Shawn Michaels: NXT Has A Lot Of Wild West Stuff, It's The Closest Thing To The Attitude Era You'll Get

Shawn Michaels discusses NXT's television ratings and the brand's current product.

In recent months, NXT's television ratings have been higher than usual, primarily due to the appearances of main roster stars like Rhea Ripley, Dominik Mysterio, and Becky Lynch. The September 12 episode of the show recorded an average of 850,000 viewers, which is one of the highest numbers that the show has ever recorded in their stint on the USA Network.

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On the NXT No Mercy media call, Shawn Michaels went into detail about the television ratings and how he's learned to understand the long game of them in recent months. Michaels also recalled having a conversation with Vince McMahon, where he was told to focus on the 18 to 34 demo rating.

"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."

Michaels also went on to say that he feels like NXT is the hottest thing in the wrestling business right now, proclaiming that he thinks the show is the closest thing to the Attitude Era that you're going to get in today's wrestling landscape.

"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."

Elsewhere on the media call, Shawn Michaels was asked about the possibility of bringing CM Punk to NXT. Fans can learn more by clicking here.

Fans can see the updated lineup for the upcoming NXT No Mercy premium live event by clicking here.

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