On April 28, 2014, the WWE released the list of the 10 most watched programs on the WWE Network from the previous week. Not surprisingly, wrestling fans are still watching WrestleMania XXX, which came in at number four. And the original, reality series Legends’ House had two episodes appear in the top three. But I was shocked to see that NXT, the show for the WWE’s developmental branch, barely even made the list, coming in at number 10.
From the first time I watched NXT Arrival on the WWE Network, I have been a huge fan of this wrestling program. Unlike most other wrestling shows in the WWE and other promotions in 2014, NXT focuses almost exclusively on wrestling. The young stars of NXT are outstanding wrestlers and announcers such as Jason Albert, William Regal, and Alex Riley do a great job. And if you can’t catch it live on Thursday night, you can always watch NXT on demand.
Another show that ranks higher than NXT is Slam City. This is an animated, children’s show about WWE wrestlers who are out of work and need to find new jobs. It’s no secret that the WWE markets its product to kids and the success of Slam City as the seventh most-watched show on the WWE Network proves this. I haven’t watched Slam City, but I find it somewhat shocking that an animated, kids’ show ranks higher than NXT on the WWE Network.
Unlike Slam City, I do watch Legends’ House regularly. Roddy Piper is my all-time favorite wrestler and I am also a fan of many of the other legends on this show. Legends’ House is completely formulaic in the reality television genre. But it does represent original programming, which the WWE Network is starving for at this time. Although I believe NXT is better than Legends’ House, I’m not surprised to see it do well, as it brings in different demographics.
Other Top 10 WWE Network shows
The WWE Network’s number six show is Main Event. The WWE has gone to great lengths to improve the quality of matches on Main Event, so it’s no surprise to see it in the top 10. However, I can’t fathom how the Raw pre-show and Raw Backstage Pass finished ahead of NXT. Raw is already three hours! Who wants to watch even more Raw? I am at a total loss to explain how these shows finished second and fifth, respectively, on the WWE Network’s top 10 list.
NXT’s paltry ranking on the WWE Network highlights the WWE’s paradoxical formula for success. The WWE became the world’s top wrestling company by not focusing on wrestling. On the WWE Network, a reality show and children’s show rank ahead of NXT, which features wrestling almost exclusively. Fortunately, the main purpose of NXT is to develop talent, not draw ratings. I can only hope NXT’s weak ratings don’t motivate the WWE to change its formula.
To see the complete list of the WWE Network’s top 10 shows from the week of April 20-26, click here.
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