Is NXT Making the Same Mistakes as Raw and Smackdown?
NXT has built themselves quite the following over the last year, to the point where at times it has been praised as a superior product to its main event predecessor. They’ve been the talk of the town, the newest and hottest craze in pro wrestling for months, and their success has motivated them to expand into two-hour live events, and tours to various venues across the country and even internationally.
However, if I was a fan of wrestling and I decided to watch NXT for the first time this past Wednesday, I would be forced to wonder what all the hype is all about. The show had barely any high spots, the crowd was rowdy but for little discernible reason, and there seemed to be more drama than dropkicks – so to speak. It was, for lack of a better term, kind of boring.
A wrestling show’s opening and its main event are the most important points in the show. A good show opens with energy, which gets the crowd excited for the card that is to follow. The main event is supposed to be the high-light of the night, and should make up for any points which were low, slow, or missed the mark.
NXT this week opened with a talking segment which, granted, was well constructed and didn’t drag like some opening segments of Raw or Smackdown, but I can’t say it was exploding with energy either. The main event was hardly a match at all, and it ended on such an awkward, hushed note because of Owens’ attack – which could have been seen coming a mile away.
It feels like this episode sacrificed entertainment value in favour of setting the scene for their next big event, NXT: TakeOver on May 20th. They used it as a platform to build tension between rivals and further plot-lines. After all, the important thing is protecting talent and hyping the championship picture, right?
Wrong! The most important thing is and always should be entertaining the fans and putting on good matches.
NXT got to the level of recognition it did by delivering superior in-ring product. They did not do that this week. They actually failed at that this week. They gave us an in-ring talking segment, two matches ending in outside interference to further peripheral plot-lines, two squash matches, and a no contest pseudo-main event. That sounds an awful lot like a bad episode of Smackdown to me, not the “revolutionary new division” that is “breathing new life into sports entertainment.”
NXT has to be careful not to get too hyped up on their success and get lazy. They are using their weekly television show as a way to further storylines and build towards main events instead of using it to showcase the wealth of talent on their roster by constructing good matches. They have to remember what made them so special to begin with and not lose that, or else people are going to get bored the same way they got bored with the main roster.
With a new show like El Rey Network’s Lucha: Underground gaining popularity and airing on the same night as NXT, they have a legitimate reason to pick up their game.