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Daily Update: IC title anniversary, AEW, UFC notes

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: September 2, 2019 Observer Newsletter: Changes in the wrestling landscape in the coming weeks

Questions regarding NXT vs. AEW's upcoming showdown that will determine the wrestling landscape is the lead topic of discussion in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 

We raise fourteen questions regarding the Wednesday Night War, and discuss what the answers will tell us about the global pro wrestling scene, as well as when we might have those answers. 

We also break down what Google searches over the last 90 days in the United States can tell us about the upcoming Wednesday Night War, as well as what oddsmakers think about who will win in the ratings. 

Along those lines, we also look at the AEW ticket sales information for their fourth and fifth weeks of television, and talk about what they might indicate. 

Also in the new issue, we have full coverage of the Super-J Cup, including star ratings from the San Francisco show of the tour. 

The issue also features an update on the upcoming Clash of Champions show, including an updated card, and a look at how the show is doing on the secondary ticket market. 

We also have a historical piece covering Harley Race's key years on top, 1977-1981.

Dragon Gate's Dangerous Gate show is also covered in the issue. 

We also have news and notes on all of the top wrestling and MMA promotions in the world. 

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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FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

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WWE

  • WWE’s digital platforms are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Intercontinental title this coming week. It will include the “20 matches that define the Intercontinental title" marathon that’s airing on the WWE Network this Sunday. The special is being hosted by Zack Ryder and will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time. September 1, 1979 is the date of Pat Patterson's fictitious tournament win to become the first IC Champion.
  • Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan’s dog Josie passed away yesterday. Brie wrote a tribute to Josie on Instagram: “It’s so hard to write this and tears can’t stop pouring down my face but sadly we lost our sweet little girl today, Josie. It was unexpected and we are still trying to understand why she had to leave us. We are never ready to lose someone we love. JoJo was apart of our family and Bryan and I treated her as our own. I never lost being her Mama and even when Bird came into our lives JoJo was still my first born. I’ll miss her soft pup fur, her snoring, begging for food, eating so fast, playing soccer, giving Bryan a hundred nose kisses but the biggest thing I’ll miss is every time I walked into the door the last 7 years she has made me feel SO loved. A love I’ll forever be grateful for. Today make sure to hug your dog a little longer, give them an extra treat and thank them for loving you unconditional. I’ll miss you sooooo dearly my sweet little JoJo, Mama will always love you and remember the happiness you brought her.”
  • Seth Rollins was ranked first in this year’s Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500. Rollins spoke to PWI about the honor: “As difficult as it can be, this is all I ever wanted -- to be in this position, to be having this conversation with you -- talking about being the absolute best wrestler on the entire planet. I don’t think there is a single part of me that would trade any second of it.” Rollins was also ranked first in 2015.
  • WWE released trailers for the Adrian Street special that’s airing on the WWE Network before NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff tomorrow and the “Day Of: SummersSlam” episode that's airing after TakeOver.
  • Ronda Rousey’s website has an interview with Ember Moon.
  • Triple H praised Jordan Devlin during an interview with the Irish Mirror.
  • WWE.com ranked the 10 best Twitter accounts in WWE. They were (in order from number one to number 10): Oney Lorcan, Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens, Drake Maverick, Malcolm Bivens (formerly known as Stokely Hathaway), Matt Riddle, Matt Hardy, Lacey Evans, Karl Anderson, and Xavier Woods.
  • WWE uploaded video of Drake Maverick hiding underneath the ring prior to winning the 24/7 title on this week’s SmackDown.

Pro Wrestling

UFC/MMA

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov thinks Tony Ferguson deserves the next shot at the lightweight title: “There’s only Tony Ferguson. Of course, I think he deserves. Who else? Nobody. Only Tony Ferguson I think.”
  • Nurmagomedov also spoke about Conor McGregor: “Honestly I don’t understand what you ask about. This guy, when did he win the last time? Why do we keep talking about this guy? This guy don’t train more than three years. We keep talking about this guy. I don’t want to talk about him. We have Dustin Poirier, we have a lot of stuff, please let’s talk about real stuff.”
  • Despite that, Nurmagomedov told ESPN that his rivalry with McGregor will never be finished: “It will never be finished. Ever. Even if we see [each other] somewhere, we’re going to fight, 100 percent. It doesn’t matter if someone go to jail or something like this. I’m not scared about this. If someone has to go to jail, they go to jail. . . They go to hospital and we’ll go to police. That’s it.”
  • Cain Velasquez spoke to MMA Junkie about Daniel Cormier’s future: “You know what, he really hasn’t told me what he wants to do, and I didn’t ask him. It was somewhat close to his fight, and my prayers are with his family. He just lost his dad, so he’s in that whole state. I believe he wants to come back and fight Stipe. If he wants to do that, then I’m 100 percent behind him.”
  • Velasquez discussed the reaction to his pro wrestling debut: “I was kind of shocked to be honest. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how many people would actually be watching and tuning in to watch. I did a match and heard all the positive things from people. It was great. I was shocked. The whole night I was asking my wife, ‘What just happened?’ For me, I know what I can do and I feel like learning wrestling for the short time that I’ve learned it, it feels very natural to me. I loved it. I love going out there and competing and I can’t wait to do more of it.”
  • After suffering a cut, Lu Zhenhong is off of the UFC’s show in Shenzhen, China that’s taking place tomorrow morning. Movsar Evloev, who was supposed to face Zhenhong, is also off the show. Kenan Song vs. Derrick Krantz has been moved to the main card. The main card starts at 6 a.m. Eastern time, with the prelims starting at 3 a.m. Eastern.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWF SummerSlam 1998

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