In a groundbreaking move for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the company's "WWE NXT" brand is set to transition from the USA Network to The CW network starting next year, heralding a significant enhancement in rights fees for WWE.
This strategic shift, as detailed in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, may also bring a transformative change to "NXT" itself, with internal discussions considering turning it into a touring brand. Historically, "NXT" has primarily recorded its episodes at the WWE Performance Center or, previously, at Full Sail University.
However, this new deal with The CW could lead to "NXT" episodes being filmed live in various arenas across the United States, echoing the larger-scale productions of WWE's main roster shows. Although these plans are not finalized, the potential move to a touring model signifies WWE's commitment to elevating the NXT brand's profile.
NXT's Touring Prospects
The idea of transitioning from fixed venue tapings to a touring model brings with it a mix of opportunities and challenges. Financially, the increased rights fees from The CW deal would offset the additional costs incurred from touring.
Moreover, this change could potentially boost television ratings and bring about larger live event attendances, enhancing the overall excitement and fan engagement around "NXT" events. Conversely, moving away from a centralized training and taping location like the Performance Center could lead to reduced training time for WWE's developmental talent and increased travel demands.
These factors require careful consideration as they could impact the developmental process of upcoming WWE stars. In recent times, WWE has been integrating more of its main roster talent into the NXT brand. High-profile appearances, such as Becky Lynch's recent reign as the "WWE NXT" Women's Champion and the infusion of talent from "Raw" and "SmackDown" like Xia Li, Alpha Academy, Shotzi, and Tegan Nox, have already begun blurring the lines between the NXT and the main roster.
This trend was notably evident when WWE ramped up its NXT lineup to compete with "AEW Dynamite" for a one-night event. As WWE navigates these potential changes with NXT, the wrestling community eagerly awaits to see how these strategic moves will reshape the landscape of professional wrestling, both on-screen and behind the scenes.
This evolution of NXT not only marks a new chapter for WWE but also sets the stage for a dynamic and competitive era in sports entertainment.