The Thursday Night Wars?

thursdaywrestling

At the heights of the Monday Night Wars on January 8, 1998, WCW launched Thunder on TBS as a second showcase show for the company. Over a year later, after a successful pilot episode, WWF would launch competing show Smackdown in August of 1999. To paraphrase Yoda, begun a short-lived Thursday Night War had, as a companion to the battle waging on Monday Nights. This war was much more brief when compared to the Monday Night War as Thunder would move to Wednesday nights in January of 2000.

With the advent of the WWE Network, a new Thursday Night War could be brewing. Impact Wrestling will have competition for the televised wrestling audience this Thursday when a two-hour live special- NXT Arrival airs at 8pm ET on WWE Network followed by WWE Superstars at 10pm. Additionally in the following weeks, NXT will be airing as part of a three-hour block of Main Event Replay, NXT, & Superstars airing from 8-11pm every Thursday Night…in direct competition with Impact Wrestling from 9-11pm Thursdays on Spike.

While the Main Event and Superstars programs are included in this discussion and have entertaining matches from time to time, what everything really boils down to is NXT vs. Impact. What’s very interesting about this impending showdown is while the overall major star power edge would go to Impact, the playing field is very leveled unlike the conditions at the beginning of Raw vs. Nitro. NXT normally tapes its programs weeks in advance. Impact normally tapes its programs weeks in advance.

This coming Thursday the first salvo in this battle will occur. We’ll have more on both shows on Thursday but NXT Arrival will feature:

  • 2 out of 3 Falls- Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro
  • NXT Women’s Championship- Paige vs. Emma
  • and a Ladder Match for the NXT Championship- Bo Dallas versus Adrian Neville

Impact Wrestling will counter with a big card of its own from London, England featuring Kurt Angle’s TNA Hall of Fame Induction.

NXT, previously available only on Hulu Plus, has been regarded by many as WWE’s most entertaining program with a focus on younger talents and in-ring action. If this truly turns into a war, Impact is going to have to up its game and cut back on the Dixie-centric programming that has turned many off to their product. If WWE decides to give NXT the big push during Raw? We could be talking game over, Johnny.

I truly do want Impact Wrestling to succeed and they’ve made great strides and improvements in the past few months after a bit of a rough patch, with the additions of indy stars like the Wolves, but this could be one of a number of dangerous challenges to the Dixie Carter-led company. In addition to NXT/WWE Network, in the fall they will have to contend with select Thursday Night Football games airing on CBS. Not to mention, will they have to contend with Jeff Jarrett’s new startup promotion attempting to poach talent?

I put it to you marks, will you be choosing between watching Impact or NXT on Thursdays? Will you be DVRing Impact in favor of NXT? On Demanding NXT in favor of Impact?

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