POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: The impact of NXT to the USA Network

A deep look at NXT's move to the USA Network from multiple angles and what it means, commentary team for the show, Canadian update, NJPW's business & more.

Photo courtesy: WWE


**This week’s edition of Rewind-A-Raw is out with Wai Ting and I dedicated the first portion to the NXT to USA Network news and all the ramifications. Then, we have a complete review of Raw from St. Paul, the promos on the show, a great segment with the Mysterios, the start of the King of the Ring tournament, and lots more. Plus, we chat about AEW’s latest locations, Tony Schiavone working for AEW and MLW, AAA moving to the Hulu Theatre, and the new wrestling drama greenlit by Starz starring Stephen Amell. You can download the show directly or subscribe to POST Wrestling on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

**Wai Ting and I are back tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown to review SmackDown and go through all the news involving NXT moving to the USA Network, additional details, and a continuation of our discussion from Monday’s show. We will also be taking your feedback at the end of the show and encourage you to post any questions related to today’s news.

**The British Wrestling Experience is back on Wednesday with Martin Bushby, Benno & Jamesie chatting about the recent Progress Wrestling shows in Toronto, Rev Pro’s latest card, their own crazy weekend coming up with Rev Pro, NXT UK, and New Japan running shows, and lots more. There will be a bonus edition of the BWE this Friday with Jamesie speaking to Alan Counihan (@Alan4L) of PW Torch about his Top 50 UK matches of all-time he put together for Fighting Spirit Magazine.

**The Double Shot returns on Wednesday night as Wai Ting and I will review the first two episodes of GLOW Season 3 that is out on Netflix. This show will be available to members of the POST Wrestling Cafe.


*Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Wednesday: The Double Shot – GLOW Season 3, Eps. 1 & 2 (Patreon)
*Wednesday: The British Wrestling Experience with Martin, Benno & Jamesie
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Friday: MCU review of “Doctor Strange” with John & Wai (Patreon)
*Friday: BWE Bonus with Jamesie & Alan4L on Top 50 UK matches of all-time
*Saturday: EVOLVE 133 POST Show with Davie Portman & Wai Ting
*Saturday: Cruel Summer “G1 Climax 2015” with WH Park & Mike Murray (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura)
*Sunday: EVOLVE 134 POST Show with Davie Portman & Jason Solomon (@solomonster)
*Sunday: Cruel Summer “G1 Climax 2016” with WH Park & Jojo Remy (Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto)


**The battlefield for Wednesday nights this fall has been set with the official announcement that NXT is moving to Wednesday nights on the USA Network. The show, which will air live from Full Sail University each week, goes directly against All Elite Wrestling on TNT with NXT having a two-week head start.

NXT will launch on the USA Network beginning September 18th, which is the date we reported on Monday with AEW set to premiere on October 2nd. It is WWE’s biggest head-to-head challenge in years and while most point to Impact’s move to Monday nights in January 2010, realistically, that was a one-week spike for Impact, who were quickly destroyed against Raw and retreated to Thursdays by the spring. AEW has a sound business strategy and has been able to prove an ability to move tickets at a level Impact never approached in its existence.

Some comparisons can be made to October 3, 2005, when Raw moved back to the USA Network and went head-to-head with a UFC Fight Night card. While UFC was not going to be weekly competition, they did represent the hot brand that was on fire after the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, which was enough to given Spike the confidence to publicly walk away from their re-negotiations with WWE, whose deal was up that year. WWE treated the head-to-head battle that night as war and promoted the show around a “Homecoming”, which was the first time they brought back every legend possible and became the company’s go-to strategy to pop a big number. Fourteen years later, it’s the strategy they will use for the first episode of SmackDown on Fox.

Unlike UFC, AEW represents a direct competitor that WWE cannot write off as “they’re legitimate sport and we are entertainment”. Everyone could see through the veil of Vince McMahon’s comments on the last investor’s call to paint them as “blood and guts” and every stereotype that the company has attempted to run from, unless they needed to be exempt from those labels themselves and incorporate “blood and guts” when a finish called for elbow shots to cut someone open.

NXT has a new directive because the goals of a breeding ground for the next stars, talent becoming comfortable on television, and appealing to disenfranchised fans has now adjusted. NXT is now a vehicle to draw eyeballs in large amounts with the pressure of a weekly scorecard on Thursday afternoons. In many ways, they could fall into the trap of WCW in 1998. At the time, WCW was doing monster business at live events and on pay-per-view, but the WWF had surpassed them in viewership and that was the metric that determined a win or a loss. Instead of maintaining a solid business and building new stars when the company was hot, they became obsessed with Tuesday afternoons and winning the night, instead of winning the war. With Dave Meltzer’s report that USA Network is paying a “minimum” $50 million for NXT programming, the company is now self-sustainable and landed a deal that provides much more guaranteed money than AEW’s off the bat. But the barometer will be viewership and not television rights fees with WWE fighting against any perception of being the secondary wrestling product in a head-to-head fight with the upstart hot promotion.

