Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer noted on his radio show that the reasoning behind the airing of an episode of NXT on USA Network as part of WWE Week on the network for it’s annual Tribute To The Troops could be part of a bigger ploy from WWE.
WWE’s contract with the USA Network expires in 2018 and they will be looking to negotiate a new deal with either USA or another network. WWE’s current contract is for 5 hours of WWE programming a week, which covers 3 hours of Raw and 2 hours of Smackdown Live. Meltzer claims that if NXT does well for USA, WWE would barter that into a new contract proposal that would see Raw scale back to two hours, with NXT assuming the 5th hour of WWE content per the contract. It would remain on Wednesday nights, presumably in the same time slot.
Since Raw moved to three hours in 2012, it has largely been met with a thumbs down from fans and critics alike for it’s inability to produce three straight hours of content that keeps viewers from getting restless. But as JBL explained earlier this year on the WWE Network show Bring It To The Table, there was simply too much money to be made for both sides with an extra hour. By adding an hour of NXT, both sides retain an hour of WWE programming. And an hour of NXT from 8-9pm is likely to do equal to or better ratings than the 10-11pm segment of Raw.
What do you think? Is it a good idea? Would you be happier with a 2 hour Raw plus NXT on USA Network? Let us know in the comments below.