Former NXT producer Road Dogg has commented on the so-called Wednesday Night Wars and says NXT never viewed AEW as competition.
When AEW announced its weekly show Dynamite was to air on Wednesdays, WWE made moves to take NXT off the WWE Network and air it on the USA Network against the new programme.
The move caused a stir in wrestling fans and for those keeping score in the ratings, AEW Dynamite handily defeated its WWE-produced counterpart most weeks. Shortly after WrestleMania 37 in 2021, NXT moved to Tuesday nights, bringing the war to an end.
Speaking on Busted Open Radio, Road Dogg – who was part of the creative force behind NXT at the time – explained why those behind NXT never saw themselves as competition for their new rival:
“This is how I look at that. I’m trying to calm down a little before I react or respond. I don’t think NXT lost the head-to-head battle. I don’t think it was ever meant to. I think things got out of hand a little bit and USA agreed to a deal for NXT and Vince (McMahon) wanted that to be what it is now. He wanted it to be a total tryout thing. ‘Put these people on TV, we’ll see if they stick, and we’ll get them up here.'”
“Hunter has a different philosophy. ‘Train them, make sure they’re good to go before you put them on TV.’ It’s two totally different philosophies. Speaking from NXT, and I say this from sitting in every meeting when it was Black & Gold and writing, producing, and directing, we never once thought we were competing with those guys. We looked at ourselves as a developmental program.”
While the NXT roster at the time boasted the likes of Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest, Bianca Belair, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, and Finn Balor, Road Dogg doesn’t think it’s fair to compare a developmental program with what AEW was offering:
“I hope for AEW they weren’t thinking that beating a developmental program was a notch in their belt because it was people nobody had ever heard of on a Tuesday night against Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley.”
“I always thought that was apples and oranges and you can tell I take it personally because I worked there. Of course, we wanted to beat them, but we never thought we were in competition or had to write for competition. We just wrote the best show we could.”