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NXT has been on cable television for a couple months now, and while the WWE is known for its dominance and success in pro wrestling, the launch has had its struggles. All Elite Wrestling, a new wrestling organization comprised of former WWE stars and other high-profile wrestlers, has managed to beat NXT in the ratings for overall viewership since its debut in the same timeslot, and even toppled Smackdown Live! (which had a recent change in regime) for overall viewership one week.
There may be some within WWE concerned about the success of AEW and the "ratings war" with NXT, but WWE's Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative Paul "Triple H" Levesque is not one of them. I got the chance to speak to Levesque exclusively about the ratings battle between AEW and NXT and how he felt about the competing with the brand, and he ultimately thinks it's a good thing for everybody.
Competition is good for everybody. I think that it's hard for people to accept that. It's a funny thing that I don't consider it that we're in this ratings war to me. I put out the product we put out and you know, if you said it was a Thursday night and it was comedies, you wouldn't go, 'Oh my God, there's a comedy war going on.' It's just the medium that we're in. Wednesday nights has become an important night in the business. The competition is good for everybody, but for me with NXT week to week, bell to bell, I want to put on the best show we can. I want to create the best performers, the most intriguing personas and characters, the best storylines, and the best in ring action. I think we do that.
Triple H doesn't sound all too concerned about NXT lagging behind AEW in the ratings. For now, the main focus of NXT is to worry about putting on the best show it can, and not trying to do whatever possible to try and topple AEW week to week.
It's a rather chill response considering Triple H was part of a group of WWE wrestlers that invaded a WCW event during the era commonly known as the "Monday Night Wars." Levesque gave no indication anyone from NXT would be doing something like that, and definitely gave the vibe WWE is waiting first to see if AEW can keep pace with the rampant nature of producing a wrestling show every week before doing anything beyond focusing on itself.
I'm not worried about what everybody else is doing. I'm worried about what we're doing and this is, for me, a marathon. It's not a sprint. So over time we will win fans in the long term, we know how to do this long term. 52 weeks a year is a lot on talent and it's a lot on creative and what you do with that over time is what matters. Anybody can do it in the short, it's the long term that matters. And that's where we're headed. You know, I see NXT as slow and steady wins the race and I think we'll just put on better product over and over and over again and people will come.
So if there's anyone out there expecting NXT to fire some major shots at AEW, it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. Meanwhile, time will tell if AEW will be able to sustain ratings supremacy over NXT as the weeks go on, or if this race really is a marathon like Paul Levesque believes. WWE has plenty of experience taking on rivals, so there's likely some wisdom in Triple H's words.
NXT airs on USA Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend for more updates on what's happening in the world of WWE, and for the latest and greatest news happening in television and movies throughout the rest of 2019.