On top of ALL of that, they managed to bring in big names from the independents such as Finn Balor (Prince Devitt), Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen), Samoa Joe, Rhyno, THE Brian Kendrick, James Storm, Apollo Crews (Uhaa Nation), and KANA (Asuka), just to name a few. The development of “home grown” talents such as Bull Dempsey, Baron Corbin, The Vaudvillians, Bayley, and Sasha Banks have been tremendous as well. Many NXT names are on the main roster and are holding major WWE Championships.
Now the question comes: Dave, where are you getting at with all of this? It’s simple. NXT has officially solidified its place as the next best product in large market wrestling! WWE’s “developmental” company has become a feature product and a force to be reckoned with. All of the Take Over shows have been five stars, as match quality is something fans have been starving for. The company has also been traveling with more house shows, and the sky is still the limit for the talented group of men and women. Once they complete their time with the NXT product and are “ready” for the main roster, they already have an established “name” coming in to the WWE main roster. It is reminiscent of the old days that I spoke of in the previous article, isn’t it? Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes, once their time in their territories were done - no matter the circumstances - came in to the WWF with a buzz. NXT competitors would have the same buzz nowadays that the WWE fans can get behind. This is my theory on how things are working in the WWE hierarchy today.
With all of this said, all of this praise, you would think I have nothing but good things to say, right? Wrong! Despite big names coming in and the NXT brand putting on a good product, the talent get transplanted to a situation where stars outside don’t exist unless you’re John Cena. Guys like former NXT Champions Bo Dallas and Neville have simply filled in roles on the main rosters, while they main evented the first NXT Take Over show prior to their main roster debuts. The Ascension and The Lucha Dragons have slipped to irrelevance into a once promising Tag Team division. Women like Emma who wrestled in an amazing series of NXT Women’s Title match against Paige, debuted on the main roster with Santino Marella and once he retired, she seemed lost, uncomfortable and out of place. Now, she’s back on the NXT roster as Dana Brooke’s sidekick. From a fan’s perspective, some of these men and women seem uncomfortable in their place on the main roster, as it seems very restricted. Compare that to NXT, which is run by a former top tier WRESTLER, you’re allowed to WORK and do what got you to the dance in the first place.
The pay is different too from NXT to main roster. I would imagine that the goal of all the talent would be to get that WWE paycheck. Who could blame them? As a fan I would love to see Finn Balor and Samoa Joe on RAW. However, after seeing what’s happened to more talent than not, I’d rather see them do what they do on NXT. Selfish? Yes, I know, but I, as a fan, would rather see the quality.
Back to the positives! You’re getting other talents coming in. James Storm, as of this writing, debuted on the 10/8 NXT tapings in Orlando, as well as Nia Jax. NXT, as Triple H stated himself, is “the place to be”. This also affords talents the opportunity to take a role outside of the consistent physical demands of traveling all the time to perform such as coaching. Sara Del Ray, Tensai, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and Goldust are among those who are either coaches, agents, or talent scouts. NXT has a Take Over taking place in London in December, which is great for the growth of a “developmental brand”.
Wherever they travel, crowds follow. Whenever they’re on the Network, the masses tune in. NXT is the cornerstone of a new era in professional wrestling. It starts from the bottom on the independent scene to all the way to the top with WWE. It’s making performers figuratively hungry. With that hunger comes their best effort they can give each and every night. Talents are no longer going through the motions for crowds of 15 people. With this revolution, it’s creating more talent opportunity. As far as me personally, I’m enjoying being a wrestling fan again! More is better and with that being said, BRING IT ON!!
Wrestling is taking over again and I love it!