WWE has issued a denial over claims that their move to push NXT programming off the WWE Network and take it to USA Network on Wednesday nights is a direct response to All Elite Wrestling being poised to air on TNT.
The company recently announced that their developmental brand will debut on USA on September 18, although Fox is rumored to have wanted the show on their network.
This follows AEW revealing that their weekly show will kick off on TNT on October 2, yet a WWE spokesman insists that it's AEW doing the counter-programming as NXT has been airing on Wednesday nights for almost five years.
“The premise to your story is wrong," said spokesman told Deadspin's David Bixenspan recently. "NXT has been on Wednesday nights since 2015 [sic] as I’m sure you know. It isn’t called counter-programming if you continue to air a series on the same day/time as it has been on for nearly five years. Perhaps you’ll ask AEW about counter-programming NXT?”
Former WWE announcer Jim Ross, however, reckons Vince McMahon feels threatened by the new company's emergence and was never going to just sit back and let it develop.
“I’m not surprised," he said on his Grilling JR podcast this week. "Knowing Vince as well as I do and working with him so closely as I did for over a quarter of a century. He, to lay back and let AEW grow independently and freely was never going to happen.
"He feels threatened for some crazy reason, and I think that’s interesting to me. I’ve seen on Twitter where ‘Well, AEW started all this because Cody busted up a prop, a throne or something. And the Bucks did something. I can see where the point is made, but I don’t know that there was ever any gunshots at each other. But it didn’t surprise me.”