**Following the NXT news, the WWE stock closed at $74.51 on Tuesday with a 3.5% increase during the day.

**The current plan for international viewers is for NXT to premiere on the WWE Network on a 24-hour delay on Thursdays at 8 pm Eastern and then available on demand. That’s a big one for WWE to avoid the 30-day restriction that Raw and SmackDown are held to in their current deals. I have been asked nonstop about NXT airing in Canada and Sportsnet 360’s response has been that they “have nothing to share at this time.”

**NXT has officially canceled their next set of tapings at Full Sail University on Wednesday, September 11th and September 12th, considering the changes to the show. They will be honoring the tickets purchased for September 11th at the September 18th debut on the USA Network and tickets for September 12th will be honored on September 25th.

**The broadcast team for NXT is set to remain with Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Nigel McGuinness.

**A correction from Rewind-A-Raw, the episode of “Suits” I reference was not a repeat but was part of the ongoing season on the USA Network. “Suits” airs from 9-10 pm Eastern on the USA Network and is averaging 995,800 viewers this season with two more episodes remaining. I would peg that average as a barometer of what they would hope NXT could come close to, if not exceed.

**The SmackDown and 205 Live tapings are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is being promoted around the reveal of Roman Reigns’ attacker. The following is being advertised for tonight’s show:
*Kevin Owens vs. Elias in the King of the Ring tournament
*Andrade vs. Apollo Crews in the King of the Ring tournament
*Daniel Bryan vs. Buddy Murphy
*Drew Gulak, Mike Kanellis, Ariya Daivari, Angel Garza & Tony Nese vs. Oney Lorcan, Jack Gallagher, Akira Tozawa, Humberto Carrillo & Isaiah Scott in a Captain’s Challenge match on 205 Live

**Bloomberg has an article on Bushiroad, the parent company of New Japan Pro Wrestling, which took the company public in July. Yoshitaka Hashimoto, the CEO of Bushiroad, spoke to Bloomberg and emphasized taking New Japan global and citing video streaming as one tool. In the article, they attribute New Japan to being responsible for 20% of Bushiroad’s annual revenue last year, which grew to 28.9 billion yen ($271.9 million U.S.) for their fiscal year that ended in July 2018. Bloomberg listed New Japan’s annual sales at 5 billion yen ($47,045,000 U.S.). Hashimoto added that four of every ten New Japan fans are female and it was mentioned that when Bushiroad bought the company they encouraged the wrestlers to get on Twitter and interact with fans to grow the audience. Harold Meij added that “New Japan Pro Wrestling used to see themselves as just a sports organization. Now we consider every wrestler to be a piece of intellectual property, a kind of anime character.”

**Ronda Rousey was injured last week during the filming of an episode of “9-1-1” in Mexico. TMZ reported that Rousey was in the middle of a scene where it called for her to slam a car door and accidentally shut it on her fingers. The door injured her middle and ring fingers and she was rushed to hospital in San Diego. Rousey broke the middle finger and nearly severed a tendon while fracturing the tip of her ring finger. TMZ added that the middle finger was repaired with a bolt and screws and she returned to the set the following day.

**AEW will be holding the semi-finals of their upcoming tag title tournament on the October 23rd show from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Thus far, they have announced that Chuckie T. & Beretta will face Dark Order at All Out with the winning team receiving a bye in the opening round. On October 9th, the Young Bucks will face Private Party in the first round of the tournament.

**Sadie Gibbs and Big Swole have been added to the women’s Casino Battle Royale at All Out on August 31st at the Sears Center.

**MLW has announced that Kevin Von Erich will be appearing at the War Chamber tapings in North Richland Hills, Texas on September 7th. Von Erich will be in the corner of his sons, Marshall and Ross, in the War Chamber match where they team with Tom Lawlor and a mystery partner against Contra Unit.

**The UFC 241 prelims on Saturday averaged 817,000 viewers on ESPN featuring Khama Worthy vs. Devonte Smith in the featured fight. The prelims were up 13% from the UFC 240 prelims from Edmonton last month but were down 28.6% from the UFC 239 prelims during International Fight Week, which was the pay-per-view headlined by Jon Jones and Thiago Santos.

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About John Pollock 1887 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.