Now that NXT is officially moving to Tuesday nights starting on Apr. 13, the Wednesday night war is just about over. It was an extremely lopsided battle, considering that AEW dominated NXT in the ratings nearly every single week since the war began in October 2019.
For the last month, we’ve read the reports and rumors about NXT moving away from Wednesday nights, but WWE didn’t announce the news until this week. On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer explained that there was a team meeting before this week’s NXT television show. Here is how Meltzer characterized the message that was conveyed to the talent during that meeting:
“So there was actually a team meeting before the show tonight, about the move to Tuesday. So they started out talking about how six years ago at WrestleMania 31...how the little NXT promotion sold out a show (in San Jose) and look how far we’ve come. And they’ve always been on Wednesday nights. And then the competition came to their night and tried to bully them...but now that they have Raw as the lead-in, and they have the night to themselves, everything is going to change.”
The idea that a WWE branded product is the little engine that could in comparison to a brand new promotion on the scene is rich. If Meltzer’s account is accurate, then it’s also amusing that behind the scenes WWE is sticking with the public spin that a show that airs 24 hours earlier is somehow a game-changing lead-in for Tuesday night programming. I don’t think that’s how television lead-ins work, folks.
NXT’s ratings should improve on Tuesday nights, away from direct competition with AEW. And there’s no doubt that NXT has a lot to be proud of what they’ve accomplished over the last seven years. But it seems insulting to the wrestlers’ intelligence to instead focus this message on AEW being a bunch of bullies, and putting the shine on Raw as a great lead-in for NXT going forward.
UPDATE: Dave Meltzer has clarified that the word “bully” might not have actually been used in the meeting:
In last night's description of the meeting Paul Levesque had with talent, while the description was largely what was said, two people have said the "bully" line was never said.— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) April 1, 2021