Johnny Gargano recently said that NXT has “the most talented locker room ever assembled”, and he’s probably right.
In the men’s division, Tommaso Ciampa is leading the way as NXT champion. Former champ Aleister Black is one of the best in-ring talents in all of WWE. And then there’s Velveteen Dream — the hottest prospect to come through the NXT system in years.
Like Dream, the freakish Lars Sullivan continues to get better and better, as does Pete Dunne, and then you have two of the most gifted performers on the planet, Ricochet and Adam Cole, in a storyline that doesn’t even feature at the top of the NXT card.
And that’s not a bad thing — it just shows how stacked the roster is.
The women’s division is spearheaded by Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler, followed by the compelling Nikki Cross and unique Bianca Belair, and then there’s Dakota Kai, Lacey Evans, Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke and a ton of talent from the Mae Young Classic waiting for opportunities.
As for the tag division: Undisputed Era… Moustache Mountain… Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch… War Raiders… The Mighty… The Forgotten Sons… Heavy Machinery… Street Profits… and you get the idea.
From top to bottom, the whole roster is full of unbelievable talent.
‘WWE is pushing for NXT to go to two hours’
WWE is set to make some big changes to NXT, according to the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer.
The company reportedly wants to expand its talent around the world with multiple international Performance Centres.
It is also looking into the idea of making NXT a two-hour show and increasing the time of TakeOvers.
Here’s the quote from Meltzer (via Cultaholic):
“WWE is looking at expanding talent and the NXT side with all the added revenue coming in from the new deals. Among the ideas are more international Performance Centres and international territories, which means being even more aggressive in locking down people who they spot having marketable potential. There are those in the company pushing for the idea of the NXT TV show going two hours because they have so much talent, and to also increase the time of their Takeover shows.”
Why is this a bad idea?
For starters, there’s too much wrestling around right now.
We all love to watch wrestling (hopefully, or else you wouldn’t be reading this right now), but there has to be a limit to how many shows fans watch every week.
For WWE viewers alone, you have to watch eight hours of matches per week just to keep up with the latest storylines on Raw, SmackDown Live, 205 Live, NXT and the Mae Young Classic, and that number is only going to grow when the NXT UK show begins.
When you factor in weeks when there’s a PPV, that number increases to 12-14 hours of live WWE match action in a single week.
And that’s not including any other promotions (Impact, NJPW etc).
If anything, WWE should be looking to decrease weekly viewing time, not add to it.
We’ve seen so many huge stars from NXT turn into underwhelming mid-carders on the main roster.
Why? Because the one-hour NXT format prevents Superstars from becoming overexposed, unlike Raw and SmackDown Live where we see the same faces every week.
The Undisputed Era, for example, didn’t even feature on last night’s NXT, while Ciampa is the champion and he only briefly appeared in a backstage segment.
In NXT, that works perfectly. The next time Cole, Ciampa & Co. appear, it’ll feel like a bigger deal.
If NXT switches to two hours, the detailed stories that we usually see play out over several months will become rushed, just like Raw and SmackDown Live, and it will make for a weaker show.
The idea makes sense…
There’s definitely a case to be made for these changes.
Shinsuke Nakamura recently spoke in media interviews about how the transition from NXT to the main roster was a lot different to what he expected.
NXT Superstars are given time in their matches and the storylines last a lot longer compared to Raw and SmackDown Live, which usually has shorter matches and the storylines move a lot faster.
Other former NXT performers, including Alexa Bliss and Carmella, have mentioned how they never featured in a match on a TakeOver special, which seems crazy now considering how many PPV matches they’ve competed in.
If NXT moved to two hours and had longer TakeOver specials, more people would get chances and perhaps the jump to the main roster wouldn’t be so daunting.
…but NXT should stick to one hour
For the performers, WWE wanting them to have extra television time in NXT makes total sense.
For the fans, however, it’d only lead to them getting burnt out by up-and-coming Superstars before they’ve even made it to the main roster.
An alternative idea, if WWE really wants to give Superstars more experience in front of a television audience, is to occasionally stream house shows live on the WWE Network.
That way the stars of the future can get used to working in front of live cameras but the NXT storylines — and overexposure that comes with an extra hour of television — won’t be affected.
What do you think WWE should do with NXT?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!