Last month, WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite went head-to-head in a rare Tuesday night battle that saw both brands pulling out all the stops. AEW did what they do best and stuck to presenting high-caliber in-ring action and minimal talking segments in hopes of distinguishing themselves from their competition. WWE NXT also delivered on in-ring action but also called upon several huge names to help buoy the product and draw eyeballs. In the end, having John Cena, The Undertaker, Paul Heyman, and more on the show ensured the yellow and black brand won the day, as they outdrew AEW in overall viewership by about 300,000 viewers and 50,000 in the key P18 – 49 demo.
Haus of Wrestling is told by a WWE source that, internally, the belief is that NXT viewership will consistently outdraw AEW Dynamite next year, especially when they move to The CW. The belief is based on the idea that The CW is a “younger broadcast TV channel” instead of an “aging cable channel” and will help attract a younger and more influential audience. This is on top of the constantly high-quality content they are putting out and Levesque’s renewed push to integrate NXT with the other major WWE brands.
It was also relayed to us that, generally, there appears to be a belief that the AEW product is cold. Even with all the big-name stars they have brought in from WWE, like Bryan Danielson and Adam Copeland, it was pointed out that AEW live event ticket sales have dwindled over the last few years. While they were able to sell more than 80,000 tickets for their big AEW All In show in the UK, they have not shown consistent sales for the rest of their shows.
Regarding WWE NXT hitting the road, it does not sound like anything starting imminently. There is major interest across the board within WWE to make NXT feel “bigger,” but not at the expense of overexposing the brand. As it stands, NXT is presenting very good shows that are growing their audience, but WWE wants to make sure not to leap into taking the show on the road before demand is strong enough to do so. Fiscally, it just makes more sense to keep doing what they are doing.
Haus of Wrestling was also given a reaction to our exclusive story yesterday that Tony Khan passed on talks with The CW about bringing ROH to the network. In general, the sentiment seems to be that Khan should have taken an ROH TV deal when he could get one unless he has “a backup plan.”