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Volume 26 No. 174
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WWE's NXT Brand Ready For Live Debut On USA Network

NXT will air live for one hour starting at 8:00pm ET for the next two weeks
Photo: WWE
NXT will air live for one hour starting at 8:00pm ET for the next two weeks
Photo: WWE
NXT will air live for one hour starting at 8:00pm ET for the next two weeks
Photo: WWE

WWE takes its NXT developmental series to USA Network tonight, setting up a head-to-head fight with emerging rival All Elite Wrestling, which goes live on Wednesdays as well starting Oct. 2 on TNT. NXT will air live for one hour starting at 8:00pm ET for the next two weeks, with coverage shifting to WWE Network for a second hour of live coverage. However, beginning Oct. 2, both hours will be on USA with taped coverage available on WWE Network 24 hours later. The WWE-AEW battle royale will be underway. WWE Exec VP/Talent, Live Events & Creative Paul Levesque, perhaps better known by his in-ring name Triple H, said WWE had discussed making the move with NXT when the company was negotiating new rights deals with USA and Fox. Those deals, announced in June '18, will see Raw remain on USA on Mondays and SmackDown shift from USA to Fox starting Oct. 4. The separate deal for NXT was announced last month. NXT is no stranger to Wednesdays, having aired that night on WWE Network since '15. “It was the right time, the right economics, the right timing, to get the engagement we wanted, and here we are,” Levesque said. “A lot of people talk about the alternative, but we’ve been the alternative on Wednesday nights for five years and this is really, with our fan base, our core fan base, just shifting platforms.”

TIME TO PLAY THE GAME: The shows will continue to originate primarily from Full Sail Univ. in Orlando, which is near WWE’s talent development center. Levesque is known for giving NXT talent a pre-event pep talk before tapings. What will tonight’s talk be like? “I think on that first night I’m going to have to hold down my level of how much I want to hype them up because I think they’re already going to be hyped and so excited and so chomping at the bit. It’s going to be like that racehorse waiting for them to ring the bell and open that gate. You really just need to keep them calm in that moment before all hell breaks loose.”