As we all now know, WWE NXT and All Elite Wrestling will be going head-to-head on cable television starting this fall. NXT moves to USA Network on Sept. 18, then AEW premieres on TNT Oct. 2, and the Wednesday Night War will begin.
Bleacher Report (who it must be noted is owned by WarnerMedia, which also owns TNT and therefore has skin in this game) spoke to All Elite Executive Vice-President Cody Rhodes about the competition between the two shows. Rhodes says all the right things about giving fans more choices. Then he plays into a fear many NXT fans have about how that brand might change after moving off WWE Network and into a high-profile fight for ratings (emphasis mine):
There’s been speculation Vince will get more involved with the black-and-gold brand, but since the official announcement about the move, we’ve continued to hear that Triple H and his team will remain the stewards of the show.“I think the most important night in all of wrestling is now Wednesday nights. The best wrestling is going to be happening on Wednesday nights. It’s destination TV, and when’s the last time wrestling was destination TV? It’s now must-watch, and I’m not going to complain about that...Wrestling fans now have a choice, and I hope they choose us.
I’m oddly intrigued to see what Vince McMahon does with NXT. My dad was instrumental in building the NXT brand. For a long time, It had been a developmental project. For Vince to now bring it to the USA Network as if it’s a full brand, I’m just intrigued by it.”
Cody’s subtly planting a seed that Vince won’t be able to keep his hands off the show now that NBCUniversal is paying tens of millions for its broadcast rights, and now that it’s a big weapon in his newest war.
Will his psychological tactic make any difference?
Only a little more than a month until we start finding out.