Dueling Wrestling Brands Battle For Viewership

Wednesday nights are blowing up like dynamite. 

Since its move to the USA Network in mid-September, WWE’s hottest brand NXT has been going head to head with wrestling’s newest brand, All Elite Wrestling. On Oct. 2, NXT put together a jam-packed show by showcasing its champions defending their titles, ironically the same day AEW went live on TNT. 

The creation of AEW came to be after Cody Rhodes, Matt & Nick Jackson, and Kenny Omega (current executive vice presidents) left their former wrestling promotions Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2018. On Jan. 2, Rhodes, Omega and the Jacksons officially signed on the dotted line and became official members of the AEW roster. Throughout 2019, AEW delivered special pay-per-views streamed on Bleacher Report Live, some of which included AEW: Double or Nothing and AEW: All Out. 

Captivating wrestling fans across the globe, AEW delivered big time by crowning Chris Jericho their first AEW World Champion and bringing back Jon Moxley, who earlier in the year departed from opponent company WWE. 

On the contrary, 2019 was a stellar year for NXT, kicking off with Johnny Gargano closing the chapter on his Cinderella story and winning the NXT Championship in an instant classic 2/3 falls against Adam Cole. As their rivalry continued throughout the summer, Cole won the title from Gargano at the following Takeover event. Not to mention NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler’s run of dominance, Finn Balor and Tomasso Ciampa returning and Velveteen Dream shining brightest under the spotlight. 2019 was also the year when Adam Cole’s golden prophecy became a reality as all four members of the Undisputed Era—Cole, Fish, O’Reilly and Strong—were draped in championship gold. 

Fast forward today and who would’ve thought we have two wrestling promotions versus one another once again? Die-hard fans feel nostalgia as it reminds them of the 2001 inter-promotional rivalry between WWE and WCW/ECW. 

Thus far, in seven weeks of head-to-head battle, AEW has won the ratings. On their debut episode Oct. 2,  AEW reeled in a superb 1.4 million viewers compared to NXT’s 891,000 viewers. In the following weeks, AEW has led the charge edging NXT in the ratings war. However, fans have compared the weekly episodes and are split to which of the two delivered better wrestling matches, storytelling, and presentation. 

On Nov. 9, AEW held another pay-per-view titled AEW: Full Gear, headlined by two mega matches featuring Cody Rhodes versus Chris Jericho for the AEW championship and Jon Moxley against Kenny Omega in an unsanctioned match. Unlike WWE’s Oct. 15 pay-per-view Hell in a Cell, fans were satisfied with the turnout from the event. 

With a promising future, wrestling fans can rejoice as we are front and center of wrestling greatness. Despite what show we tune into; our motive is to be entertained. With AEW and NXT to choose from, one can guarantee they won’t be disappointed and that is undisputed.