEW will have an opportunity, a huge opportunity to grow their viewership bigger than ever before. AEW could position themselves as the 52 week Wednesday Night leader in cable, if the NXT faithful continues to tune into wrestling on Wednesdays. There is also a chance, that they don't, that those fans simply go to the new night and that AEW remains the same in viewership.
AEW would have 3 years without other wrestling competition opposite them to grow their viewership and ratings numbers before getting a new TV rights deal. In my opinion they would actually have more pressure on them without NXT being opposite them than they would with them there. Yes there would be no more TV specials or major title changes that could turn fans away. However is there a chance that both NXT and AEW has a built in viewership due to the excitement of the Wednesday Night War? Is there a chance that fans tune in with such excitement and glee and then run to Twitter on Thursday at 4pm because it's a head to head battle? Time will tell however the move of NXT Tuesday's for AEW could be what's needed to propel them up as the top Wednesday Cable Show or could remove the excuse they currently have of why they aren't consistently that show.
How does this affect WWE?
First off this doesn't affect WWE as an entity in the slightest. Nobody will look at WWE who has the largest TV rights deal, a billion dollar deal from Saudi Arabia, three shows on either cable or broadcast TV, their own streaming network, the biggest active roster of all wrestling promotions and the highest revenues and profits of any other company in the business. As mentioned above, the AEW faithful will overly paint the picture that AEW has defeated WWE, while the WWE faithful will minimize the situation simply stating, it has been our developmental territory.
Months will go by and it will no longer become about AEW and WWE, it will become WWE vs. other cable programming and AEW vs. other cable programming. The reason why is simple, outside of the two hours of cable they don't compete against each other at all. Years ago it was about PPV buys and that's why you didn't want your competition doing well because they could takeaway your gates and buys to see their shows. The WWE is almost entirely a television program with the majority of large chunk of revenue coming from that stream.
Without AEW taking potential viewers away from NXT, they could also see a natural growth in viewership as they don't have a wrestling company opposite them. NXT could stand on it's own feet, on their own night and could help bolster the television portfolio of the WWE. A portfolio that has seen Raw and Smackdown continuously defeat other live sports programming and even do well against the first round the of the NBA playoffs and the NBA regular season.
Finally how does this affect NXT?
NXT will take a hit, they'll be looked at as the branch of WWE that took a loss to the upstart AEW company. However over time as long as NXT produces good results on television, nobody will remember that. If NXT can become another top 10 show for WWE it would only improve their chances at signing an even larger television rights contract, eclipsing their record breaking deals from last time. The WWE for the longest time never worried about their competition, they simply just ran their business and didn't acknowledge or care about others.
NXT much like AEW would have the same potential fate of seeing a large increase in viewership due to AEW no longer being there, or removing the only excuse of why it doesn't do better numbers. NXT would no longer be able to say, well it's just the massive roster of guys like Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes, established guys are the reason people are viewing AEW instead of NXT. However maybe people would be more apt to watching NXT if AEW wasn't on opposite them, the AEW audience tends to be die hards who love wrestling. Would they watch NXT on Tuesday and then AEW on Wednesday? I think it's possible, I think AEW fans tend to be "wrestling fans" more so than "AEW fans". While I think WWE has a large audience that is "WWE Fans" and not so much "wrestling fans".
If the WWE does move NXT, it proves that them going on Wednesdays was never JUST ABOUT suppressing viewership for AEW. It may have been part of the reason, but it was also to expand their television portfolio and add another revenue stream. I think this is the best move for both AEW and NXT, it allows them to worry about their product and no longer have to take shots across the board. It would certainly be a victory for AEW over NXT however in the long run could become another victory for WWE in negotiations for television money.