Let me introduce myself. My name is Kaden and I’ve been a wrestling fan since late-2017. I’m a member of Generation Z, making me a very new school fan. I have a variety of hot takes on wrestling, whether it’s WWE, AEW, NJPW or the independents. These will be discussed during this new series that is sure to be very divisive. With that being said, let’s discuss my very first hot take: Pre-USA Network NXT was overrated.
The gold brand of WWE began about 10 years ago, with the first few years being a game show. These first seasons gave us eventual superstars like Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, and AJ Lee. However, the show transitioned after season 5 and became the home of the re-branded Florida Championship Wrestling(FCW). NXT was meant to act as a developmental brand for WWE and would showcase talent before being “brought up” to the main roster(Raw or Smackdown). The show would begin it’s tradition of Takeovers on May 29, 2014, a tradition that would put NXT on the map. Nearly 30 Takeover events later, NXT has moved from being a one hour show on the WWE Network to rivaling AEW every Wednesday night on the USA Network for two hours. The move to cable caused many fans to believe that NXT had lost its original charm. I don’t agree with this.
Why? Here’s Why
I didn’t start watching NXT consistently until January of 2019, so most episodes I’ve never seen. During the quarantine, I decided to go back and watch as many episodes as I could. This would quickly end after I watched the first three months of NXT. I could not get through those episodes. The wrestling was boring and I had absolutely no interest in any of the wrestlers. They did a terrible job with the storytelling and really had no story lines at all. I eventually moved five years into the future to the debut of the Undisputed Era, the faction that got me into NXT in the first place. While the shows are perfectly fine, I find myself skipping through half of them. I found this to be the case in 2019 as well before NXT moved to the USA Network.
The shows seem to have a basic formula. Over the course of three months, five major story lines are set up for Takeovers that coincide with major PPV’s- Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Money in the Bank, Summerslam, and Survivor Series. There will be tons of different minor stories in those three months but none of them are all that interesting i.e. Johnny Gargano’s arc after the breakup of DIY. They would usually tape around 4 episodes at once. This makes the show a little weird since some weeks you won’t see a champion show up at all. The effect of this is tons of meaningless matches. Therefore, while the highs might be amazing, NXT has tons of filler.
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Now don’t get me wrong, NXT is still far superior to its WWE counterparts. My problem comes with the NXT fan base that likes to treat it as if it was a perfect being before going to two hours in September of 2019. Since it was moved to the USA Network, NXT has been a much more watchable show. It’s a live show every week, the champions appear on almost every episode, and there isn’t as much filler content. There’s also the benefit of being in a TV ratings war, allowing for major matches to occur on TV instead of only at a Takeover. This adds an extra level of importance to the match.
I’m sure NXT fans are going to flip out over this, but I’m sorry guys. NXT weekly shows were not as good as you thought they were. Be sure to let me know how you feel about this hot take!