This is my first article to focus on WWE NXT. I have to admit, I watched some NXT in its early days, and I thought it was alright, but it wasn’t anything to tell your mates about. What annoyed me the most about NXT? WWE decided to put great professional wrestlers with tons of experience from around the world, and stick them in NXT with established WWE wrestlers who couldn’t hold a candle to them.
NXT was more of a reality television show with silly competitions and eliminations. The winners of these NXT seasons would amount to nothing the majority of the time. Ironically, more losers of those seasons ended up as full timers on the main roster than the winners. It was a broken program, something I didn’t really care for, as I couldn’t get behind it. I tried, but I just couldn’t. Sorry if that offends anyone.
The best thing they did for NXT was to get rid of FCW and make NXT a full time weekly program. Despite them doing that, I was still sceptical about the show, especially when they brought in wrestlers like Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn. I couldn’t understand why they would take guys with so much experience and popularity and waste them on a development show.
My view changed when The Shield entered the fray. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were names that were hyped up by fans for a long time, They desperately wanted to see these guys on the main roster, they begged, they pleaded, they worshipped, and eventually got their wish. They were right. Those fans were absolutely right. Look at where The Shield is now, and you will see that all that time in NXT really helped the members of The Shield. Rollins has commented on the fact that he appreciated the time he put into NXT, it made him hungry, it made him work harder than ever, and when he got called up to the main roster, he was more than ready for it, he was fully prepared..
Here is a list of all the wrestlers on the current WWE roster (according to WWE.com) who worked in NXT before being called up:
- Adam Rose
- AJ Lee
- Bad News Barrett
- Big E
- Bo Dallas
- Bray Wyatt
- Brodus Clay
- Curtis Axel
- Damien Sandow
- Daniel Bryan
- Darren Young
- David Otunga
- Dean Ambrose
- Erick Rowan
- Heath Slater
- Justin Gabriel
- Luke Harper
- Roman Reigns
- Seth Rollins
- Summer Rae
- Titus O’Neil
- Xavier Woods
Some of the older wrestlers were put through FCW or OVW. This shows how far the WWE has come since the downfall of WCW, only a small handful of talent (on the current roster) can say they never needed the development system, and they are veterans like Kane, Triple H and The Big Show. WWE has its own style of “sports-entertainment”, and they want all of their wrestlers to be well versed so they don’t struggle.
A prime example of a wrestler who should have worked NXT, but didn’t, was the original Sin Cara. He came into the WWE unable to speak English, he was a veteran in the lucha libre style, but the majority of wrestlers on the roster were unable to work with him. Sin Cara ended up fighting guys like Daniel Bryan and Del Rio on a regular basis. It was bad for him, he had to adapt on the fly, and this led to some rather cringing botches and injuries.
All of these factors contributed to the decision that I would give NXT another try. I tuned into NXT Arrival, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t get it, I don’t understand why they make NXT an excellent “wrestling” show, giving top quality matches, top quality commentary, top quality fans, everything about it is exactly how I wished Raw and Smackdown should be. NXT has a cult following, those who watch NXT are proud to say they watch it, they want to tell people about it, and they often say it’s better than Raw & Smackdown.
NXT Takeover was a great event. I got to see Adam Rose have an actual match against Camacho. I had not seen Camacho in a long time, and I have to say, he has improved an incredible amount, he doesn’t look or wrestle anything like he did on the main roster.
For the second time I got to see The Ascension destroy. They are a complete throwback. I was watching this event with my dad (who I got into wrestling many years ago) and he told me The Ascension were incredibly intense and reminded him of the Road Warriors a little bit. I thought that was a huge compliment from him, and I have to agree. This is a solid tag team, a dominant tag team, but is it their look which is holding them back? I really want to see this team dominate the WWE tag team division ASAP.
Once again, I got to see Sami Zayn lose in the match of the night imo. Sami Zayn is pure excellence. I watched some of his work from ROH long before he came to NXT, and I really don’t want to say his talent is wasted in NXT, but how is he not on the main roster yet? This guy is popular due to his work on the independent scene, he is well loved, and the WWE needs more legitimate babyfaces who people can get behind.
Tyler Breeze … just, wow. I can’t explain in words how I feel about this guy. I only saw him briefly in the previous NXT I saw, but this time I got to see him a high profile match. I was instantly drawn to comparing the guy to Dolph Ziggler, but the more I watched, the comparison to Ziggler soon faded. Tyler Breeze has a gimmick that suits todays society, he has real charisma, and even better than that, the guy can go! You know who I compared his wrestling style to? A young Chris Jericho. Seriously, I did. He is the complete package (not in the way you’re thinking), and I really want to see this guy get over on the main roster as a heel.
I had never seen Charlotte in action before. I knew how great Natalya would be in the title match, and Natalya put Charlotte over in the best way possible. The Hart vs Flair dynamic helped the match so much. This match felt historic, it was memorable, and it shows that the Flair name will continue long after Ric Flair leaves us. I believe Natalya carried the match in places, but Charlotte was no slouch, she is a wrestler, and she has learnt from the best.
How is Tyson Kidd not on the main roster!? He has improved so much, but he is no Adrian Neville. He has such a unique look, you can’t mistake the ears, you can’t mistake the Geordie accent, and as a Yorkshiremen myself, I am so pleased to see someone like Adrian Neville succeed. Just like Barrett, just like Paige, Adrian Neville is the next breakout UK star