A few weeks ago, it was reported that the WWE plans to promote its developmental show NXT heavily through the WWE Network as a “pure wrestling show”.
As NXT is usually seen as the show where future stars who are considered not ready for the main roster are showcased, it seems like an odd statement to make. If the onus is now going to be for these wrestlers to put on a wrestling show every week, what are Raw and Smackdown meant to be?
Surely the whole point of developing these future stars is to allow them to take those talents they’ve honed in NXT and transfer them to the next level when they make the step up?
The cynicism people like myself and others feel for the current product WWE is putting out is the fact that there has been so much potential coming through NXT in recent years that it seems as if WWE doesn’t really have any clue whatsoever in how to market new upcoming stars who will replace the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton as the company mainstays.
We have seen evidence that the young talent emerging from NXT is bringing a bit of freshness to the product, look at the recent matches between The Shield and The Wyatt Family for proof of this.
We have also seen a trio of superb matches between Cesaro and Sami Zayn in NXT that have blown away most of the matches on Raw and Smackdown this year.
NXT is proof that the developmental system is working and perhaps this is WWE’s way of paying NXT an underhand compliment by referring to it as “its pure wrestling show” but it sort of undermines what the talent who feature on Raw and Smackdown are meant to be doing.
We also have to remember that while WWE can’t give every emerging star a big title push, it can at least use the talent as wrestlers rather than just have them showcasing silly gimmicks.
We’ve also seen that Emma has a wealth of talent and her matches against Paige have shown that both women are abundantly talented, but Emma has been introduced to the main roster as a nice-but-dim character who is doing more comedy romance with Santino than actual wrestling.
Big E. Langston is another wrestler who was one of the big dominating powerhouses in NXT but whom is now being buried in the midcard as a mere supporting character.
Not only that, Big E. Langston is currently holding the WWE Intercontinental title, which is a title that used to have prestige and honour as the WWE’s second most important championship. This was a belt the likes of Macho Man Randy Savage, Ravishing Rick Rude, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect all held at some point, and led to show-stealing championship matches. So why not book Langston as a strong champion who defends his title week in week out than have him being bullied by Jack Swagger and bring some prestige back to the Intercontinental title?
It seems to be that talent is allowed to flourish and grow organically in the NXT division but when they get to the main roster, they are either booked into brilliant storylines (as we have seen with factions like The Shield and The Wyatt Family) or they’re given crap gimmicks like Johnny Curtis being revamped as a ballroom dancer despite the fact he won WWE Tough Enough because he did actually have a modicum of wrestling talent: talent that could have carried itself without a shit Strictly Come Dancing gimmick attached to it.
The current NXT roster is one of the most exciting group of wrestlers to watch at the moment.
The UK’s own Adrian Neville is a high-flying wrestler who we haven’t really seen the likes of since Seth Rollins made the leap up to the main roster and whose corkscrew shooting star press finishing move he calls The Red Arrow is the most impressive high-flying move I have seen since Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb.
Sami Zayn has already cemented his reputation amongst WWE devotees with his matches against Cesaro in NXT and one can’t stress enough how talented this wrestler is, if you want to go further then go check out his matches in Ring of Honor on YouTube when he wrestled under the moniker El Generico.
Bo Dallas, who had a brief feud with Wade Barrett in WWE, is also an impressive heel who is great at antagonising a crowd much like his real-life brother Bray Wyatt and despite his quite unimpressive and standardised move set, he more than makes up for it in athleticism and storytelling.
If you haven’t got on the NXT bandwagon yet then the WWE seemed to be putting a lot of focus on it at the moment in the wake of NXT Arrival, a PPV that gave the WWE a lot of critical acclaim in terms of putting on a legit wrestling show.
It just seems odd that the company seems reluctant to attribute as much passion and pay as much respect to the sport of wrestling with their main roster shows.