This coming’s week’s episode of AEW Dynamite will air in its normal time slot on Wednesday night, marking the recommencement of the Wednesday Night Wars for the first time since mid-August.
Previously, the August 19 episode of Dynamite moved to Saturday 22nd and the August 26 episode to Thursday 27th, with NXT going on unopposed on Wednesdays.
The past two weeks the roles were reversed, with Dynamite back on Wednesdays and NXT moved to Tuesday nights, which resulted in major rating surges for both shows. This past week, Dynamite topped one million viewers for the first time since October, with the combined audience for both shows across the two nights beating RAW.
This has led to much discussion about whether WWE should move NXT to Tuesday nights permanently, which would undoubtedly benefit the black and gold brand. The issue is that NXT was launched on the USA Network opposite AEW to directly impact the new promotion’s numbers and attempt to put the blocks on them establishing a foothold.
As AEW Dynamite has routinely defeated NXT on Wednesday nights and bagged a new TV deal in January, that plan clearly has not worked.
WWE’s concern is the belief that AEW will be an unstoppable juggernaut if left unchecked and could potentially start rivalling RAW and SmackDown numbers, which a few years down the line could be a disaster when it comes to renegotiating lucrative television contracts.
If TV networks are able to get a higher-performing show for a fraction of the price, it seems a no-brainer they would explore that option, leaving WWE in a far worse position than it currently finds itself in now.
Nevertheless, USA Network officials and WWE officials have discussed the possibility of moving NXT to Tuesday nights, a move that was previously dismissed by WWE but is now, at the very least, “on the table”.
It will be interesting to see what the return to head-to-head competition does to the numbers of both shows this week and whether the combined viewing audience remains as strong as it has been when the shows have aired on different nights.
Check back on Thursday for the rating analysis from both shows.