NXT Changeover: Has the Original Plan Been Abandoned?


I remember some years ago when the constant discussion was geared towards the idea of branding NXT as its own entity. Many fans and followers alike were voicing their opinions and the consensus was to let it continue to blossom accordingly.

Now in 2017, NXT has gone through various changes over the course of just a few years and they continue to polish the roster. For example, NXT of 2012 included future stars Seth Rollins and Big E and fast forwarding to 2016 names like Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura are headlining shows. As the developmental division of the WWE, NXT was originally engineered to see the positives and negatives for various potential superstars. However, the fear is that it has become more of brand geared towards established wrestling talent instead of rookies trying to build up their name.

Over the years we have witnessed a plethora of unknowns or low level indie talents come into NXT and eventually breathe new life to a WWE roster that became stagnant with force fed gimmicks that left their following completely uninterested. We have seen stars like Sasha Banks and Baron Corbin be born, while Bobby Roode and Austin Aries look to resurrect their careers. In my opinion, this is where the problem may be forming.

In December of last year, WWE’s developmental show had two men with a combined 30 years of professional wrestling experience battling for NXT’s Top Crown over the course of 4+ months. The title changed hands three times between independent veterans Samoa Joe (37) and Shinsuke Nakamura (36), certainly not what was expected when NXT was first born.

Samoa Joe took his TNA and ROH accolades to NXT in 2015 and his stint was thought to be brief. However, a call up never happened as he turned into a headliner instead of a guy just knocking off some rust.  In the same facet, Nakamura has been deemed one of the most recognized premier talents in the world, but still remains in NXT. How do the younger guys build their brand when the veterans are holding the gold?

We are all aware by now that NXT is the brainchild of Triple H and his idea of the brand has certainly changed. When interviewed on ESPN he spoke at length on the subject and had this to say.

“We say that it’s developmental, but at the same time it’s a third brand — 200 events this year, specials and the weekly show itself which are one of the most popular things on the Network,” he continued. “I think over the years you’re gonna begin to see Raw is its own brand, SmackDown is its own brand, NXT — you’re gonna see people move around. It’s no longer gonna be just, this guy got called up, it’s gonna be maybe ‘this guy got moved over, she got moved here,’ and see that transference of talent.”

“At the end of the day, it’s all content; it’s all product that our fans wanna see. The difference in those products is big, but there’s something there for everybody. I think that’s what’s exciting about it.”

Is it really Paul? I honestly think the people were more interested tuning into to a show whose ultimate goal was creating superstars and opening us up to names that weren’t at all familiar. Initially NXT was the developmental circle setup strictly in Florida. However, it has caught fire over the past two years growing into its own distinct entity, while its following helps the WWE Network add subscribers. Has this brand or entity developed into a cash grab instead of development training center?

Triple H still sees NXT as a vital stop for any professional wrestler making the transition from the independent scene to WWE. Last time I checked, Eric Young, Booby Roode and Austin Aries weren’t indie guys. If this is the case, why would a guy like Alberto Del Rio be taken straight from Lucha Underground to the WWE Main Roster? Does Triple H see TNA as an indie promotion? If he did, then why did AJ Styles go straight to the top from day one?

I want to end by saying I am a huge fan of NXT and love to see the excitement within the arena during each and every match. My fear isn’t that the developmental part of the business is being taken away, but how it’s become lessened to a certain degree. The magnificent stories of a tag team like American Alpha and the prominent rise of Baron Corbin is why I watch. I thoroughly enjoy all the veteran matches, as well as the dynamic entrances that constantly have the twitter world buzzing.  Hey Paul, please remember why NXT was built and transformed into a powerhouse in a short amount of time. Until next time……….

***The above article expresses my opinions only. As always, I stand behind my views and am interested to hear yours. See you in the threads…………

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