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Daily Update: BJ Penn, ROH tournament, Brian Cage

DAILY UPDATE

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F4W NEWSLETTER: NXT moving to USA Network Joseph Currier looks at the implications of NXT going head-to-head with AEW. Plus, Vinny's TV reviews and live NJPW report.

The early stages of the modern-day pro wrestling war between WWE and AEW picked up last week as NXT’s move to the USA Network was officially announced.

The move will begin on Wednesday, September 18, meaning that NXT on USA will get a two-week head start before AEW premieres on TNT on October 2. NXT will become a two-hour show and will be live on USA Network, with NXT and AEW going head-to-head and airing from 8-10 p.m. Eastern time.

After debuting on USA, the NXT episodes will be made available on demand on the WWE Network every Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern. TakeOver events will continue to stream live exclusively on WWE Network.

Full Sail University will also remain the home venue of NXT, with WWE announcing NXT TV dates at Full Sail through the remainder of the year.

“The move to USA Network provides an opportunity to deepen our relationship with NBCUniversal and further build the NXT brand,” Vince McMahon said in a press release. “Over the long term, our goal is to develop a following that can be monetized to the same level as our flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown.”

"Can’t describe this announcement in any other word than PROUD,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque tweeted. “Proud of everyone involved from day one. Proud you’ve let your voice be heard and carried the banner of this brand. Proud you’ve loudly & clearly said #WeAreNXT. And I’m proud to say, we’re just getting started."

WWE has denied that NXT going to USA is a response to AEW, with a WWE spokesman telling Deadspin that “It isn’t called counter-programming if you continue to air a series on the same day/time as it has been on for nearly five years.” Though it may be spin, the statement has enough truth to it that WWE doesn’t look completely ridiculous. NXT (in its one-hour taped format on the WWE Network) has long been a Wednesday night show, but it’s hard to believe that WWE wouldn’t have counter-programmed AEW regardless of what night it aired on.

It’s a smart business move for WWE to give AEW competition on Wednesday nights. It’s been estimated that USA is paying WWE $30-50 million per year, though the length of the deal isn’t known. When TNA would face any competition from WWE, the ratings for Impact would decrease. AEW is going to need to put on a must-see show that has a broad coalition of viewers. They have a significant core fanbase made up of those who are already invested in The Elite, but they have to go beyond that and draw casual fans, lapsed fans, people who are dissatisfied with WWE, and others who like WWE but are willing to try out a new product. The most important thing for the future of AEW is that they build their audience and make as much money as possible on their second TV deal. Having to go against NXT is inevitably going to cannibalize some of their viewership. The only question is how big of a hit AEW is going to take.

WON NEWSLETTER: August 26, 2019 Observer Newsletter: Birth of the Wednesday Night WarDetails on NXT and AEW competing on Wednesday nights, plus tons of news.

The birth of the Wednesday Night War is the top story in the new edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 

We discuss how the NXT to USA deal came about, when NXT wrestlers were told, how this impacts the WWE/Fox relationship, and what this means for the NXT brand, going forward. 

We have details on the finances of the NXT to USA deal, and we break down the head-to-head aspect of NXT vs. AEW. We also have comments from a major television executive who gives his perspective on the deal, as well as the potential for audience burnout. 

A story on the latest AEW TV taping sellouts is also featured in the new issue. We also have notes on the secondary ticket market demand for all of the AEW shows. 

An obituary for Eddie Marlin is also in the new issue, with a ton of details on his life. 

Also in this issue, Ryan Frederick covers this past weekend's UFC show, and we have detailed TV ratings and business notes on the show. 

We also wrap up our G1 coverage with a detailed breakdown of each individual's star ratings for the tournament. 

We have full coverage of all the WWE television shows from the past week.

As always, we have in-depth looks at the ratings of all the major shows,the key demos for the WWE shows and what can be learned from them.

We also have the results of all the major pro wrestling events around the world over the past week.

