Thanks to the launch of the WWE network, NXT has found itself suddenly thrust into the spotlight.
In fact, WWE: NXT is even airing opposite the first hour of TNA's flagship show Impact on Thursday nights.
While this isn't exactly a killer blow for America's No. 2 promotion, it's difficult to see how it can be good news.
Curiously, last Thursday's Impact rating, which marked the first time the show had aired head-to-head with NXT, was down significantly, as F4Wonline (via WrestlingInc) mentioned.
Thursday Night Wars, here we come!
And the previously low-profile NXT's journey to relevance looks set to continue.
Per a recent report in this week's (subscribers only) Wrestling Observer Newsletter, management is set to give the developmental territory a major push in its own right as a “pure wrestling product” in the upcoming months. Dave Meltzer writes:
The talent in NXT was told at the TV tapings that the NXT product would be pushed more significantly now that the network is up. They were told that the company wants to get behind NXT as this pure wrestling product within the WWE. While some people may be brought up, like Emma, it's going to be slow and for everyone to be patient with the idea that with the network, they'll all be getting lots of exposure even without a call up.
This is a compelling, and possibly very astute, idea on WWE management's part.
Many fans have complained vociferously over the years about WWE's over-reliance on wacky storylines, crazy characters and long-winded promos at the expense of a quality wrestling product.
Will NXT affect Impact's ratings?
It seems to be the main reason Ring of Honor and other indie companies like Dragon Gate USA and Evolve have managed to attract small but devout cult followings. (These companies, ROH in particular, usually push wrestling as a sport, rather than sports entertainment.)
Even TNA has—dubiously, it has to be said—pushed the idea over the past decade that it is more wrestling-focused that its competitor.
However, in making NXT a product mainly preoccupied with in-ring action, could WWE be attempting to supplant its indie competitors once and for all?