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Would WWE be better off without NXT?


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Before I continue, I'm going to clarify an important point - I'm not talking about the performance centre. Of course they're not better off without that - I'm talking purely about NXT as a standalone brand. 

WWE Smackdown is killing it right now, thanks in no small part to Roman Reigns. Raw, on the other hand, is consistently horrendous and I don't think it would be much better if it was a two hour show. 

Neither 'main' roster has a huge amount of depth, particularly in the Women's Division, and I'm not sure a draft would help them much - in fact, I'd worry that it would ruin the good thing they have going on with the Smackdown brand. 

But if you kill NXT? You suddenly have an influx of new talent, particularly on the Women's side. It would allow WWE to have a similar level of depth on its female roster as it does on the male roster, and also gives you access to fun characters and talented wrestlers like Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano, WALTER (assuming he's willing to wrestle regularly in the States), Bronson Reed and MSK. 

You - potentially - remove the lingering main roster staleness in one foul (albeit brutal) swoop. 

It doesn't fix the poor booking, but it does prevent WWE from having to support three brands at, arguably, the detriment of their two main income generators. 

NXT isn't acting as much of a developmental territory anymore, and very much exists for its own audience. I'm not convinced that it's existence is particularly helpful at this point. 

So what do you think? Has NXT become a burden? Would WWE be better off without it?

 

 

 

Edited by RedRooster
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Posted (edited)

I think I'd probably scrap the PC before scrapping NXT TV. Or at least change all the staff who run it. I'm not sure who is to blame or where the blame starts on the chain but it feels like all the top home grown stars of the past decade or so originally came from OVW or FCW. The PC seems to be an excellent place to develop the women but on the men's side I can't really think of anyone they've hired and developed from scratch who turned out to be anything special - whether that's in drawing crowds, getting over or having notable matches/promos. Whether this is more of a result of the current WWE products failings or the PC I'm not sure. All I know is that for a game changing state of the art talent training and development facility that's been open for nearly 10 years they haven't made a genuine long term main eventer out of it yet.

As for NXT TV, the seem to want it to be viewed as a third equal brand rather than a development show. Which is madness because it being this small, development show was exactly what made it so fun and special to watch in the first place. Without that element it's just another wrestling show. WWE has a massive roster but most of them are good wrestlers who are never going to draw a dime. What is the point of Baron Corbin for example? He's done all he can and he's never going to amount to anything more. They could drop half these scrubs and just use the top talent with real potential to fill out the shows. Merge all the top NXT people into the Raw and Smackdown rosters then go back to NXT as a genuine developmental show.

Edited by LaGoosh
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22 minutes ago, King Mal the Glorious said:

You'd just end up with a lot more people sitting in catering each week.

Essentially this. An influx of talent isn't what's going to fix RAW or Smackdown when the problems run far deeper than that.

Looking through the roster on Wikipedia, you have the following who either seem to never get booked, or only be used as part of the 24/7 nonsense:

RAW
Akira Tozawa (hasn't wrestled on RAW since last November), Angel Garza (two RAW matches this year), Drew Gulak (one RAW match this year), Gran Metalik, Humberto Carillo (hasn't wrestled on RAW since last October), Jinder Mahal (returned from injury for the Indian show, but hasn't been on TV in over a year), Lince Dorado (six RAW matches this year), Ricochet (three RAW matches this year), Riddick Moss (hasn't appeared on RAW in over a year), Titus O'Neill (hosted Wrestlemania, but hasn't wrestled since November).

 

Smackdown has a smaller roster and fares a lot better, but you still have Buddy Murphy who has only wrestled twice this year, and Aleister Black, who has just started making appearances after being drafted to Smackdown in October, and the Retribution lot who have been jokes since they debuted now split across both brands.

Once upon a time Ricochet was being presented as a future star, and getting to interact with main event talent. Now he's lucky to show his face in the background of an R-Truth comedy skit. I'm not confident that anyone in NXT fares any better for more than a brief window of opportunity after they first debut. 

