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With AEW Cruising in Wednesday Night Wars, NXT Needs to Take Its Show on the Road

NXT logo
NXT logo

There was a time in the Wednesday Night Wars in pro wrestling where it looked like AEW and NXT were going to be neck-and-neck. After the initial euphoria of the upstart AEW wore off and WWE started infusing NXT with talents who'd had exposure on the main roster, NXT had a stretch from November 20th through December 18th where they won three evenings, lost one, and tied one. However, the shows' fortunes have diverged from there, and AEW has won the battle for 10 straight weeks.

This Wednesday, AEW averaged 906,000 viewers on TNT and NXT averaged 718,000 viewers on USA. AEW, after winning every demo last week, won every demo this week other than a tie in 50-plus, according to Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer.

NXT is still a fun pro wrestling show, and there are talents like Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, the Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong), Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, and Rhea Ripley. However, when you watch it side-by-side with AEW, NXT feels minor league. This is even true in cases where NXT is running segments that have more compelling stories or performers. The arena at Full Sail University, which has served NXT phenomenally with engaged live audiences and proximity to their performance center where wrestlers are trained, just does not compare to the buildings and audience sizes that AEW is running at the same time every week.

The time has come for NXT to go on the road for their Wednesday night shows. There would definitely be an audience waiting for them, and it would go a long way towards making their television presentation feel like you have to watch it live as opposed to on DVR. AEW has had very strong storytelling of late, and the live crowds have been a catalyst for it that make it feel special and essential.

In case you're curious, these were the viewership totals for the respective shows in February:

2/5
AEW - 928K
NXT - 770K

2/12
AEW - 817K
NXT - 757K

2/19
AEW - 893K
NXT - 794K

2/26
AEW - 865K
NXT - 717K