In a significant shift in the professional wrestling landscape, WWE's NXT brand is set to transition from the USA Network to The CW in 2024. This move raises questions about the future television presence of other wrestling promotions, particularly the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).
Billy Corgan's NWA was reportedly in discussions with The CW for a television deal. However, these plans may be in jeopardy following NXT's move to The CW. Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, in the "Wrestling Observer Newsletter," highlighted WWE's traditional insistence on exclusive broadcasting rights for wrestling and combat sports on their networks.
This approach could potentially sideline other promotions from securing deals with The CW.
Uncertain Future for NWA
Meltzer also mentioned ongoing negotiations between The CW and the United Wrestling Network based in Los Angeles.
However, the prospects of this partnership seem uncertain in light of WWE's new agreement. Despite earlier reports suggesting that NWA's deal with The CW was nearly finalized, sources within WWE believe that NWA programming will not be broadcast on The CW's television channels.
A controversial segment involving substance abuse aired on a recent NWA pay-per-view, possibly influencing a shift in the deal's nature. This development might see NWA content being available exclusively on The CW's digital app rather than its television platform.
It's noteworthy that WWE is now under the ownership of Endeavor, a company not known for demanding exclusivity in broadcasting deals, particularly evident in their handling of UFC programming. There are indications of The CW's interest in featuring multiple wrestling promotions on its network.
This suggests that WWE's deal with The CW may not include exclusive broadcasting rights, opening the door for other promotions. This scenario could lead to a more diversified wrestling presence on mainstream television, offering fans a wider range of content.
Adding to the intrigue, sources close to the situation suggest that The CW is exploring innovative broadcasting formats and partnerships. This could include live specials, cross-promotional events, and unique programming formats, aiming to broaden the appeal of professional wrestling to new audiences and demographics.
As the landscape of professional wrestling continues to evolve, the role of television networks like The CW could become increasingly pivotal in shaping the future of the sport.