NXT isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t blame them. It isn’t even mine, compared to when it was the Black and Gold Era and was easily my favorite part of pro wrestling for a few years.
But I do find myself asking more questions about WWE’s developmental program more than anything else. Raw is often a mess. SmackDown can be painfully boring and straightforward at times. AEW is essentially just a series of matches and not complicated whatosever. But NXT is a land of a lot of “WTF?” type moments that have me tuning in just to figure out what the game plan is.
That leads to me often having more to talk about with NXT than anything else in WWE and AEW, if not just out of curiosity. But those little bits here and there aren’t worth their own articles. Hence, I figured I’d bring back another round of Quick Takes to combine a few of them in a compilation.
Here are some thoughts going on in my mind right now about the current state of NXT:
Noam Dar is Finally Back with the NXT UK Heritage Cup…And…?
Back when Worlds Collide was about to happen and the NXT and NXT UK rosters were set to merge, several championships were unified. But instead of the North American Championship and NXT UK Heritage Cup becoming one thing, WWE just ignored the trophy entirely.
It was strange. Mark Coffey had only been champion a short while, and they taped Noam Dar winning it back, just to promptly sweep it under the rug and act like it wasn’t a thing.
But even stranger was that there was no announcement of it being deactivated/retired or that it wasn’t. Instead, WWE just kept it up on some of the website, while removing it from other parts. If you went to the Superstars page, Dar wasn’t listed. But if you clicked on his profile, the “time held” portion continued to add days to it. The slider of championships had the Heritage Cup behind even the Cruiserweight Championship that had been retired far beforehand, but it was still listed as “2020-Present.”
I had chalked this up to an oversight on WWE, wherein the web team just didn’t realize they forgot to change that coding over. But that was odd. Why, with all these employees, did nobody pay attention to it, run it up the chain of command and get confirmation to fix this? If I can make changes on my own site that I run entirely by myself, surely, WWE could take care of that in a moment’s notice.
I maintained on Smark Out Moment and in posts here for months on end that the Heritage Cup wasn’t fully retired since they hadn’t mentioned it. Basically, it seemed like I was the only person who believed there might have been a reason to this.
Lo and behold, Dar pops up on NXT this week carrying the trophy as if nothing ever happened. Its absence isn’t addressed. Everyone acts like it’s perfectly normal we didn’t have anything for this championship since August.
So what gives? Why bring it out now? After all that time away? With no explanation? For what purpose? Clearly, there must be a reason; otherwise, why bother?
I’m convinced it is because WWE wants to give an accolade to Dragon Lee to immediately have him start off as a big deal, but they don’t want to give him the North American Championship, nor obviously the NXT Championship. There aren’t any other options, save for putting him with a tag team partner, and that doesn’t accomplish the same goals.
So someone probably had an “a-ha” wake-up moment of clarity, realized the Heritage Cup was still a thing, and figured it would work to bring that back.
Maybe Dar had some visa issues, as well, and they didn’t want to just strip him of the title because they figured nobody would notice or care. Frankly, unless you’re someone like me who keeps track of this stuff way beyond the casual audience, I don’t think 99/100 fans could have told you it was missing. Probably 85 of those don’t even know the Heritage Cup is a thing, since NXT UK was one of the lowest-viewed shows, probably just beating out Main Event, 205 Live / Level Up and digital stuff.
I’m banking on Dragon Lee winning this trophy relatively soon, and for it to be renamed the NXT Heritage Cup; possibly with the rounds rules eliminated.
If The Dyad Leaves, Do They Get Replaced? By Who?
Word around the rumor mill is that Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler, aka The Dyad tag team of Schism, requested their releases from WWE. However, they were then seen on the following episode of NXT Level Up.
Either that means they’re going and it hasn’t been finalized, or WWE wants to use them up until they are written off television, or maybe the rumor was just flat out wrong.
But in the interest of speculation, let’s say The Dyad does leave. If that happens, should they be replaced? Doesn’t Schism need more members to succeed as a unit, given the gimmick is about unity? Or is it time to just abandon the Schism thing altogether?
I wouldn’t be opposed to that. Schism is far from my favorite stable. But it is giving Ava Raine a safety net to become more comfortable on screen, and that’s probably going to be its biggest purpose. Also, if Joe Gacy stops having followers, he’s just another guy on the roster.
