Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Jericho Comments on NXT's Move to USA
All Elite Wrestling star Chris Jericho took to Twitter on Tuesday to address the announcement that WWE is moving NXT from WWE Network to USA Network for a two-hour show every Wednesday night beginning Sept. 18.
Jericho congratulated those involved with NXT and embraced the idea of competition:
When rumors of NXT moving to USA for a head-to-head battle with AEW on TNT surfaced Monday, Jericho appeared on SiriusXM's Busted Open Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Raj Giri) and expressed his belief that adding another hour to NXT and putting it on cable could be a bad move for WWE:
"I think WWE is great, but there's too much WWE as it is. By adding another two hours, that really dilutes the product, it dilutes their mindset, it dilutes the focus. It's a reactionary move that's done by a guy who wants to start a war. We don't care if you want to start a war, that was never our intention. There's no war for us, we're just doing what we're doing. People there don't like that and they're reacting to it, and it just dilutes their own product."
By putting NXT on USA Network, WWE is refusing to give AEW free reign over Wednesday nights. It is also a fairly low-risk move from WWE's perspective since NXT already aired Wednesdays on WWE Network, and the fact that it is staying at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, means the overhead should be relatively low compared to a touring show.
At best, NXT will outperform AEW and allow WWE to stave off any potential threat of legitimate competition. At worst, Triple H will lose his autonomy and the NXT product will change significantly, but there are still positives, such as NXT being elevated to the level of Raw and SmackDown, and its talent being given more time to shine.
Much like all eyes were on Monday nights during the Attitude Era, Wednesday nights will be huge for wrestling come October with both NXT and AEW airing up against each other.
205 Live Facing Uncertain Future
While 205 Live has given cruiserweight wrestlers a platform to shine for nearly three years, it reportedly could be operating on borrowed time.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), there has been talk of 205 getting canceled since it is viewed as a "failed experiment." This is despite the fact that WWE is reportedly planning to hold three-hour television tapings every Friday night when SmackDown moves to Fridays on Fox in October.
Since 205 Live currently airs after SmackDown, it is possible that the arrangement could continue. Per Meltzer, another possibility is that WWE will tape content for a one-hour show to air on FS1, perhaps even as part of the weekly studio show scheduled to air every Tuesday.
Another option could be to move 205 Live to Wednesday nights on WWE Network. It could replace the void left by NXT moving to USA Network and be taped as part of the two-hour NXT tapings every Wednesday night at Full Sail.
In that scenario, the 205 Live performers would likely garner better crowd reactions than they do currently, and it could be a good thing for a product as a whole.
Canceling 205 Live would leave many talented wrestlers without an obvious landing spot in WWE, and it could lead to the rosters for the other brands becoming even more bloated.
Because of that, there would seemingly be value in finding a spot for 205 Live somewhere among the hours of weekly WWE programming.
WWE's Reported Payday for Moving NXT to USA
Moving NXT from WWE Network to USA Network was reportedly a highly lucrative decision for WWE.
According to Meltzer (h/t Giri), USA will pay WWE a minimum of $50 million annually for the right to air NXT. That is in addition to the $265 million USA is paying for Raw per year and the $205 million per year Fox is shelling out for SmackDown.
Considering that and the fact that WWE can provide some counterprogramming to AEW, it is difficult to argue against the decision to make the move.
NXT production will be more costly since tapings are going to take place every week rather than once or twice per month, but the fact that everything is remaining in house at Full Sail helps the cause.
WWE is more lucrative than ever, and the elevation of NXT is another sign that the company is a juggernaut that is in no imminent danger regardless of how strong the competition is.
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