What’s Up, NXT? How You Doin’?
There once was a magical time, in an alternate universe, where Bo Dallas was one of the most loved heels in the building. A place where current WWE Universal Champion, Kevin Owens, made a brief yet triumphant stop-by, and Bayley and Sasha Banks wrestled in the first ever Iron Woman Match.
A place where Tyler Breeze was wildly popular, and for good reason.
NXT was where Corey Graves went from a mind-numbingly boring wrestler to one of the best commentators around. Emma was celebrated not only for her sense of humour but as a legitimate badass pro wrestler. If we’re being honest, it was her and Paige that actually started the Divas’ Women’s Revolution, but WWE is super weird with their history.
NXT, man. For those that have been paying attention since Arrival and before, we know THAT’S where all the best wrestling, with the most emotional and entertaining storylines happen.
It’s why we went from, “Oh boy I can’t wait until Enzo & Cass debut on the main roster!” to “Oh god, I hope they don’t call up Shinsuke Nakamura, they’ll just ruin him.” So quickly. NXT may not be the financial heart of the company, but it is absolutely the pro wrestling soul of WWE.
So when what felt like half the NXT roster got called up to the main roster in the past year or so, the brand took a hit. Suddenly it was filled with a bunch of people we didn’t recognise, rolling out gimmicks we don’t understand or connect to.
I hear a lot of people complaining about how “it’s not as good as it used to be” and “it’s just not the same,” Fair, but how well do those people remember the earlier days, when there was just one or two great feuds going on with a lot of interesting, if not underwhelming filler?
It is weird to see a brand go from firing on all cylinders for every match on every card, to trying to find it’s footing after years of being the diamond in the rough. Right now, NXT has a handful of compelling stories at best, and a truckload of people we’re still trying to get a feel for. That’s not good.
It’s actually kind of great.