WWE Has Renewed Focus In Making NXT Sustainable Third Brand

wwe nxt rey mysterio dominik rhea ripley dragon lee

The upcoming Endeavor acquisition of WWE has led to more of a focus on what the company wants NXT to become.

It was earlier this week when it was reported that Endeavor acquiring WWE in a merger with the UFC will likely become official in mid-to-late September meaning it’s about one month away.

Over the last few months, it has been obvious that WWE has had a goal to grow the NXT brand on Tuesday nights. Several main roster stars not only have been moved to the brand like Mustafa Ali, Baron Corbin, Dana Brooke and others, but they have put main roster talent in big matches. Seth Rollins even appeared to defend the World Heavyweight Title over Bron Breakker.

On July 18th, The Judgment Day’s Dominik Mysterio won his first singles title in WWE by beating Wes Lee to become the NXT North American Champion. Since then, Dominik has defended the NXT North American Title on Raw & Smackdown.

This past Tuesday on NXT, Dominik Mysterio beat Dragon Lee to keep the NXT North American Title. Dragon had WWE Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio in his corner, but Rey wasn’t enough to cause a title. Ripley hit Dragon with the Women’s World Title (the referee never saw it) and Dominik capitalized with a Michinoku Driver for the pinfall win.

Ratings were up again this week with NXT’s highest television audience in over two years 776,000 viewers. That’s also up 30% from what NXT drew in the same week last year, which is a clear indicator of how well things are going this year.

WWE Wants NXT To Be Sustainable As A Third Brand

In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer wrote about WWE’s plans for the NXT brand with a goal to make it a touring brand

“There is a renewed focus from Endeavor as well as Nick Khan on making NXT what was termed a sustainable third brand. The idea is to build up the ratings so they can get a good rights fee for the show and then NXT can be a money maker.”

“The goal is to go back to what it was, running regular tours outside of Florida in 2,000 seat arenas and taping television on the road like Raw and Smackdown. Keep in mind there is no timeline for this, and they are still talking of NXT Europe and a full-time performance center in London as the backbone but nothing is happening there until 2024.”

“Right now the goal for NXT that we keep hearing is to close the gap with Dynamite in the 18-34 age group, where they’ve been close the last few weeks and I believe a category NXT never beat AEW in previously, but in the new incarnation in recent weeks with the jump from using Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley, they’ve improved greatly in.”

“The idea is that’s the age group they need to be strong for touring and to get new stars strong enough that they reach that audience and can tour with them on top. It was also noted internally how their Cedar Park, TX, show outdrew several of the recent Dynamite and Rampage tapings.”

Next week’s NXT episode on August 15th is advertising these matches:

* NXT Tag Team Championships: Tony D’Angelo & Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo vs. The Dyad (Fowler & Reid).

* Dijak vs. Wes Lee in a #1 Contender for the NXT Title Match.

* Dana Brooke vs. Blair Davenport.

* Trick Williams vs. Drew Gulak.

The August 22nd episode of NXT will be a Heatwave special featuring some grudge matches including Carmelo Hayes defending the NXT Title against the Dijak-Wes Lee winner.