7:44am PT by Rick Porter
USA Network, WWE Bringing 'NXT' to Cable
Pro wrestling's Monday night wars came to a close in the early 2000s when World Wrestling Entertainment absorbed World Championship Wrestling after several years of one-upsmanship on their respective Monday TV showcases. Now, there may be a new battleground opening.
The WWE and USA Network announced Tuesday that the cable network will begin airing the weekly NXT shows starting Sept. 18. The show had previously run exclusively on the WWE Network streaming platform; USA will have the live shows exclusively on Wednesdays, with WWE Network making them available on Thursday nights. NXT TakeOver events will continue to stream exclusively on WWE Network.
The move simultaneously brings more WWE content to USA, which will say goodbye to Smackdown when it moves to Fox starting Oct. 4, and puts NXT directly opposite upstart All Elite Wrestling, which is set to begin weekly shows on TNT on Oct. 2.
USA remains the home for the WWE's weekly flagship, Monday Night Raw.
"The move to USA Network provides an opportunity to deepen our relationship with NBCUniversal and further build the NXT brand," said WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. "Over the long term our goal is to develop a following that can be monetized to the same level as our flagship programs, Raw and Smackdown."
Added USA and Syfy chief Chris McCumber, "USA Network and WWE have one of the longest and most successful partnerships in television history. As the No. 1 cable entertainment network, we’re excited to add NXT to our weekly lineup alongside powerhouse flagship Raw, and to bring a new generation of superstars to a wide audience."
NXT has developed a cult following among wrestling fans as the place to see up-and-coming WWE stars before they move to the main roster on Raw and Smackdown. All Elite Wrestling, meanwhile, is looking to forge a new path in the business with an emphasis on keeping story lines in the ring and keeping its performers healthy by having a less punishing schedule.