Since announcing that SmackDown Live will be moving to Fox in 2019, there have been talks about Fox airing weekly WWE programming. The show that has been discussed throughout the last several months is NXT, which currently airs on the WWE Network.
Since airing on the WWE Network in 2014, the developmental system has exposed fans to a new wave of talented wrestlers. If it was not for NXT, individuals like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor would not be as successful.
Over the last five years, NXT has been a game changer in the wrestling world. Before it was aired on the WWE Network, fans were starting to grow tired of the same product.
Currently, NXT broadcasts on the WWE Network every Wednesday Night at 8 PM EST. With the UFC leaving Fox for ESPN in 2019, this opens up a time slot for NXT, replacing UFC Tonight at the same 8 PM slot. Even by potentially adding an extra hour to the program, NXT could see positive feedback.
With Fox signing a deal to air SmackDown Live on its main channel, it is a no-brainer on why the company would want NXT to be a part of this deal. Over the past several years, NXT has been drawing appeal from fans all over the WWE community.
NXT can not be compared to the WWE main roster, but there is still plenty of potential. Airing on FS1 would give the brand more exposure to a much larger audience. If the ratings work out, there could be potential for fans to purchase the WWE Network bundle down the road.
The formula that the WWE is using for NXT Takeover should be kept the same way, even if FS1 becomes the new programmer. Although this opens up plenty of options for the company, teaming up with FS1 at this time is not the right move.
One problem with moving NXT to Fox Sports 1 is the fact that it would not be exclusive to the WWE Network anymore, and fans would not be able to watch the program free of cost. Even though the WWE supports its fans, it’s also a business. By moving to FS1, the WWE is making too large of a gamble with the inability to get fans to purchase the WWE Network.
NXT is going to continue to grow, and as they do so, they need to find the appropriate platform. If the right deal and incentives are involved, perhaps FS1 can become that suitor. With the current circumstances, both sides need to rush towards a clear deal, as SmackDown Live is scheduled to air on Fox in 2019.
Photo Credit Ringside News