The problem isn't a lack of talent - pretty much everyone on that list of unused wrestlers on RAW brings something to the table - so adding more wrestlers to the mix doesn't solve anything. Maybe there's an ideal world where the best of NXT's creative moves to the main roster, but the strengths of NXT's storytelling have always come from the fact that they had fewer pressures than a show as big as RAW or Smackdown, and the more pressure NXT was under to deliver as a live TV product, the worse that storytelling got. So I'm not convinced that's a solution either.

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The main problem is we know that, more often than not, the guys and girls from NXT suffer when they get 'called up' or whatever you want to describe it as these days. And that's when there's only 1 or 2 of them. Imagine how utterly shit it'd be if they suddenly had to try and write well for a whole influx of talent. No thanks.

RAW can't even book its own talent properly. Shoving a load of new people on it isn't going to fix that problem. It'll only make it worse.

Are there valid places for some new talent here and there? Absolutely, but the answer to how shit RAW is isn't down to the people it has on it.

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9 minutes ago, BomberPat said:

Essentially this. An influx of talent isn't what's going to fix RAW or Smackdown when the problems run far deeper than that.

Just now, DavidB6937 said:

RAW can't even book its own talent properly. Shoving a load of new people on it isn't going to fix that problem. It'll only make it worse.

I think, for me, it's not so much what it would mean for the men's division, although I do believe there are several male wrestlers who would enhance either brand - it's what it would mean for the Women's roster. 

You'd suddenly have access to Io Shirai, Kacy Catanzaro, Raquel Gonzalez, Indi Hartwell, Candice LeRae and others, and it could create a division on both rosters with real drawing power. They would be able to give the female roster more air time, ensure the feuds we see are fresh rather than a rotation of the same, and create more of a hierarchy with the women, which in itself would surely increase the star power of those considered "higher up" the card. 

You both make valid points when it comes to the men - and there would be wrestlers who they'd swiftly release, or misuse. But there are people who likely would get the chance - Balor would be a helpful addition to either roster. I'm not a huge fan of Karrion Kross, but outside of the inevitable name change to either "Karrion" or "Kross", I can't imagine they wouldn't utilise him. 

Johnny Gargano has a Sami Zayn like quality to him that makes me think Vince would find his character entertaining. The tag division is so weak on both shows that MSK would be a welcome addition to either roster. I would also imagine Vince would see star power in someone like Dexter Lumis. 

 

As far as the rest of them go, a few would get lucky, some would get placed in tag teams or the 24/7 division, and others would get released. But ultimately, I think the pros may outweigh the cons (particularly, as I mentioned, when it comes to the female roster).

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As a brand its fine as it is, but they really need to realise its a failure as far as a developmental area. Far to many people who come out of it seem cookie cutter and its rare you get something different. I'm far from Corbins biggest fan but at least he has a personality and has run with it. So many are interchangable. Great athletes but promos are meh and the guys all have the beard, black trunks look. I would say for the women performers its worked a lot better but the cynic in me believes they would of always done some kind of womens revoluation so they can suck their own parts at how progressive and cutting edge they are.

Random fact - every match at fastlane had one participent with the greasy hair/naf beard combo. Try to stand out guys! 

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18 minutes ago, JNLister said:

If a restaurant is serving bland, stodgy food, clearing out the freezer isn't going to help.

See, I would argue that the restaurant isn't serving "bland, stodgy food' - only a branch of it is (RAW - appropriately named, given the food analogy). 

I think a convincing case could be made to argue that Smackdown is the most consistently entertaining wrestling show on a week-to-week basis. 

Even with that, the limited roster means that Smackdown can be very repetitious - the length of the Reigns/Owens, Sasha/Bayley and Reigns/Uso feuds are perfect examples of this (although Reigns/Uso didn't really lose its shine for me).

