Now that it’s been almost a year since the first NXT special aired on the WWE Network, it’s safe to make a statement on the quality of the product since it can’t be claimed there’s some sort of “bandwagon” effect over one show. NXT has gained a definite cult following over the past year and the rabid live crowds are evident of that on every show; the fans are invested in the characters and that was evident this past week as we saw many of the emotional fan reactions during NXT Takeover: Rival.
Now that the WWE Network has allowed a much larger audience to keep up with NXT, there has been a definite feeling among many that NXT is far and beyond better than the product WWE has given us the past few years, and we can’t we can disagree with that notion. So what’s different? Well, we’ve compiled this list that features many of the reasons NXT is the far superior wrestling product at the moment.
5. A Real Tag Team Division – When NXT’s first special aired, current WWE Superstars “The Ascension” had been on a dominant reign of terror in NXT that included a lengthy tag title reign; The thing that really stood out was that they were an actual tag team that had matching gear and an old school presentation that made it clear that the tag division and their domination of it really mean something. Since then, whether it’s established tag teams like the Lucha Dragons or pairings like current champions Murphy and Blake, it’s clear that the NXT Tag Titles are important and something major to gun for. Sure WWE has had The Usos, The Wyatts, and Gold/Stardust over the past year, but having the same teams wrestle each other on every show gets stale REALLY fast.
4. A Real Divas Division – The current WWE Diva division isn’t bad whatsoever talent-wise, but the fact that the NXT Divas get the time to have real matches that aren’t less than 3 minutes and might even actually have a good story behind them really makes all the difference. Of course, Paige came from this division and is now a top WWE Diva, but the NXT Divas have carried on her division of great lengthy matches that often steal the show.
3. Regular Influx of Fresh Talent – With WWE regularly signing new talents, it seems like there is either a big debut or a new talent that’s never been heard of showing up on a regular basis. This makes for fresh and interesting shows that don’t get stale since talent is in and out so rapidly with many top talents moving on to the WWE roster.
2. Anyone Can Show Up – As evident on this past week’s episode of NXT with the return of Rhyno, NXT has become the show you have to watch because you never know who may show up even if it’s a former WWE talent. Rarely can we turn into RAW and expect anyone but the same old guys we see week in and week out; why can’t we get a former star in for a week or two to shake things up? With NXT it truly feels like an open door policy that creates a very unpredictable show.
1. Matches That Mean Something – If you’ve watched any of the big NXT shows, you know how big they make their main matches feel. With Sami Zayn’s battles with Aaron Neville, the Women’s Title matches, and of course the showdown between Zayn and Kevin Owens, NXT has a vibe with the big matches that has been missing from wrestling from a long time. To me, it feels like we’ve seen just about everyone on RAW face each other multiple times, therefore hardly anything feels special anymore with the exception of Brock Lesnar’s matches since he isn’t overexposed every week.
These are just some of the reasons that come to mind when trying to explain why NXT is the best wrestling show out there right now. At times it feels like much of the magic from wrestling is gone, but NXT brings back the pieces of the Attitude Era and even ECW that made for a glory period in wrestling. If you haven’t checked out NXT you most definitely should give it a chance – the only bad part might be seeing some of the NXT talents move on to the main roster and not be presented as the major stars they come across as in NXT.
Some say NXT has a cult following in Florida which makes the shows so hot; while this is without a doubt part of it, I am in no way a cult fan of NXT – I initially only watched their big shows to see what they were all about, and those shows made me want to watch their weekly TV show. It’s been talked about lately that the main roster knows they are being outdone by NXT right now, so it should be interesting to see how NXT continues to evolve with their top talents being scooped up by the main roster whenever they see fit.