Former WWE champion and current Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul "Triple H" Levesque knows a thing or two about wrestling ratings wars, having been through the then-WWF's ultimate Monday night victory with Raw over WCW and its Nitro program in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Two decades later, Triple H is in a ratings war of a different kind, as NXT faces off against AEW on Wednesday nights.
AEW has won in the ratings for 14 straight weeks, but Triple H told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated that he's most concerned about the quality of the NXT product and the "long-term game":
"I'm a believer in the long-term game. You create the right product, and over time, people will find it. I think back to Monday nights years ago, and it looks different now, but there were periods of time when WWE was putting on much better shows and the content was much better, but we were still getting beat. We were not winning 'the war,' but we stayed true to who we were.
"If it's a flash and it's exciting at first but you can't maintain it, then it loses that pizzazz. It's long-term duration, for me, that's how you win. I've been saying it since the beginning—I'm not concerned about those numbers week-to-week. It's about trying to put out the best show you can every week."
WCW beat WWF for 84 straight weeks in 1996 and 1997, but the Attitude Era proved to be a game-changer and launched the now-WWE into the No. 1 spot for wrestling entertainment. The WWE eventually bought WCW in 2001.
Both NXT and AEW are long on talent and intriguing storylines.
AEW has some of the WWE's most popular stars from previous years, most notably Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose) and a solid group of young, rising talent. They've also put on some epic matches and told layered stories through them during their pay-per-views, with AEW: Full Gear in November standing out.
On the flip side, NXT is the wrestling equivalent of a loaded farm system in Major League Baseball, with its women's division standing out as particularly strong. Barrasso wrote the following:
"The women's division in NXT features some of the most talented rising stars in wrestling and offers remarkable depth. Wednesday's ladder match includes Chelsea Green, Tegan Nox, Candice LeRae, Mia Yim, Dakota Kai and Io Shirai, a collection of wrestlers who would star—and, in some cases, already have—for any promotion in the world."
NXT has also produced Keith Lee and a heated rivalry between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, with Killer Kross waiting in the wings.
While it's unclear who ends up winning the Wednesday Night Wars, the winner right now is the fan as both promotions try to provide the best possible product every week.