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1 hour ago, LaGoosh said:

I think I'd probably scrap the PC before scrapping NXT TV. Or at least change all the staff who run it. I'm not sure who is to blame or where the blame starts on the chain but it feels like all the top home grown stars of the past decade or so originally came from OVW or FCW. The PC seems to be an excellent place to develop the women but on the men's side I can't really think of anyone they've hired and developed from scratch who turned out to be anything special - whether that's in drawing crowds, getting over or having notable matches/promos.

Whilst I mostly agree, slowly but surely Tay Conti is making an absolute mockery of their developmental system. The amount she's improved and developed her own style in her short time in AEW compared to the years she was doing fuck all in NXT is a huge indictment of the Performance Center.

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To be honest I don't know enough about today's week to week product to weigh in fairly on NXT's current standing, but even for most of the latter half of last decade when people were creaming themselves over it on a regular basis, I long suspected it was actually further robbing WWE television of any chance of spontaneity.

It laid down a pathway for a lot of great matches - and was part of a greater overall shift in perception that allowed a lot of people to get on the shows who would have just been doing cruiserweight battle royals in a previous ers - but I always felt that came at a certain cost of having things get a bit NXT-itis, much like they'd always previously gotten WWE-itis.

Fully aware that I'm one of those bring back costumes and roid rash relics, but NXT for me's always moved the product further away from what I wanted it to be. 

On paper it's brilliant, I just find something so incredibly formulaic about the create-a-superstar box ticking that it was doing last time I checked it out. Everyone's got their logo, their catchphrase, their crowd participation bit, their choreographed lights and camera cue entrances.

It's sports entertainment from white board to dry run. And you know whose going to be cropping up on Raw or Smackdown soon after WrestleMania. Maybe it's not as bad anymore, but it was like that for awhile. That's what made Braun showing up out of nowhere so awesome. 

Those Takeovers are full of great matches, but can anyone really tell them apart after awhile? For the most part - at least the years that I watched - it was just one show over and over. 

The wrestling TV product to me needs to exist in some space of danger and spontaneity. Nothing to do with needing the tawdriness of the Attitude Era, either. NXT just seems to promote WWE's production values, which always contribute to making it feel like - and I'm paraphrasing something somebody else wrote on here before - a TV show about a wrestling show rather than a filmed document of a wrestling event that happened. 

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Using a couple of my circles as examples - fans I know locally/through work, fans from back home, fans from Uni - the answer “I’d have cancelled The Network ages ago if it wasn’t for NXT” is almost unanimous. I wonder if that translates globally, if there are plenty of jaded lifers who’ve gone off the main roster shows and only watch NXT. I was in that boat too for a couple of years myself. My point being ; while it’s been said that NXT runs at a loss in terms of the discrete costs, I wonder how many subs sit there because people still enjoy NXT even when the main shows feel like a chore. So yeah, I wouldn’t close it.

That and the obvious proving ground analogy. Would be a little like killing the golden goose.

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I’d do away with Raw before even considering binning NXT, move the WWE title and the main stars on Raw (Drew, Lashley, Miz, Morrison, Priest, Braun) and the Raw women’s and Tag divisions to Smackdown and halve the main roster titles to the WWE, IC, US and one singular Women’s and Tag title and move those that don’t get to go Blue over to NXT and you end up with two solid shows and fresher matches on both brands

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To me it sounds like a "kill the goose to get the golden eggs" solution. Yeah it'll be great for two months but in the long term it'll fall into it's usually pattern and you have killed off a brand in the process. 

I do feel WWE needs to overhaul its product but this is not the way to do it.

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16 hours ago, JNLister said:

If a restaurant is serving bland, stodgy food, clearing out the freezer isn't going to help.

Never watched Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares then? 

 

I'd definitely bin off NXT UK. Seen a few episodes and it just comes across as cheap, poorly produced, uncared for and with no real identity. IMO its WWE paying lip service to UK and European fans.

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