So let’s say Reid and Fowler are out (and, in that case, I hope we see The Grizzled Young Veterans in AEW or ROH). I would definitely replace them with some others and make a storyline out of it.
Schism lost at Stand & Deliver. Sometimes, in order for a tree to best grow, you have to trim the dead branches. That can be Gacy’s explanation to why he excommunicated them from the group. And since Schism is all about recruitment, their efforts to bring others into the fold should continue.
Duke Hudson would have been a go-to answer for me, but since he sided so clearly with Chase University, it would be a step backward. It can still be done, but I don’t think the impact would be quite as big.
Nathan Frazer is a major option. He’s veering too close to Tyler Bate’s enlightened character and there isn’t enough room for the both of them doing a similar gimmick unless they’re a tag team. But if he’s the polar opposite, in a way, that can work.
Put Xyon Quinn in there. He isn’t doing anything else. Do the same for Boa, maybe. I’d give serious consideration to Von Wagner joining, as well.
On top of that, you could always just put some of the lesser-known Performance Center Superstars in there. Nobody would bat an eye if Bronco Nima joined, or Myles Borne, or Bryson Montana. If any of them are not planned for pushes to stand out on their own two feet like Tank Ledger and Oba Femi being advertised recently, or Eddy Thorpe, then toss them in there and see if they can sink or swim.
What’s the Endgame for This Kiana James and Brooks Jensen Storyline?
So now that Kiana James has admitted to “cheating” on Brooks Jensen, by way of saying they aren’t exclusive and she was just dating around, what’s the endgame of all this?
I bet WWE doesn’t even know, and they’re just booking on a two-week basis from the start. But sooner or later, it does have to end, even if the end of it is one of those instances where WWE simply stops telling the story and we’re supposed to forget about it, like how Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell had the whole Duke Hudson and Dexter Lumis thing going on before Persia and Lumis were released.
They’ve passed the opportunity to go with Josh Briggs turning heel, in my mind. It could have been revealed his middle name is Sebastian or something to drive a wedge between them, but he’s far too invested in helping Brooks out for that to be the end of this. It wouldn’t make sense.
Zack and Sebastian are both dead in the water, in some ways. Maybe they do bring one of the PC guys into the fold as Sebastian and he starts a feud with Brooks, but meh.
Fallon Henley has been so concerned with Jensen’s feelings that I still think there’s a chance she ends up pulling a typical CW-esque twist of admitting she has feelings for Brooks and that’s why she’s gone through all the trouble. That wouldn’t shock me at all. But it does leave Briggs out in the cold with nothing to do, unless they really love this whole romance drama and try to keep the story going even further with him as a third wheel and Fallon + Brooks trying to set him up with someone on the roster.
I stopped watching CW a long time ago. This isn’t by any means the storytelling I would love to see on NXT right now. But I do want to see some kind of a conclusion that will put everyone in a better spot. So far, at the very least, I think we can agree that their star power has increased with all this attention. That’s a positive.
And for the record, if I’m going to pair Briggs up with a woman on the NXT roster, it would likely be Dani Palmer or Giovanna Eburneo to spite Kiana James. I don’t know anything about those two, as they’re new, but I can’t picture him having chemistry with anyone who is busy with another gimmick, feud or total opposite character (ie, Briggs with Elektra Lopez? Jacy Jayne? Lyra Valkyria? Zoey Stark? I don’t see it.)
Indi Hartwell’s Clock is Ticking
Rounding this out, let’s talk about how soon Indi Hartwell is going to drop that NXT Women’s Championship.
She got her big win at Stand & Deliver and even got to retain over Zoey Stark on television this week. But she was promptly taken out by Cora Jade while Tiffany Stratton looked on.
One of those two is winning the title at or before NXT Battleground. I’m sure of it. Indi could very well be on her way up to the main roster in the 2023 WWE Draft, which is set to happen in a few weeks (unannounced date). If that draft happens before Battleground, she might be safe. But I don’t think WWE is going to want to cram the draft in between Backlash (May 6) and both Battleground (May 28) and King & Queen of the Ring (May 27). I’m expecting it to be the first week of June.
My bet is on Jade winning so she can drop the belt back to Roxanne Perez, who can then drop it to Stratton, while Stark might actually come up in the draft as well.
What do you think about these topics? Keep the discussion going by leaving a comment below!
You can keep up with all your wrestling news right here on eWrestlingNews.com. Or, you can follow us over on our Twitter and Facebook pages.