It’s become quite apparent in recent weeks that WWE is moving forward with a strategy of bringing more Raw and SmackDown wrestlers to the NXT television product. Main roster stars like Baron Corbin, Mustafa Ali, and Dana Brooke are among those who have made the jump to NXT. WWE really upped the ante this week when Bron Breakker challenged World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins to come fight him in NXT.
While discussing this situation, Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer noted that WWE CEO Nick Khan is the driving force behind this decision:
“The deal is, is that this is a Nick Khan thing...bring more main roster stars to NXT every week, boost the ratings, and try to up your price for a renewal from USA network because the ratings are higher. So that’s the strategy that they’re going with, and that’s why you’re gonna be seeing more main roster stars.”
WWE’s primary source of revenue comes from its television rights fees. Their current TV deals with NBCU and FOX bring in nearly 500 million dollars per year to WWE from 2019 through 2024, which led the company to record profit levels even during that early portion of the global pandemic where the Live Events portion of their business cratered in the empty arena era.
In other words, the TV rights fees for Raw and SmackDown are the most crucial aspect to WWE’s overwhelming financial success. The number one priority is to secure even more lucrative terms on the next deal(s). Those negotiations are underway as we speak. As part of that process, Nick Khan realizes the importance of increasing the value of the NXT TV product. Per Meltzer, Khan’s plan is to “put more main roster stars on NXT and make it a third brand, and not a developmental brand.”
The idea that WWE wants NXT to be a third brand alongside Raw and SmackDown, rather than a developmental brand more akin to the minor leagues, is something we’ve heard plenty of times before but never really pans out; there’s a long way to go before that can become a reality.
However, WWE business is booming at the moment, with TV ratings for Raw and SmackDown thriving across the board. NXT’s more meager numbers have been improving this month, so perhaps Khan’s strategy is working as planned. Either way, it looks to me like WWE is in a strong position to land an even better TV deal during these current negotiations.
What are your thoughts on seeing more main roster stars in NXT, Cagesiders?