Jim Ross believes NXT's move to USA is an indicator that Vince McMahon feels threatened by AEW, but he isn't really sure why that is.
When Vince McMahon took over WWE from his father, he had a vision for the company. McMahon wanted the reach of WWE to go well beyond its New York-based territory. The chairman achieved that by gradually buying out all of his and WWE's rivals throughout the US and Canada. Eventually, WWE was the only company left standing.
Not everyone caved right away, though. For the latter half of the 1990s, WWE was engaged in a ratings war with WCW. A war McMahon looked like he might lose at some points. However, in 2001, the Genetic Jackhammer bought out the remainder of his competition. Since then, no wrestling promotion has been able to rival WWE. Impact looked like it might be a contender once upon a time, but wound up failing miserably.
Now here we are in 2019, and another contender has emerged. AEW. Those associated with the new promotion continue to insist that they are not here to take down WWE. That makes a lot of sense. WWE is so big and powerful, it will have no rival for a while. AEW will definitely provide an alternative, though. Plus, despite the company being less than a year old, Jim Ross believes McMahon already feels threatened.
"He ain’t gonna lay back and let AEW grow independently and freely. That was never going to happen," Ross explained on this week's Grilling JR. "He feels threatened for some crazy reason and I think that’s interesting to me." Ross is referring to WWE's decision to move NXT to USA, where it will air live at the exact same time as AEW's weekly show.
The reason JR believes McMahon feeling threatened is interesting is due to what we mentioned above. That AEW won't be direct competition to WWE. That would be impossible, at least for a few years. WWE has become a household name around the world. Ross hammers home that AEW's main aim is to reel in the lapsed fan. The wrestling lover who wants something different to WWE. Exactly how many of those people there are out there will become clearer when the Wednesday Night War begins this October.