Friday, December 1

NXT Pulls Almost One Million Viewers, Comfortably Beating AEW Dynamite

The wrestling world’s clock was turned back this week as AEW Dynamite and NXT aired on the same night. A regular occurrence when both shows aired on Wednesday night, but a battle that had been put on pause after NXT moved to Tuesday nights. Despite WWE’s protests, it felt like NXT moved nights after getting beaten week after week in the ratings. If only WWE had thought to have Cody Rhodes, The Undertaker, and John Cena on the show back then.

NXT Wins This Round

All three of those massive Superstars made NXT appearances this week, and despite Dynamite being dubbed Title Tuesday with some big championships changing hands, AEW just couldn’t compete. According to Nielsen (via Variety), Tuesday’s episode of NXT was watched by 921,000 people, and Dynamite, which aired at the same time, drew a rating of just 609,000. This round goes to WWE, and we don’t know when exactly the two shows will face off again.

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No, neither number compares to the ratings WWE and WCW drew during the Monday Night War, nor was NXT watched by as many fans as watch Raw and SmackDown each week despite the loaded guestlist. If Triple H and Shawn Michaels were really out to send a message to AEW, as was reported earlier this week, then consider that message sent. That said, I’m not entirely sure the message the WWE bosses wanted to send is the one AEW received.

Shawn Michaels & Triple H Cropped

Message Sent?

I’m assuming the message Triple H and HBK wanted to send was that WWE has the clout to counter-program AEW at the drop of a hat. While that was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, you might also argue it was an indicator that WWE doesn’t have faith in the stars who appear on NXT every week. In fact, it doesn’t even have faith in stars like Dominik Mysterio and Becky Lynch who have been appearing in NXT pretty regularly, and it needed more firepower than that to make sure it beat Dynamite in the ratings.

Higher-ups at WWE will be celebrating behind the scenes nevertheless, even if they don’t want to admit it. We might well see Tony Khan and perhaps some others from AEW react a little more publicly. When Khan heard the news about WWE wanting to send a message, the AEW owner began replying to fans, even mentioning the allegations made against Vince McMahon in one of his posts. If I were Khan, I’d ignore the numbers and move on. Since it was a very irregular episode of NXT, I don’t think it’s worth AEW losing sleep over.

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