While eager to trumpet their own shows’ advertising prowess, both men were also quick to join the war of words that has become part of the USA-TNT battle. TNT now consistently beats USA in the ratings, but Rothschild pointed out that the WWF’s audience is younger than that of the WCW and, therefore, that it is more desirable to advertisers.
“Not to be disparaging, but we consider the WCW to be the old-age home,” he said. “Our wrestlers are youthful, energetic and much closer in age to our audience. We have the stars of today and tomorrow; they have our stars of yesterday.”
“We’ve beaten them in the ratings 35 straight weeks, and we deliver more young eyeballs than they do,” countered Uva.
The slugfest started quietly enough in the fall of 1995, as USA continued to enjoy a healthy 3.2 Nielsen Media Research rating with its weekly 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. wrestling telecast, putting it consistently among the highest-rated weekly programs on cable. But when TNT launched a 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-night show of its own, USA’s ratings almost immediately slipped to 2.6, running neck-and-neck with TNT’s new WCW Monday Nitro.
Then in late May of last year, TNT escalated the battle by expanding its program to two hours, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. …