HBK on why NXT is running show the same night as AEW Double or Nothing


Tsongas Center’s Twitter

WWE announced yesterday that NXT’s next premium live event, Battleground, will take place Sun., May 28. That’s Memorial Day weekend, which most people who pay close attention to the wrestling business know is when AEW holds their annual Double or Nothing PPV.

Why did WWE decide this would be a good time to pick a fight in what used to be the Tuesday Night War?

That’s the question BT Sport’s Ariel Helwani put to the man in charge down at NXT these days, Shawn Michaels. HBK said it had more to do with the holiday than the competition.

“No, no, look — I’ll say this, from a holiday standpoint, that’s the thing. In the past, we’ve done well on the holidays. So, it’s my understanding that’s why we did that. It’s no different then, you know, we used to do stuff back in the day on Christmas and on Thanksgiving. Holidays were always big days, so, that’s what this is for us.

I’ll say this, we’re live on Peacock — you’re basically getting us sort of free [laughs], you know what I mean? So from my standpoint, no, it’s just us. That was the date that was available. Obviously, the holiday does really well for us.”

Michaels almost certainly isn’t lying about the holiday being a good one for business. That’s why Tony Khan picked Memorial and Labor Day for AEW’s two tentpole events. Is Shawn being truthful when he says the decision was made solely on the basis of what’s good for WWE & NXT? Eh…

There had been some question about when in the day Battleground would run, as a matinee start time would mean it and Double or Nothing weren’t any more head-to-head than Stand & Deliver and night one of WrestleMania 39 will be tomorrow (or NXT Deadline and ROH Final Battle did last December, when the former was at night and the latter in the afternoon). But the upcoming events page for the venue, Lowell, MA’s Tsongas Center, lists Battleground with a 7:30pm ET start, so it look like we’re got a fight on our hands.

Do you buy HBK when he says that wasn’t the plan?

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