It has been over a year since NXT and AEW Dynamite have been competing head to head on Wednesday nights. But AEW Dynamite completely had the upper hand for the year. They beat NXT 46-10 if you consider the overall viewership. But if you consider the important 18-49 demo NXT never came close to beating AEW. NXT only managed to beat AEW Dynamite in the overall viewership when they did old WCW themed shows, like “The Great American Bash”, “The Halloween Havoc” etc.
Only a few months ago on 6th July 2020, I wrote another blog “Why NXT Will Regularly Beat AEW Dynamite In The Ratings” in this blog I predicted that NXT will regularly beat AEW Dynamite in the future. The reason I wrote that blog because AEW was doing too much comedy wrestling, had no rules in tag team matches, doing circus acts with Marko Stunt, Sonny Kiss, Joey Jenella, Orange Cassidy, etc. But they managed to pull it together and turn things around.
In this blog, I am mainly going to focus on why NXT not beating AEW Dynamite. I am mainly going to focus on the factors in NXT.
NXT is treated like a developmental brand
When WWE moved NXT to USA networks they treated it like a third brand. They tried their best to make it compete with AEW. NXT was involved in the 2019 survivor series, it felt important. They even moved a few main roaster wrestlers to NXT just to get an edge over AEW. But in 2020 AEW brought huge names to their show such as Brodie Lee (Luke Harper), Miro (aka Rusev), FTR (aka revivals), Lance Archer, Brain Cage, etc. It has become extremely tough for NXT to compete with AEW. Plus WWE in 2020 slowly losing their interest in the Wednesday Night Wars, treating NXT like a developmental brand once again. NXT was not involved in the 2020 survivor series. They are not even mentioned or promoted in the main shows such as Raw or SmackDown.
Too Many Key NXT wrestlers are promoted to the main roaster
Making a wrestler into a star is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of time and need organic reactions from the fans. Over the years WWE have been promoting NXT wrestlers to the main brand. Big names such as Rollins, Roman, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens started out in NXT.
But now NXT is on the USA networks, on live television competing with AEW. But still, WWE took some of their key wrestlers to NXT. Keith Lee was turning into a massive star on NXT, he was getting big ratings, his matches usually got more ratings than AEW, but WWE moved him to Raw doing nothing special.
Matt Riddle was also a well known name on NXT, he was promoted to SmackDown, he is also doing nothing special at this time.
There are also a few rumors that they are planning to move Rhea Ripley to the main roaster. If they keep taking away key wrestlers from NXT they will not stand a chance against AEW.
At this moment WWE is treating NXT like a sacrificial lamb which is just there to take away viewers from AEW.
AEW got bigger stars
AEW got more star power than NXT, they got big names such as Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Matt Hardy, Brodie Lee, Miro, Lance Archer, Brian Cage, and now most recently STING!! Bringing Sting aboard means they can bring back more lapsed WCW fans.
They also have some hot young rising stars such as MJF, Darby Allin, Ricky Starks, Sammy Guevara, etc. There is a good mix of star power and young talents.
NXT is a WWE product
At the end of the day, NXT is a WWE show. This means it has got the PG restrictions, it is heavily scripted. It is difficult to get invested in any particular superstars because we know that at one point they are going to be promoted to the main roaster and will most probably just a mid-card act. It has got too many wrestling without enough storylines.
As a casual fan I simply view NXT as Vanilla Midget club, where random unimportant wrestlers have a good match. It has been almost 8 years, I didn’t even watch a single full NXT show.