Hello Readers, this is Primal F Mistry, you might remember me from shit posts such as “Kurt Angle: Hugger of men” and “How Not to get Spoilered”. Instead of the usual shite I’ve posted, I’m doing something serious in the form of a book review. I know you were all elected to lead but not to read but give this one a shot lads! This is NXT: The Future is Now written by Jon Robinson and published by (ahem, yep) ECW Press.
NXT: The Future is Now takes us through the birth and progression of WWE’s third wrestling promotion NXT. The book opens with a surprisingly nice foreword from our loveable benevolent overlord, Vincent K McMahon. Vince delivered a lovely written promo detailing how much he admired Triple H for making NXT what it is and how much he wants to see this groundbreaking developmental system flourish This genuinely surprised me because I honestly didn’t think he knew NXT existed.
“The wrestling business is going to die unless we change our development”. Our story begins with Triple H saying those very words as his in ring career was winding down back in 2010. This is one thing that concerned our Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative (say that ten times really fast). The lack of facilities to create the new WWE Superstars of tomorrow deeply disturbed the cerebral assassin.
In the past wrestlers worked in territories in the states and around the world. Once a wrestler gets the most they can possibly get out of a promotion, the booker sends them somewhere else to become a star again. After this ongoing process, a wrestler becomes a superstar.
This doesn’t (really) exist anymore. Our lovable overlord, Chairman Vince, ripped the other territories to shit and drained of them of their talent and resources. As profitable as it was for the WWE, in hindsight, it made the company “a victim of its own success”. Where do they find new talent now?
At the time, the current developmental facility in Florida Championship Wrestling was dire. There was practically zero communication between the warehouse based promotion and the main offices in Stamford CT. Triple H took it upon himself to create something new, because how could someone be expected to perform for ten people in the middle of nowhere before jumping in front of a worldwide audience as a part of RAW or Smackdown Live?
From there the book chronicles the amount of research done by the Game including how other professional sports teams develop their star players, location, hiring trusted veterans who can teach the future superstars and how far they go to scout potential superstars around the world.
One of them included are* lad Freddie Flintoff. Spoiler Alert: He didn’t progress further. It’s chock full of anecdotes and plenty of useful information any aspiring wrestlers can use all from vets and current wrestlers such as: William Regal, Robby Brookside, Triple H, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Bayley and Samoa Joe to name a few.
The book itself is a surprisingly light read judging by the size of the book. It is full of photos. There is a nice hardback feel and weight although the quality of the paper feels like it’s from a cheap WWE annual. They also overdo it with the black and yellow a tad. On the whole, it’s still a decent product.
As someone who has blasted through so many wrestling shoot interviews and behind the scenes videos, I already knew a lot of the content inside. However, for someone completely new to everything behind the scenes, the book will give you a fascinating insight and a small taste to a lot of the behind the scenes decision making, the comradery between the superstars and overall understanding what it takes to become a WWE superstar. Personally, I treated the book as a way of reliving what I felt was a golden era of NXT. The current NXT, as of writing this May 2017, though brilliant, doesn’t feel as engaging as it was a few years ago.
Should you buy it?
I enjoyed it. I recommend it to anyone who’s interested in knowing about the behind the scenes of “the biz”. Appropriately enough, in the way NXT is the developmental system for wrestlers, this book has the potential to be the gateway drug to get fans reading wrestler autobiographies. Although because of how abundant our resources have become through technology, you can find plenty of YouTube videos, podcasts and even the show Breaking Ground (which you can find on the network for an undisclosed monthly sum) which will give you the same information. For pure escapism, it’s fantastic and the book itself is a beautiful thing. There is one question I wish the book would have answered and that is “what does NXT stand for?”.
On that note, I wish you a good day. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back with something stupid, I promise
*that spelling of “are” to mean “our” was intended for comic purposes.
“Nxt: the Future is Now” by Jon Robinson, Published April 20th 2017 by ECW Press,Canada is available in hardback and kindle format and can be purchased on Amazon UK and most high street bookstores here in the UK.