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New reports offer more details regarding NXT on USA plans

Last night’s rumor mill churned out a landscape-changing item. After lots of speculation WWE would move NXT to FS1 as counter-programming against All Elite Wrestling’s new live Wednesday night show on TNT, it now sounds like USA Network is the likely landing spot for Triple H’s black-and-gold brand.

Follow-up reports this morning (Sat., Aug 17) offer more details - and even more questions - about what such a move would mean.

Both Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer and PWInsider’s Mike Johnson agree that we should expect an announcement about the move soon, as Vince McMahon wants to beat AEW to the 8 - 10PM Eastern time slot. An Insider source discussed NXT’s Sept. 11 taping as a possible launch date. There’s a second taping booked for Full Sail Live the following night, so they could conceivably premiere live on the 11th, then tape for future episodes on the 12th.

NXT becoming a two hour show sounds like a done deal, but how often or how much of it is live seems to still be under discussion. Meltzer says there will be a “live component” every week, and Johnson points out WWE hasn’t taken Thursday tapings on Sept. 12 and Oct. 24 off their internal schedule. That would indicate there are still plans to pre-tape some segments and matches, at least for a while.

It’s the rush to get established in their new home before All Elite starts on Oct. 2 that leaves a lot of questions. Insider says they’ve confirmed NXT staffers in Florida were told this past week to be prepared to produce a longer show as “things would be changing very soon”.

There’s also debate about whether choosing USA over FS1 is a smart play. The former gets them in more homes, and on a network wrestling fans are used to tuning into for WWE product. The latter likely would have preempted NXT due to college basketball several months each year, too. But Fox’s cable sports channel could have potentially opened up the brand to more new viewers, however, and likely gotten a lot more promotion than the NBCUniversal channel will give them. Meltzer also raised the question on Wrestling Observer Radio of if Fox might be less likely to push the overall WWE brand if they only have one of the three shows under their umbrella.

And who will be running a two hour NXT each week? Meltzer believes McMahon and Kevin Dunn would be involved, but also points out VKM already has too many balls in the air - and that before the XFL re-launches in Feb. 2020. Among the things Vince is currently juggling are question a move raises like when NXT would air on WWE Network if it moves to television, or how this would impact international distribution deals which include the brand.

The one thing which seems crystal clear is that change is coming to what started as a developmental tool. Whether those changes will be good or bad for the talent, fans, the company or the business... we’ll start finding out soon enough.

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