The Curious Case Of The Main Roster
Last month, World Wrestling Entertainment organized two big events, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III and the ‘Biggest Party Of The Summer’, SummerSlam. SummerSlam on a whole was a decent show, rectifying the mistakes it made during last year's edition.
However, Brooklyn III has to be one of the best wrestling events put together by WWE and was miles ahead of the main roster’s second most hyped event- SummerSlam. The same company put out both those shows, in the same arena on two different days.
Somehow, they managed to create a wrestling masterpiece one day and then out forth an okay-ish show the very next day.
Ever since its inception as a developmental brand, NXT has caught the eye of wrestling fans, especially the hardcore ones, for its simple yet effective booking, which is a delight to watch. Every wrestler is treated as a superstar, not just lazily termed as one. He\she is given full freedom to express his/her abilities and play his/her character the way he/she wants, helping both the performer and the brand.
However, these same individuals who are promoted to the main roster from ‘developmental’, somehow become a shadow of what they were earlier. They are often treated as afterthoughts and almost every time, fail to reach the heights of their NXT run.
Superstars like Tyler Breeze, Aiden English, Emma, The Ascension to name a few, were super-over in NXT. They were putting out great performances week in week out and as a result, were promoted to the main roster. And thus began their downslide.
The Ascension went from being the brutal, dominating, longest reigning champs in NXT to jobbing against two nearly 50-year old men back in 2015. What is it about NXT that makes these individuals seem far superior to what they seem on the main roster? The simple answer is the creative team.
NXT Creative figures out a way to make every superstar in the brand look strong and worthwhile, while the main roster creative team will make you job at random shows or will completely omit you from the show if they have got nothing for you.
It is baffling to see the same company showcase such a huge difference between two of its brands. Bayley went from getting a huge pop at Battleground 2016 to getting booed in 2017. The main roster needs to learn from the NXT that simple booking can get superstars over with the audience.
If the face is not garnering the reactions they so desperately need, either change the gimmick or turn him heel. It’s a simple solution which works 99 times out of 100.
Case in point: Andrade Cien Almas. He debuted as a face and had a gimmick which was not working well with the crowd.And now we are here, one heel turn later, Cien performed brilliantly in probably the 'Match of the Night' at Brooklyn III.
The excitement of RAW after Mania, and now SmackDown after mania is acknowledged by WWE and they send in superstars from NXT to the main roster to get that ‘pop’. However, when that excitement dies and reality sets in, it turns out that they never had anything relevant for these superstars.
They were promoted just for the sake of getting that ‘huge pop', once it's over, those superstars just take a backseat again and are relegated to a lower status than what they had while they were in NXT.
2017 saw Emma, Tye Dillinger and Revival and Nakamura come to the main roster after Mania. Emma and Tye are directionless, Nakamura lost to Jinder Mahal in a terrible match after a terrible feud with Dolph Ziggler and Revival have done nothing worthwhile yet.
Apollo Crews could have been a huge superstar had he spent some more time in NXT, but was prematurely brought up in 2016.
Another huge problem is the refusal of the main roster creative to utilize the talent it already has. Luke Harper was one of the most over faces back in February. He was inches away from being in the main event of WrestleMania. He had a redemption story which was just exceptional long term writing from 'Creative'
However, now he is literally in the dark, wrestling dark matches and still getting those huge reactions at Live Events. Sami Zayn could have been the next Daniel Bryan but he seems to be getting neglected with each passing day. He could be having feuds with Styles, Roode, Orton, but is stuck in limb with Mike Kanellis.
The frustration of any pro wrestling fan is justified because these underutilized superstars were hugely over in NXT and are completely capable of replicating it on the main roster.
The main roster is completely capable of putting out great shows like Brooklyn III. They just don't want to.