WWE AEW NXT John Cena Adam Edge Copeland An Awful Announcing rendering of WWE’s John Cena and AEW’s Adam “Edge” Copeland.

The most highly anticipated night on the pro wrestling calendar isn’t a WWE WrestleMania or an AEW pay-per-view, but rather a random Tuesday in October.

With TBS’s coverage of the MLB Playoffs bumping AEW’s flagship show from its usual place on Wednesdays, AEW Dynamite will go head to head against WWE NXT in a special one-off of the “Tuesday Night War.”

Cross-promotion rivalries in pro wrestling are nothing new and were a staple of the mid-to-late 1990s thanks to the “Monday Night Wars” between then-WWF and WCW. Then there was the short-lived Monday night battle between WWE and TNA (now Impact Wrestling), as well as the year-plus-long “Wednesday Night Wars” between WWE’s NXT and AEW.

But while that battle — which was overwhelmingly won by AEW — ended when WWE moved NXT to Tuesday nights in early-2021, it will be revived for one night. And although the head-to-head matchup might not mean much in the big picture of the pro wrestling landscape, it’s clearly important to both companies, which have loaded up their respective shows in an effort to beat the other in the ratings.

Even in the predetermined world of pro wrestling, nights like these don’t come around often. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the “Tuesday Night War.”



For the uninitiated, NXT began as a reality-based WWE show in 2010 before evolving into the company’s developmental brand in 2012. Despite not having the same production and polish as WWE’s flagship shows Raw and SmackDown, NXT developed a cult following among wrestling fans thanks to its roster full of stars from the independent scene and the chance to catch an early glimpse of the future of the industry.

By the time AEW came around in 2019 — more on that later — NXT had effectively became a third brand for WWE. But after Dynamite beat NXT head to head in the key 18-49 rating demo all but once on Wednesday nights over a 75-week span, NXT rebranded as NXT 2.0, moving to Tuesday nights and reverting back to a focus on developing younger — and more inexperienced wrestlers — in early 2021.

In recent months, the NXT brand has enjoyed as a resurgence thanks in part to the emergence of some of those young stars and main roster talent being regularly featured on the show. It’s also worth noting that WWE is currently looking for a new television home for NXT, with its current deal with USA set to expire in late-2024.

The card

The following matches and/or segments have already been announced for the Oct. 10 episode of WWE NXT:

  • Carmelo Hayes (with John Cena) vs. Bron Breakker (with Paul Heyman)
  • Cody Rhodes to make a “big” announcement
  • Pub Rules Match: Tyler Bate and The Brawling Brutes vs. Gallus
  • Asuka vs. Roxanne Perez

Additionally, an appearance by The Undertaker has been teased, while WWE has announced that the first 30 minutes of the two-hour show will be commercial free. WWE NXT airs on USA Network at 8 p.m. ET.


AEW Dynamite


First launched in 2019 by the son of Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, Tony Khan, AEW capitalized on the booming independent pro wrestling scene and in turn created WWE’s biggest rival since WCW’s demise in 2001. With a roster featuring independent/Japan-based wrestling stars such as Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks, as well as established former WWE stars like Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose), the company provided a true alternative for wrestling fans on a national platform thanks to its media rights deal with Warner Bros. Discovery.

While AEW started strong — as evidenced by its head-to-head dominance over NXT — the company hit a high point in the summer of 2021 with the arrivals of former WWE stars CM Punk, Bryan Danielson (formerly Daniel Bryan) and Adam Cole. The company has since expanded to three weekly television shows (AEW Rampage on Fridays and AEW Collision on Saturdays) and has steadily increased its number of pay-per-views.

Thanks in part to Rhodes’ departure back to WWE in 2022 and Punk’s messy departure from the company this past August, AEW has cooled off in recent months, as evidenced by its weekly ratings and attendance figures. The arrival of Adam Copeland (Edge in WWE) earlier this month provided a boost from a mainstream attention perspective, but has yet to translate into ratings and attendance increases.


Tuesday night will provide AEW with the opportunity to obtain some much-needed momentum. But between the stiff competition and an unfamiliar timeslot, it won’t come easy.

The card

The following matches/segments have already been announced for the Oct. 10 episode of AEW Dynamite, which has been branded as “Title Tuesday”:

  • The Buy In (7:30 p.m. ET on YouTube): ROH World + NJPW Strong Openweight Title Match: Eddie Kingston vs Minoru Suzuki
  • “The Rated R Superstar” Adam Copeland makes his debut AEW match vs. Luchasaurus
  • Christian Cage will address his recent actions
  • No. 1 contenders match for the TNT Championship: Bryan Danielson vs. Swerve Strickland
  • AEW International Championship match: Rey Fenix vs. Jon Moxley
  • “Hangman” Adam Page vs. “Switchblade” Jay White
  • Chris Jericho vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
  • Appearances by AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) and “Timeless” Toni Storm

Additionally, like NXT, AEW has announced that its first 30 minutes will be commercial free, with a 10-minute overrun expected. AEW Dynamite airs at 8 p.m. ET on TBS.


In many ways, the “Tuesday Night War” serves as a microcosm of the now four-year battle between WWE and AEW. WWE is offering the bigger spectacle, while AEW is offering the better pro wrestling show.

That’s not to say that NXT’s card is underwhelming as the three matches that have been announced should all be strong. But the biggest draws on the show — Cena, Rhodes, The Undertaker and presumably NXT Women’s Champion Becky Lynch — presumably won’t be wrestling on Tuesday night.

Similarly, Dynamite‘s card isn’t just sizzle but also has substance, most notably in the form of Copeland’s in-ring debut with the company. But this is a show largely built on a borderline pay-per-view caliber lineup of matches, with the Danielson vs. Strickland and Page vs. White bouts standing out as potential show-stealers.

When it comes to the ratings, NXT should be considered the favorite — maybe even a heavy favorite — as it features the bigger star power and has the advantage of usually airing on Tuesday nights. But as is often the case, the real winner in any wrestling war is the fans, as competition has a way of bringing out the best in these companies.


About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.