It appears this fall that AEW won’t be the only wrestling show on cable tv Wednesday Nights. Apparently WWE will soon be announcing NXT moving to USA Network. It is projected that it will be a two hour program that will run head to head with AEW’s show.
So forget the Monday Night Wars we are officially entering the Wednesday Night Wars. It is impossible to not notice the similarities of the two programs. They are both like a “Best of the Indies” card that caters to true wrestling fans. WWE is almost saying at this point that AEW can’t compete with their main roster bran, however they are willing to acknowledge that it is similar to their arguably most popular brand. The head to head will be won by a slim margin, and honestly most of these could go either way. Let’s examine the roster and think about where each brand will be able to take advantage.
AEW features Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, and Cody. NXT features Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, Matt Riddle, and Tommaso Ciampa. This one easily goes to AEW.
These guys have all been on top for a number of other companies. The guys in NXT are great but until now have never been “The Guy” for a company. However let’s not knock the core of NXT, these guys are young, talented, and the future of the business. The imidate draw goes to AEW but the future is up in the air.
AEW features Adam Page, MJF, Darby Allin, and Joey Janela. NXT features Velveteen Dream, Pete Dunne, Roderick Strong, and Kieth Lee.
Much like the AEW Main Event Scene the guys in NXT’s midcard are far more experienced and have bigger names. With that being said, just like the Main Event picture the AEW midcard is young, talented and the future of the business. Their average age is twenty five. These guys will be around forever.
AEW has The Young Bucks, Lucha Brothers, SCU, Best Friends, and Private Party. NXT has umm well the Undisputed Era and Street Profits. Clear winner here is AEW. NXT has a great history of amazing Tag Teams but their current roster is pretty barren.
AEW has Britt Baker, Kylie Rae, Nyla Rose, and Brandi Rhodes. The undercard for AEW is also really strong with Awesome Kong, Bae Priestley, Penelope Ford, and Allie. Plus they can tap Triple A for talent like Evalese.
NXT is in a transition period Shayna Baszler and Candice LeRae are their top assets. With Mia Yim, Io Shirai, Dakota Kai, and Bianca Belair.
This one is close but I have to give the advantage to AEW for now.
On Air Talent:
AEW has Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Alex Marvez. This three man booth has been really bad at times during AEW PPV’s. With legends like Tony Schiavone and up and comers like Chris Van Vliet in the wings it’s only a matter of time till they make some changes.
NXT is locked in with Mauro Ranallo, Nigel Mcguinness, and Percy Watson. Those guys have been working together for a while. So because of the uncertainty and lack of chemistry in AEW I give the point to NXT for now.
I think a really important thing to keep in mind here is the “reserves”. For example, it wouldn’t be unheard of for NXT to bring in talent from other WWE brands. Whether it’s pulling former NXT favorites from the Main Roster like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayne, Aleister Black, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, or Niki Cross.
To straight up taking talent from 205 Live and NXT UK. Adding the likes of Drew Gulka, Drake Maverik, Oney Lorcan, Jack Gallagher, Mustache Mountain, Jack Rae, Zack Gibson, Walter, Toni Storm, Piper Nivem and Rhea Ripley begins to make this a one sided fight.
So unless AEW can start to work out some talent exchange deals with New Japan I fear they may just not have enough guns in the fight.
If I may make a comparison. DC Comics has Batman and Superman. Iconic brands that reach around the world. Much like AEW’s Kenny, Cody, Jericho, and Moxley. However Marvel has a litany of heros, not one maybe as big as Batman or Superman, but by committee the Avengers, and Marvel create a more entertaining brand. A brand that has no end to the number of stories it can tell because the majority of their roster is on an even playing field.
It could be this complex that defines the Wednesday Night Wars. As much as we would like to see AEW succeed they may be too heavily reliant on their big four to carry the load. Where as WWE will have a roster packed to the gills with young exciting talent that can help give them an edge on AEW.