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3 reasons why NXT has gone downhill in 2019

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

Sad Johnny.
Sad Johnny.

Yesterday, All Elite Wrestling put tickets on sale for their next major event, All Out. Those tickets, about 15,000 of them for Chicago's Sears Center, sold out in minutes, with around 70,000 people waiting on the digital line for them. If you're a true wrestling fan, you welcomed this news. It shows that the market is thriving and there's a real demand for something new.

I'm betting that when you heard this news, one of the first things you thought about is WWE's next pay per view, Stomping Grounds, and its struggles to sell tickets. You'll almost certainly agree that the main roster's self-imposed malaise, possibly at its worst ever in 2019, undoubtedly stands in stark contrast to the brilliance that was Double or Nothing.

However, WWE's 2019 malaise has extended beyond the main roster. NXT has also shown signs of decay.

The actual wrestling, of course, is usually as good as ever. From a pure wrestling perspective, NXT TakeOver: XXV did better than Double or Nothing, and it also exceeded its fledgling rival in terms of production values.

Yet, NXT has lacked the magic that it had in the past, and the kind of magic that we saw at Double or Nothing. Aside from the North American Championship picture centering on Velveteen Dream, the storytelling leading into the celebrated TakeOvers has declined dramatically in 2019.

Because of the reputation it's built for itself, NXT has often gotten a pass in ways that the main roster hasn't, but we shouldn't let that prevent us from pointing out its growing failures, should we?

Let's point out those failures now. Note that this post will contain spoilers from the latest NXT tapings.


#1 The women's division

This is the easiest failure to point out. The NXT women's division has been the worst not just on the yellow brand, but in the entire company, for some time now. Gone are the days of Paige, the four horsewomen, and Asuka.

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Instead, Shayna Baszler's run as champion, particularly her abominable disgrace of a second reign, has strangled the vitality of a once-thriving division and destroyed the star power of its talent, which has time and again been made to look like fools so she can look good.

The latest comes in the form of Io Shirai, who lost cleanly to the "champion" at TakeOver: XXV, attacked her afterward to good reaction, and then lost to her again via fluke at the tapings, only to turn heel in the most disappointing manner possible, rendering the entire post-match angle at TakeOver pointless.

When we consider the misuse of the roster and the possibilities foregone all so the same stale formula with Shayna Baszler can continue, we realize the depth of the disaster. I think it's safe to say that an Io Shirai heel turn on a champion Kairi Sane would have been much better than anything the NXT women's division has done for the past 18 months.

Now heading into TakeOver: Toronto II, we have an unexciting match - Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim. There are no good outcomes in such a match. Either the champion retains and this boring formula continues, or Mia Yim wins, but ends this abomination of a title reign in the least exciting manner possible. The latter is obviously preferable, but it's a sign of how deep the rot in the division is.

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