Is WWE making a mistake extending NXT to two hours?

first_imgOn Wednesday night, WWE’s third brand, NXT, will become a two-hour program. The first hour will take place on the USA Network at 8 p.m. ET., followed by the WWE network for the second hour. Going forward starting Oct. 2, both hours will be on the USA Network.Expectations are high for the show. WWE executive vice president and the godfather of NXT, Paul “Triple H” Levesque calls NXT the “alternative style,” which is what a lot of fans prefer to what they see on WWE’s two flagship shows Raw and Smackdown. But in recent years, the man wrestling pundits and fans have labeled a genius seems to have lost his Midas touch. Failing to create new stars and ideas — plus being out of touch with today’s fans — has led to ratings to tumble 14 percent on Raw and Smackdown year-over-year.The one consensus people have been positive about in regard to WWE is NXT. Levesque’s ability and vision of how wrestling should be presented is what has continued to make NXT stand out ahead of everything else in the company.But as long as the heart of the 74-year-old chairman is beating, he will be involved. Hopefully, the son-in-law of the “czar of wrestling” will be able to thwart him so NXT can have a real chance of succeeding. While there’s good to come with the move, there may also be some bad. Sporting News takes a look at the advantages — and disadvantages — of WWE moving NXT to two hours on the USA Network.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearAdvantages for WWE NXTConstant promotion from Monday Night Raw For the last five years, NXT has been exclusive to the WWE Network. As of July 25, the streaming service had 1.69 million subscribers. It is  consistently the top-rated show, but how many watch weekly is unknown. That changes on Wednesday.WWE has been promoting the show hard on its flagship station show. Last Monday, Raw averaged 2.12 million viewers; this past week’s show did 2.27 million. That’s not to say NXT is going to hit the mark or come close to the rating Raw draws. But promotion via commercials and in-broadcast discussions is going to make people more aware of NXT.Everyone who watches Raw isn’t watching NXT every week, but letting people at least see what the show is all about will allow them to make their decision on whether they will tune in every Wednesday night.Talent is going to get more opportunitiesBefore this switch, NXT had been a one-hour weekly show. You could only get so many people on the show in that timeframe.Many talented people are in the NXT system who haven’t been getting opportunities because of the old format, such as Keith Lee and Donovan Dijakovic. Now that changes. Will everyone on the NXT roster get to be on the show each week? No. But more people will get more chances to shine with time. The odds now increase of more stars being created, which in turn helps the company and the wrestlers down the line. Disadvantages for WWE NXT  Wrestling each week at the same arena. Full Sail University has been the home base for NXT since the beginning. The intimate venue where tapings have been held seats around 400. But conducting each show there weekly is going to be challenging; fans are going to experience fatigue from seeing the same thing each week. That won’t come across well to TV viewers, who will likely decide whether to continue watching based on the venue and a small, in-person crowd that might not be able to get excited for what’s right in front of them. It would be much easier for viewers to turn to TNT with All Elite Wrestling, where it will have crowds of 5,000-10,000 people every week.At some point, WWE is going to have to leave Full Sail and tour each Wednesday around the country to expose people to NXT if it wants to keep its product fresh. If they don’t do that, then people will stay with AEW and never turn back to them.Vince McMahonWhile Levesque made it clear this week that McMahon won’t have a say on what happens of each show, it’s tough to believe that will hold for the long haul. It’s Vince McMahon: WWE is his company, and he has his fingerprints on everything involving the organization. And there’s nothing wrong with that. He has put his blood, sweat, and tears into the WWE for more than 40 years.last_img