NXT rises above AEW in ratings after Survivor Series

David Koier , Courier Staff


What a month November was in the world of professional wrestling.

AEW is still going strong with its weekly Wednesday Night Dynamite. They put on their first pay-per-view (Full Gear) since launching their weekly show. WWE made huge strides with Raw and SmackDown since making their complete overhaul of the brands and sending SmackDown back to network TV on Friday nights. On top of their weekly TV shows, the pro wrestling powerhouse set up quite possibly some of the best storylines of the year on the road to Survivor Series.

All of these moments were exciting, but none can really compare to what the WWE has done with NXT, their once-developmental brand that has begun to grow into WWE’s arguably best brand. The star studded locker room, full of main roster caliber performers, had quite the November with an angle that left the wrestling world begging for more and giving the Black and Gold brand an edge on their AEW counterpart.

It all began on Friday, Nov. 1 edition of Friday Night Smackdown. WWE was coming off of a slightly successful Thursday pay-per-view Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. However, many on the Smackdown roster was trapped in Saudi due to some complications. This left many fans wondering what would be in store for Smackdown. The show opened with WWE champion Brock Lesnar quitting the Blue brand to head to Raw for some unfinished business with foe Rey Mysterio.

As Lesnar exited the building, the camera panned to see WWE COO Triple H, one of the heads of NXT, as well as NXT trainer and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels standing backstage. This raised the question: why are two prominent NXT figureheads at Smackdown?

As the night progressed, NXT commentator Pat McAfee joined Tom Phillips on commentary, NXT Superstars Matt Riddle and Keith Lee attacked Sami Zayn and NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler attacked Baylee, Sasha Banks and Nicki Cross. The icing on top of such an intriguing cake was the main event of the episode saw NXT champion Adam Cole defend his title against former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan.

As Cole stood victorious over Bryan, the entire NXT roster overtook the ring with their leader Triple H. Triple H went on to declare NXT was ready for war at Survivor Series at the end of the month. This was the first of many shots fired over the course of the month of November between the three WWE brands. NXT consistently invade Smackdown and Raw causing chaos while also dealing with their own issues on Wednesday nights.

With NXT’s own exclusive pay-per-view, Wargames, the night before Survivor Series, the Superstars of the Black and Gold brand were not only rivaling with Raw and Smackdown but also between themselves. And the Battles fought over the weeks caught the eyes of the fans and it reflected in the ratings.

For three straight weeks now, NXT has edged out Dynamite on Wednesdays in both viewership and overall rating. This is strongly thought to be due to the push that NXT has received in their overall storylines. All of that including NXT’s overall victory over the other two brands at Survivor Series.

Many rising stars on the brand have proven that they are equals or even superior to those on the main rosters. With November being as hot as it was for NXT, can they keep it up in December? Budding feuds between Tomasso Ciampa, Finn Balor and Adam Cole as well as a battle between Baszler and Rhea Ripley for the Women’s championship will continue to peak the interests of fans. And until AEW starts to produce storylines that actually mean something and entertain audiences, I think NXT will take a strong hold on Wednesday night ratings in the wrestling category.