WWE announced on Tuesday that the NXT brand would be moving from the WWE Network to the USA Network starting on Sept. 18. The show would be extended to two hours and be switched over to a live broadcast from Full Sail University, leading many fans to believe the move was made to directly counterprogam AEW's upcoming live weekly show on TNT. Starting on Oct. 2, the two shows will air live at the same time (8-10 p.m. Eastern) every week, effectively creating the "Wednesday Night Wars" between the two brands.
However when Deadspin's David Bixenspan reached out to a WWE spokesperson regarding the move, they emphatically denied the decision being made to counter a potential competitor.
"The premise of your story is wrong," the spokesperson reported said to Bixenspan. "NXT has been on Wednesday nights since 2015 [sic] as I'm sure you know."
"It isn't called counter-programming if you continue to air a series on the same day/time as it has been on for nearly five years," they continued, later adding "Perhaps you'll ask AEW about counter-programming NXT."
Bixenspan was unable to get a direct comment from AEW, but Brandi Rhodes did comment on WWE's move in an interview with TribLive.
"I definitely can't speak for them and their business planning and thinking, but as far as AEW is concerned we're all for it. We are excited to be on Wednesday night," Rhodes said. "We've got amazing things lined up. We can't wait to get to air. We're actually on the TNT campus right now with a ton of meetings and going over all sorts of aspects of rolling into Oct. 2. It's a wild and great time for everyone. Our fans are going to be shocked, satiated and I think they will keep coming back for more."
The WWE official's comments mirrored a sentiment made by Triple H during a recent media conference call.1comments
"Contrary to what I've heard, because you hear people speculate and I've seen the conversations around FS1 or whatever it is with NXT and all that stuff, and then immediately, people come in with counterprogramming talk. We have content all over the place, and if people want to talk about counter-programming and bring that up in the conversation - like, Wednesday has been the home of NXT forever. Right?" Hunter asked. "That's where it's sat; it's been on our network on a Wednesday's time slot now forever.
"And when other people announce [their show] on Wednesday, you don't hear talk about counter-programming. You just hear, 'the announcement'. For us, everything is 'counterprogramming' and it's this and it's that — We plan things long in advance," he added.