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WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE

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WWE

  • On last night’s SmackDown, The Miz challenged Shinsuke Nakamura to an Intercontinental title match at Clash of Champions. WWE has yet to officially add it to the card for the PPV.
  • Drake Maverick won the 24/7 title from Elias on SmackDown. The title change happened after Kevin Owens stunned Elias.
  • Owens tweeted out an explanation for why he didn’t go after the 24/7 title: “I have a family. I have 3 dogs and 3 cats. I have responsibilities. I can’t worry about being rolled up by some dude while I’m dropping my kids off at school or enjoying a lovely night out with my wife. Congrats @WWEMaverick, though. Have fun with all of that.”
  • WWE posted a video setting up Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado for next week’s 205 Live. Carrillo is challenging for Drew Gulak’s Cruiserweight title at Clash of Champions.
  • Cesaro got his braces off for the first time since injuring his teeth nearly two years ago.
  • Triple H took part in a FOX Sports town hall today.
  • Toni Storm spoke to Sportskeeda about the shoulder issue she dealt with prior to UK TakeOver: Cardiff: “But yeah, I did have a little bit of an issue with my shoulder and I just needed to take a break because there's so much at stake. I'm going into the biggest match of my career so far. My biggest title defence since being champion. So I just have to actually take care of myself for a few weeks leading into this. I can't take any risks at the moment because what we do to our bodies can be so dangerous so I'm basically just getting myself in proper condition because there's so much at stake."
  • Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was asked about potentially appearing in WWE: “With wrestling, I don't feel like I would be a full-time wrestler, but there is one thing I'm down for. And that's to do one crazy match. Practice it for a little bit, go out there, like in a Royal Rumble, go out there, I got my friend in WWE [Mojo Rawley], practice it and do a full-on WWE match. I'm not saying when. Maybe five years. I got the rest of my life to do that. I've always dreamed about doing that, just one time, going in there and going full out. That may be a possibility, one time, down the road.”
  • WWE uploaded the second video in their two-part series on Karen Q and the broken leg she suffered at an NXT house show last month.
  • Alexa Bliss wrote about the meaning of her new tattoo.
  • AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson appeared on this week’s episode of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia.

Pro Wrestling

  • The semifinals and finals of ROH’s number one contender’s tournament will take place at Glory By Honor in New Orleans on October 12. The tournament will begin at next month’s Death Before Dishonor PPV and post-PPV TV tapings, with the winner getting a World title shot at Final Battle. The participants for the tournament will be revealed tomorrow and Friday.
  • In a post on Instagram, Brian Cage wrote that he’s in Colombia for stem cell therapy: “I know many might be upset with my inactive title reign. Trust me, no one is more disappointed than me. Right when I reach the top of the iceberg I'm dealt with nothing but set back after set back due to injury. Everytime I try to push through, I get another set back. This is not the champion I wanted to be. I wanted to be a fighting champion, not a once in a while attraction you'd see else where. And I've done everything possible to heal and recover, and in a timely manner. And that's why I'm in Colombia seeking the world's best stem cell therapy from @bioxcellerator_. I'm not gonna stop and to quote another machine, 'I'll be back.’” Rey Mysterio is also in Colombia getting treatment.
  • The Women’s title match at PROGRESS Wrestling’s Still Chasing show at Alexandra Palace on September 15 will officially be Jordynne Grace defending against Meiko Satomura.
  • AEW uploaded a brief ad for their Countdown to All Out special that airs on TNT at 10 p.m. Eastern time this Friday.
  • Starrcast posted a new promo video for CM Punk’s appearance at Starrcast III.

UFC/MMA

  • TMZ posted two videos of BJ Penn getting into a fight in Hawaii. One video shows Penn getting knocked out with punches on the street, while the other shows Penn later raining down punches on the same person from the other video outside of a bar. A representative for Penn told MMA Junkie that Penn was attacked first. Penn previously got into a fight with a bouncer at a strip club in June.
  • TMZ also reported that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has reached a deal where he won’t have to serve jail time in his domestic violence case.
  • Dana White addressed the sexual assault allegation against Conor McGregor that the New York Times reported on in March: “I know zero about that. To be honest with you, the back and forth that I’ve had with him about that, it’s not him. It’s somebody else so I don’t know.”
  • Dana White responded to Paige VanZant saying she can make more money from sponsorships on social media than fighting in the UFC: “Good for her. That’s awesome. If a fighter can make more money doing other things, good for her.”
  • White said Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till was booked for Till’s middleweight debut because it was the fight that Till insisted on.
  • Paulo Costa won’t be able to fight at middleweight in California again unless he gets clearance from the commission by proving he can fight safely at that weight.
  • Dustin Poirier thinks Tony Ferguson “100 percent” deserves the next lightweight title shot after UFC 242.
  • Carlos Condit vs. Mickey Gall is set for the UFC’s ESPN show in Washington, D.C. on December 7.

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