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WON Preview (September 23, 2019): NXT debut on USA, Clash of Champions reviewed

NXT debut on USA, Clash of Champions reviewed

NXT debuted on the USA Network on 9/18 as the third straight night of pro wrestling that week on the station.

The first show consisted of two dark matches, a one-hour show on USA followed by another 51 minutes on the WWE Network.

You got a lot of hard work, an emphasis on in-ring and building matches for the future. There was less time for interviews, and much higher quality of wrestling than on Raw or Smackdown. Indeed, if it wasn’t a WWE product, the push of no B.S., had any other company said it, would be taken as a knock on the WWE main brands themselves.

NXT in uncharted water. There was one hour special a few years ago on USA that did 841,000 viewers. This debut was far more heavily promoted, but also comes at a time that WWE itself has run off a substantial percentage of its audience since that show a few years ago. Paul Levesque was very careful not to make a prediction or give a number, and really, if the first week does 750,000 or 2 million, it’s either a nice or disappointing start, but it’s the direction in ten weeks or more, with competition, that counts. The last time WWE had a third television brand, ECW, it started with more than three million viewers and the number fell quickly.

In presentation, there were some similarities to ECW, trying to present itself using terms like unapologetic. There was a wild brawl at the end of the second hour. But they pushed the wrestling and refrained from breaking tables. It was very organized and it was not about a blow out show, but more about building, with some stuff for next week and even more for the week after, when it goes head-to-head with AEW’s debut.

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