wrestling / News

Details on USA Network & WWE’s Relationship, Network Reaction to NXT 2.0

October 1, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE NXT New Logo Image Credit: WWE

A new report has delved into the relationship between USA Network and WWE< including how the network feels about the NXT 2.0 relaunch. Fightful Select has a new report that follows on last week’s detailed report about WWE’s relationship with FOX, this one also coming from many sources in WWE, FOX, FOX Sports, NBCU, Peacock and USA Network. Once again, the report makes clear that the sources don’t represent Fox, NBC Universal, Peacock, Tubi, The USA Network or WWE as a whole.

The report notes that WWE worked with both FOX and USA Network directly to make sure all parties were happy with how the rosters shook out. USA Network sources indicated that they appreciate the unique rosters that the brand split provides for and prefer to see it continue.

A source within WWE compared the roster split to how the NFL balances broadcasts with their various network partners, noting that ideally every network would want Tom Brady but they don’t get him each week.

Like it was noted last week, FOX had concerns about their network being used so heavily to promote NBCUniversal’s Peacock service as the home of WWE. A source at USA pointed out that WWE aired Hell in the Cell matches on both USA Network and FOX as an example of how WWE is doing what they can to work with both sides.

The site notes that they worked with Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Podcast, who had heard how USA Network was happy with the changes on NXT that turned it into NXT 2.0. It was noted that the network was very happy with the jump in viewership that the first episode of NXT 2.0 saw, with specific sources at the network pointing out the opening segment of the first episode, Bron Breakker’s first match, InDex’s wedding, Diamond Mine, and the NXT Title match as things they were happy with. The network was also said to be very familiar with what was going on in the brand and, with several very familiar with new champion Tommaso Ciampa.

USA Network sources said they were “elated” about NXT 2.0’s direction and, when asked if there was concern over sponsor pushback over the more adult content, mentioned that many of their other shows have the same elements and that it should be more accepted in wrestling.

It was noted that the declining viewership of Raw and NXT is something that USA Network sources would like to see addressed, with the show’s quality being made better one thing that was mentioned. That same source said there were several people in USA that were tired of the pre-pandemic era’s “scapegoats and shortcuts” and wanted to see a change in that now that fans are back.

Some of the examples of these “scapegoats and shortcuts” were the Brand to Brand Invitational, Raw Underground, not during commercials during matches which led to match restarts and two of three fall matches. A rep said that they aren’t opposed to these things, but that they should not be used as crutches.

The report also made note of how sources brought up how connected WWE and NBCUniversa are, with their relationships extended back to before some of the employees there were even born. However, most are very knowledgeable about that connection and sources shot down the idea that USA doesn’t care about the programming quality.

Finally, it was noted that Stephanie McMahon has been very involved in stewarding of the relationship between the two companies and how NBCUniversal Chairman Mark Lazarus personally had Stephanie McMahon join him for a 1-on-1 discussion with the Paley Center for Media. It was said that NBCUniversal Chairman of Global Advertising & Partnerships Linda Yaccarino talked over WrestleMania plans for the next couple years with McMahon over dinner in Manhattan recently.

article topics :

FOX, USA Network, WWE, WWE NXT, Jeremy Thomas