AEW star Chris Jericho fired back at WWE NXT founder Triple H on Tuesday regarding the Wednesday night ratings battle between AEW and NXT.
During a recent appearance on Cheap Heat with Peter Rosenberg (h/t Bryan Rose of F4WOnline), Triple H referred to the rivalry between AEW and NXT as an "imaginary war" on Wednesday nights:
"The promotional opportunity for us is much better on a Tuesday. And also then not having to have a narrative where it's just constantly about an imaginary war, or this imaginary battle. And, you know, people can say what they want, but the truth of the matter is you compete against everything. If you are creating a television product or content—that is the world we live in is content not television, not internet. It's everything. So you're constantly competing for eyeballs and time against everything under the sun, including sleep and time to do other things, and video games, and TikTok and everything else that's out there."
In an interview with Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post, Jericho suggested Triple H created the "imaginary war" narrative only because AEW had higher ratings the vast majority of the time:
"It will be there for the rest of time, it was an 'imaginary war,' and if it wasn't a war why did they take Wednesday night the exact same time that we had? It was there to take away our ratings and for us not to get re-signed. Three months after that started we were re-signed to a hundreds-of millions-of-dollars extension. They failed."
After more than a year of AEW and NXT going head-to-head on Wednesday nights, NXT moved to Tuesdays on April 13, marking the end of the Wednesday night wrestling war regardless of whether it was real or imagined.
"That's typical WWE. It's typical rhetoric. Because I believe that they congratulated us the first week and said, if you remember, 'It's a marathon, not a sprint.' We won the marathon, right? So now it's an imaginary war. Well then why were they saying it's a marathon, not a sprint a year-and-a-half ago when our first rating came out?"
Jericho was referencing a statement WWE released after AEW and NXT went head-to-head for the first time in 2019. AEW won in viewership and had a higher rating in the 18-49-year-old demographic.
Per Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com, the statement read:
"Congratulations to AEW on a successful premiere. The real winners of last night's head-to-head telecasts of NXT on USA Network and AEW on TNT are the fans, who can expect Wednesday nights to be a competitive and wild ride as this is a marathon, not a one-night sprint."
NXT would go on to win the viewership battle on occasion, but AEW came out on top 63 of the 75 times the brands went head-to-head, according to Staszewski. AEW also won the demo 74 out of 75 times.
With NXT now on Tuesdays, both AEW and NXT have their own nights and face no direct competition in terms of wrestling shows, which should help both moving forward.
AEW Dynamite had over 1 million viewers in each of its first two uncontested weeks before dropping to 889,000 last week, while NXT's ratings have been up as well, including a 2021-high 805,000 viewers three weeks ago.
AEW and WWE may never agree on the validity of the Wednesday night wrestling war, but the fact it has come to an end is paying dividends for both brands in a space that has room for more than one company to succeed.
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