After five years on the WWE Network streaming service, the NXT brand is moving to USA Network, beginning with a live broadcast on September 18. Debuting in 2010 on Syfy, NXT was originally a bizarre hybrid of wrestling show and game show, albeit a game show that's outcome was predetermined. By summer 2012, NXT had morphed into sort of a WWE farm league that operated as its own show with independent storylines and characters. By 2014, NXT began streaming weekly on the WWE Network, where it's remained ever since.
To the more hardcore professional wrestling fan, NXT represents what many wish WWE would be, a shorter, tighter show with a more old-school feel. NXT focuses more on great matches than comedic shenanigans, and its stories lean toward the style of the 1980s NWA days that boss Triple H grew up loving. Sure, there's still some comedy and "sports entertainment" offered on NXT, but far less than is seen weekly on Raw and SmackDown.
With that in mind, today's announcement has some fans worried, while others are hopeful for the future. In an email sent directly to WWE Network subscribers - and later in a post on their website - WWE officially revealed that NXT is set to make the move to USA beginning Wednesday, September 18 at 8pm EST. Additionally, the show will expand from one hour to two hours per week, and also be broadcasting live weekly from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. Previously, NXT was pre-taped in batches of 3-5 episodes one night per month.
It'll be interesting to see how Full Sail adjusts to holding weekly live events at its rather small facility, but there's no question the building will continue to sell out, as the NXT live audience is extremely loyal. One wonders though if expanding to two hours will help or hurt the show. On one hand, it won't be as breezy a watch anymore, but on the other, it'll offer talents more time to shine. Under the current schedule, top stars sometimes go weeks without appearing on NXT TV, due to having a large roster and only one hour per week to showcase it.
That said, there's another facet to this move worth mentioning, and it's that NXT is being placed directly opposite All Elite Wrestling's new Wednesdays at 8pm show that debuts on TNT on October 2. As much as WWE claims it doesn't fear the upstart promotion, clearly that's not entirely true, since this move appears on the surface to be an attempt to kneecap AEW from the start. As for WWE Network subscribers wondering what happens to NXT viewing on the service going forward, new episodes will now stream on Thursdays at 8pm, one day after the USA airings. NXT's quarterly TakeOver events are planned to remain WWE Network exclusives.