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AEW's Shawn Spears on still watching NXT, Wednesday night ratings and more [Exclusive]

AEW star Shawn Spears with Tully Blanchard
AEW star Shawn Spears with Tully Blanchard
Matty Paddock
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Modified 06 Aug 2020, 18:17 IST
Exclusive
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Shawn Spears admits he still watches WWE NXT – and isn’t interested in a ratings war between WWE and AEW.

In an exclusive Sportskeeda interview, Shawn Spears opened up on the big online debate that rages on and around each Wednesday with the latest set of NXT and Dynamite episodes, followed by that week’s viewing figures.

More often than not – though not always – AEW comes out with the greater share of average viewers, but the gap between the two programs is closer now than it has been in previous months.

Shawn Spears says he's delighted that so many fans continue to watch wrestling

The ratings war hasn’t stopped fans of either show fighting the corner for their favorites, though, with the hype around viewing figures leaving many fans to reminisce about the Monday Night Wars when WCW and WWE battled it out for supremacy.

AEW star Shawn Spears, however, isn’t worried about any of that – he told us that he’s far more encouraged by the fact that so many people are watching wrestling overall.

He said:

“When I look at the totality of everything in terms of who’s watching what and what numbers are what, I don’t pay that great an attention to them, but when I do [see them], all is collectively is over a million people, 1.2, 1.4 million people watching and talking about professional wrestling.”

Shawn Spears spent several years wrestling successfully as Tye Dillinger before moving to SmackDown. His stint on the blue brand didn’t go as well as fans would’ve liked, however, and he ended up requesting his WWE release last year.

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Despite his departure and arrival in AEW, he admits he still regularly tunes in to see what his former colleagues are up to. That, rather than ratings and numbers, is what he’s concerned about:

I spent a great deal of time in NXT and I still watch NXT, I watch it on DVR. I watch AEW and if I’m not around, I’ll DVR AEW as well, so I watch all wrestling across all boards as best I can. Ratings do matter, but they matter more to Corporate Heads and things that dictate matters above my pay grade. For me personally, all that matters is that on Wednesday nights there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people talking about professional wrestling. In this day and age, that is a beautiful thing.”

Shawn Spears, 39, knows that we’re in unprecedented times as wrestlers, fans, and viewers as the Coronavirus pandemic shapes the way we live life.

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The former ‘Perfect 10’ believes, however, that the sustained interested in wrestling throughout this challenging period can only bode well for the future:

“During this time, the majority of wrestling – especially independents – is shut down, and there’s not a lot of wrestling happening right now. The fact we’re still talking about it and communicating about it leads me to believe that, once the world opens up and people get back to normal, it’s only going to get bigger and better.”

Thanks to AEW and Shawn Spears for their time during this interview – for more on the world of All Elite Wrestling visit allelitewrestling.com, and for more exclusive interviews from the world of professional wrestling follow me on Twitter @MattyPaddock

Published 06 Aug 2020, 18:17 IST
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