Shawn Michaels is proud of the growth of the NXT brand while mentioning the ratings success and even comparing it to the Attitude Era.
While Shawn Michaels will likely be remembered most in pro wrestling as one of the greatest superstars in WWE history, he has a different role these days as the Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative. What that job title really means is that he’s the boss of the WWE NXT brand who gets to have the final say on what happens on NXT shows.
Recently, NXT ratings have been rising, especially earlier this month when Becky Lynch won the NXT Women’s Title on September 12th. That week’s episode averaged 850,000 viewers, which was up 26.3% from the previous week. The 0.26 rating in the 18-49 demo was also a 44.4% increase over the prior week.
On the media conference call to promote tonight’s NXT No Mercy PLE event, Shawn Michaels talked about the ratings growth of NXT.
“Obviously, where I’m at now, is different than where I was at the beginning. At the beginning, you look at those ratings every week. I’m not a numbers guy, by any stretch, but I’ve learned more about numbers. The two times I was focused on ratings is when you’re the champion and holding the belt, and when you’re the guy running the show to get those ratings.”
“At the beginning, I did, I focused on them quite a bit. Now, I understand the long game and understand the goal. Obviously, we’re thrilled when they go up. Right now, we have been trending up and trending up in those demographics that everyone speaks of, significantly. We’re talking 26% in 18 to 49 and 61% in 18 to 34.”
“When I first stepped in for Hunter and eventually took over, the conversation I had with Vince [McMahon] is him wanting me to focus on that 18 to 34. Despite other stories that are out there, it was never being compared to anybody else, it was just him wanting us to focus on 18 to 34 because he wanted us to have a younger demographic.”
“That’s the one that I scroll significantly in these last two years. We’re very proud of that and trending upwards. That’s always the strategy. This is a television business, the strategy is always to get those numbers. Obviously, the main roster integration helps us with that. An analogy I’d like to share; we feel like the main roster for us is like a trojan horse.”
“We come in with the main roster first and then out of the trojan horse comes all these NXT stars and we’re hoping, when a Becky Lynch comes in and gives us a well over 800 [800,000] and into the millions, we hope is that we expose a number of NXT talent to them that a percentage of those people come back and they see something they enjoy our product.”
“They see our show and go, ‘they do a lot of different stuff and do stuff unlike anybody else. They have so many spaces and environments for their talent, it’s not just in the back of a building, there is so much variety to what they do. There is humor, fun, great wrestling.’”
“That’s what we hope happens in this process, each time we use a main roster talent, that will obviously give us viewers we didn’t have before that a certain segment continue to watch our product and enjoy. As of right now, that’s been working quite successfully. I don’t want toot my own horn, it’s been going well for us.”
Shawn Michaels believes NXT is hot right now while comparing it to The Attitude Era
As he continued, Shawn Michaels spoke about how NXT has a lot of buzz and even compared it to The Attitude Era due to how they do their storylines.
“I feel like NXT has got a buzz right now, and I feel like we’re the hottest thing going right now in the wrestling business. We have a fun show. Ours is the closest thing to the Attitude Era you’re going to get, and I know a lot of people want to roll their eyes at that, but we have a wild west stuff going on and there is always something new happening. It’s very different.”
“We have a number of different reasons for being in storylines. If you ask me, every other show out there, they all wrestle each other because they are all angry at each other. ‘I’m angry at this guy, we’re going to fight about it.’ If you watch NXT, there are different reasons and different stakes on why people get into wrestling matches on our show. I’m very proud of our show and what we’ve accomplished over the last several months.”