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Big Changes Coming To NXT, ‘Lost The Ratings War’

According to the chairman of WWE Vince McMahon, big changes are coming soon to NXT. This past Friday saw WWE release a total of 13 roster members, 10 of which were active performers on the NXT brand.

These cuts come in the wake a number of other releases in both June and July, with cuts now totaling 52 members of WWE personnel across Raw, SmackDown, NXT and backstage staff.

According to Dave Meltzer on today’s Wrestling Observer Radio, the belief amongst WWE executives is that NXT is not only failing to produce a profit, but also failing to create future main eventers for the main roster.

“[Triple H] and Shawn Michaels didn’t have anything to do with the cuts. It was done by Vince McMahon, Bruce Pritchard and John Laurinaitis. The gist is that NXT is going to change. They think that a lot of competitors are too small and too old. They want more Roman Reigns-looking guys. [The kind of guys] who can main event Wrestlemania.”

Meltzer went on to say that:

“The exact wording is: ‘no more midgets, no one starting in their thirties.’ They want people who can be box office attractions and main characters. But it’s interesting that at the same time this is going down, they’re making a big play to keep Adam Cole.”

“WWE don’t want another Aleister Black situation. They did nothing with him, then all of a sudden he shows up on AEW and becomes a huge star. That kind of exposes [WWE]. Black exposes [WWE] a lot, so does Miro. Whenever a guy from WWE and goes [to AEW] and does better, it brings up the question ‘well, why didn’t they do better in WWE?’”

Ratings War Fallout

He also mentioned how WWE executives feel that they’ve ‘lost the war’ against AEW, referencing the on-going Wednesday Night Wars which came to a halt when NXT moved to Tuesdays back in April 2021. Now, with AEW Dynamite drawing an average 1-million viewers compared to NXT’s 600k, this may be what prompted Vince’s decision to overhaul NXT.

PWInsider also recently reported that several WWE officials feel that the presentation differences between AEW and NXT was ‘night and day.’

NXT’s ‘dark’ appearance considered to be putting off fans.

The releases came as a shock to many wrestling fans, especially given that the cuts included several of NXT’s up-and-coming stars. Bronson Reed was one such shock, who only a month ago had been NXT North American Champion. NXT mainstay Bobby Fish was also amongst the releases.

Other notable cuts over the past few months include Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Ric Flair, Buddy Murphy and Aleister Black (Now Malakai Black in AEW).  

Speculation around the cuts has been rife, with many fans believing that WWE has been preparing for external sale.

Cutting staff is common practice before big sales in order to make the profit-versus-outgoings figures more appealing to potential buyers. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case based on Meltzer’s recent findings.

More WWE cuts are expected in the coming months, with many more coming from the NXT roster. With NXT seemingly being relegated back to development territory, could this mean another viewer spike for AEW Dynamite? Will AEW pick up any of the released talent?

More updates as they come.

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