Shawn Michaels has been involved behind-the-scenes at NXT for a while now. So long that he’s almost as associated with the black-and-gold brand as Triple H or William Regal.
That’s why heading into a loaded show on Mar. 10, it’s HBK who’s doing press, and addressing the promised “game changing announcements” and other reports we’ve been hearing about NXT’s future.
It’s in an interview with New York Post that Michaels gave an answer about NXT moving to Tuesday that reads as confirmation those reports are true:
“It’s always clearly easier when you’re sort of destination programming, so to speak. Nothing would change certainly for us. We still try to put the best show out there that we can. Clearly, I know that’s everybody’s goal. I think it would only be fair to say everyone knows that when you are not competing against another similar show that it makes it a little bit easier. It allows people to enjoy that. And then you think about the follow from Raw the next night. So, clearly, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.“
He’s not wrong. NXT and AEW Dynamite did seem to both benefit when they weren’t head-to-head for a couple weeks last fall, so this isn’t entirely spin.
It also might not be necessary, however. The rationale for NXT moving to Tuesdays had been that NBCUniversal would prefer to have hockey on USA Wednesday nights after they shut down their cable Sports Network. But they’ll need to secure NHL rights first.
Their deal expires after the current season, and Disney has already reportedly won a bid to bring hockey back to ESPN in the fall. The NHL will have another broadcast partner, but NBC is said to be competing with FOX and CBS for those rights. As they’re looking at spending billions to keep the NFL on Sunday nights, the chairman of NBC’s parent company Comcast, Brian Roberts, said they’ll need to make “tough decisions” on current relationships.
We’ll see if they still have deep pockets for hockey. If they do, or if TV execs decide to move NXT anyway, Shawn Michaels is ready.