The Problem with NXT

Alright, let’s just cut straight to it: NXT is the best brand in the WWE network at this point in time. That is just a fact. Personally, I believe that it is because you have people who have worked as a wrestler for many, many years run it, and not a businessman-turned-kind-of-wrestler in Vince McMahon. The NXT staff boasts Paul Levesque/Triple H (Senior Producer, Executive Vice President of Talent, Creative and Live Events), Matt Bloom/Albert (Head Trainer, Producer), Scott Garland/Scotty 2 Hotty (Trainer), Sarah Amato/Sarah Del Ray (Assistant Head Trainer, Producer), Robert Brooks/Robbie Brookside (Trainer, Talent Scout) and, let’s not forget, Darren Kenneth “William Regal” Matthews as the General Manager of NXT. It really is a “for the wrestlers, by the wrestlers” sort of company.

Personally, NXT is the best brand because it’s fascinating to look at superstars who could be the future of the company in years to come. Wrestlers such as Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano, Eric Young, Tommaso Ciampa, Alexander Wolfe, Drew McIntyre, Killian Dain and even The Velveteen Dream, could become mainstays of the company for years to come. Some of the best matches of the past few years (in your author’s humble personal opinion) from the whole of WWE have come from NXT. Stand outs include Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura in Shinsuke’s NXT debut at NXT TakeOver: Dallas and #DIY vs The Revival’s 2-out-of-3 Falls match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, with the latter being one of the best matches I have ever seen! The ending was fantastic and it concluded a long-running rivalry were #DIY always fell just that little bit short. Even Aleister Black vs the debuting Kyle O’Reilly on the most recent (August 2nd)) taping of NXT was nothing short of incredible.

Now for the main reason of this article; a secondary men’s title on NXT! I know that I am not alone in thinking that NXT, and WWE as a whole, would benefit from a secondary title to supplement the NXT Championship. The fact of the matter is that, at most, 3-4 superstars will compete for the top title, including the current Champion. That leaves at least another 10 superstars who are fighting for no other reason than the sake is fighting or personal feuds (100% yawning at Ohno/Itami, it’s just not captivating in the slightest). So without much further ado, here are my reasons as to why I feel a secondary title on NXT would be fantastic:

  • Increased Roster Development and Better Storylines

Another title would allow for more storylines, and even more developed storylines. Wrestlers who are currently being pushed by Creative, such as Aleister Black and The Velveteen Dream, are just competing in matches every couple of weeks and winning comfortably (although Black has been used to debut Kyle O’Reilly, a well-known wrestler, and I’ll say it again, that was a fantastic match). This leaves no other way for Creative to progress them, as Drew McIntyre is currently the #1 Contender for Bobby Roode’s NXT Championship, with Roderick Strong a perennial figure due to his personal rivalry with Roode. Although, it wouldn’t be unlikely that whoever wins between Roode and McIntyre will face Aleister Black next.

This leaves wrestlers such as Eric Young, No Way Jose, Andre Almas, Roderick Strong, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, to name a few, stuck in the mid-rift with nothing to compete for. If Bobby Roode DOES retain, you could see him wanting to challenge any potential secondary champion to a “Champion vs Champion” match to prove he really is the best champion on the roster. That’s another GLORIOUS storyline, that I’m sure many people would love to see! I’d argue Asuka would probably beat him though, but this isn’t Lucha Underground, is it?

  • Increased Brand Product of NXT

I know a lot of people don’t really see it as such, but NXT is still the “developmental” roster to WWE. If another belt was introduced, it would take NXT a step away from just being the “developmental” brand to a genuine world-wide brand that could compete with RAW and Smackdown Live, but that would probably take away from the more personal atmosphere for NXT.

NXT have prided themselves on intimate shows, with Full Sail maxing out at an attendance of 450-500 per NXT show, which is incredibly small and really gives a feel that you can connect with the superstars. You wouldn’t find WWE pitching shows at a festival like Download Festival, would you? But that’s precisely what the Triple H-led NXT did. I was stood next to some 6’6 Glaswegian watching NXT when he said “Oh, I just saw Triple H there up on the sound-desk!”, I suitably told him where to go as he wouldn’t be here, but you can bet as soon as the opening chord came on to his entrance, I screamed like the dirty little mark I am… I was 10 yards away from Triple H, what do you expect!? At the most recent festival, a lot of the wrestlers openly communicated with the crowd. A personal highlight was Alexander Wolfe vs Riddick Moss. Moss came out saying he was too beautiful for the crowd and he wouldn’t let anybody from the “ugly, European crowd” touch his face. German-born Wolfe subsequently came out and made sure to touch his face at every opportunity. Suck it, Moss.

An NXT Championship Replica Title Belt currently sells for £268.16 on the WWE Store (no, really, go check yourself if you don’t believe me, lord above.), and there are no doubt thousands of fans who have more money than sense who actually buy these overpriced pieces of merchandise. If you add another, slightly cheaper, alternative then there may be room for the more sensible fan (who still have far more money than sense) to buy them. A standard WWE Championship Replica Title Belt sells for around £349.42, which is a difference of £81.26. If you applied this same price difference to the potential secondary belt, it would push the pricing well below £200, this is a far more realistic pricing for any hardcore wrestling fan who would love to own their own belt.

 

  • Reigniting Careers Of Wrestlers

It goes without saying that there are many superstars on the WWE roster who could flourish under a little bit of a career-reignition in NXT. For instance, it was announced in July 2017 that Curt Hawkins was currently on a 100-match losing streak. We know that he wasn’t overly impressive in his first WWE tenure, with the highlight being a short-lived WWE Tag Team Championship reign after their win over John Morrison and The Miz.

Another superstar is the seemingly invisible Luke Harper. After breaking away from The Wyatt Family, he embarked on a campaign to become WWE Champion, wanting to face his former mentor Bray Wyatt. In the #1 Contender Battle Royale, Harper and Styles eliminated each other “at the same time”, although it was seen that Harper was the actual winner with Styles hitting the floor first… But, storyline eh?

Both of these wrestlers, including others such as Heath Slater, Darren Young, Kalisto, Sin Cara and even Dolph Ziggler, could benefit from dropping down into NXT and regaining their mojo back. I would have included Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, but they seem to be undergoing a bit of a revival in the Miztourage, let’s not forget that Bo Dallas was one of the greatest wrestlers in NXT at the time… How the mighty have fallen.

I was going to include a small part on the UK Championship, but as the name suggests, it’s a UK-centric title and there aren’t many UK-born superstars in WWE as a whole. This leaves the UK Championship much like the Cruiserweight Championship, with it’s nice little mini-roster.

 

So there we have it. I honestly feel that a second belt being introduced could propel the NXT brand and make it more entertaining than it already is to watch. More storylines, better rivalries and rivalries that will have end-goals aside from the NXT Championship, lovely. Let me know your opinions in the comment section below! What would you call it? How would you like it to look or be presented? Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

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