Whisper it quietly–NXT is actually worth watching
Yeah, I said it. Less than two weeks before Wrestlemania, and I'm writing a column about NXT, something about going against the grain. But, having seen NXT for a good few weeks airing before Raw here in the UK, I can actually say that – shock horror – WWE NXT is actually quite a good show these days.
Gone seemingly are the weeks of quizzes, promos about moustaches, soda drinking contests, kissing contests and anything else that blotted the touchpaper for one of WWE's biggest failures in the last few years.
So, assuming 99% of people reading this haven't watched NXT in at least a year (if at all), what's different now? Well, everything, minus the theme song and the garish colour scheme. First of all comes the very recent switch to move William Regal into a GM-like “matchmaker” role. Regal has been so underused in the last few years since his role as Commissioner Regal on Raw. If the WWE are doing a Team Teddy vs Team Johnny match, I'd be willing to bet that most reading this would take Regal over the pair of them any day.
But the biggest difference now is that there are no gimmicks, no contests, no painfully dull merchandise selling segments. NXT is just an hour long wrestling show, just like ECW was back in it's final days in 2010. A small pool of upcoming WWE talent being booked in feuds and storylines.
It was an in ring promo involving Michael McGillicutty and Tyson Kidd from last weeks show that really made me write this column (Find it on Youtube). Two young guys, who've flirted with runs on Raw and Smackdown without ever being given a chance. But on NXT they found space to breathe, even if four minutes doesn't sound like much, both men cut promos about their family lineage, and it was great to see them being given that time.
The only real shame is that NXT as a branding and marketing exercise is dead. All of the contests and gimmicks I talked about earlier are the things that are stopping people from watching it, the lack of TV deal not helping either. The most common question I get asked whenever I bring up NXT on the Wrestlezone Twitter page is – “Is that show still on?” People don't know and they don't care. And why should they?
But more the shame, because although it might not be a ground-breaking 45 minutes of your week, it's actually a good solid hour of wrestling, good storytelling, and stars that I'm not completely burned out on. So if you're getting a bit lethargic on watching the stars of yesterday fill up Monday Night Raw, why not visit dot com this week and give the stars of tomorrow a watch – it's not all bad!