THE NXT REPORT
The pure, unanimous joy that NXT elicits in all who watch it is becoming a palpable force in the world of professional wrestling. The consistent quality of the weekly broadcast on the Network, and the Take Over specials that have been consistently superior to WWE’s main roster pay-per-views, the intensity of the NXT audience and the passionate, positive engagement between the fans and company figureheads like Triple H and Stephanie McMahon is quickly creating an environment where the out-of-touch booking philosophies that loom over the main roster cannot survive. With almost unfettered access to both products, the disparity in booking-visions becomes almost too clear should the main roster hope to have any chance of seeming like the superior show. Anyone can see that RAW just isn’t as enjoyable as NXT. And that massive gap in quality despite both products existing under the same banner leads even the most casual of viewers to wonder, “Why can’t RAW be more like NXT?” There is no justifiable reason why RAW shouldn't more directly reflect NXT.
I’ve heard several RAW-apologist state that it’s impossible for RAW to be as good when it’s three hours long and when it’s marketed towards a general audience.
I cannot comprehend why that’s a good argument in support of RAW in any capacity.
If anything, that perspective undermines RAW’s current form further, stating, “It’s bad by design.”
Quality is quality.
Success is success.
The core of NXT, NXT’s perspective on the business, is why it’s successful. Not length of time or its targeted-audience. NXT doesn’t work because it’s geared towards a “hardcore” fan and RAW isn't unsuccessful because it's geared towards casuals. NXT works because, very simply, it’s good television focused on telling good stories supported by good, fleshed-out characters.
“Hardcore” viewers don’t have a monopoly on comprehending excellence. It’s not as though the supposed “casual viewer” who tunes in to Monday Night Raw would be alienated by the nonstop fun and the nonstop brilliance of NXT Take Over: Unstoppable. The only difference between the casual fan and the hardcore fan is a willingness to pay ten bucks a month.
NXT’s success is undeniable, so undeniable that it serves as the best argument for change in the main-roster booking than any disgruntled employee or frustrated smark’s griping ever could, regardless of how eloquently composed that griping might be.
Change in the WWE, much like change in a human being, must come from within. Change must come from self-acceptance.
NXT represents the WWE accepting that it is a professional wrestling company. NXT is the WWE embracing the simple reality that well-crafted pro-wrestling supported by proven talents is what gets over with any audience; good, old-fashioned pro-wrestling informed by the priorities and the technological marketing tools of today.
When you have John Cena saying in NXT promotional vignettes that people who watch NXT are “satisfied”, as if openly acknowledging that people are dissatisfied with the main roster, it would seem the company is making an argument against itself.
The only reason a particular person of power wouldn’t relinquish a stranglehold on the main roster booking to those who are more in tune with what WWE fans want in 2015 is sheer bullheadedness; an unwillingness to accept any kind of problem with the way things currently are on the main roster. But, thanks to beyond-stellar shows like NXT Take Over: Unstoppable, denying that what makes NXT work is what’s best for the main roster is like staring at a blue sky and saying “The sky is not blue”.
So be encouraged, wrestling fan, for soon the enthusiasm for NXT, the financial success of NXT, the ardent following of NXT will remake the main roster in its own image. It will just take some time, and it will take us supporting what works and calling out what doesn’t.
Everyone, save a select, powerful few, openly recognize that NXT is the future of the WWE.
From start to finish, Unstoppable was as perfect as a pro-wrestling show could be.
As a fan, I watched with mouth agape, eyes wide, and fist-pumping from Finn Balor’s unforgettable entrance to Samoa Joe’s stare-down with Kevin Owens.
I cannot offer much more in terms of analysis for this particular show.
I can only describe to you the joy with which I watched it so as to stand as an argument in support of NXT becoming a main-roster norm.
A viewer truly feels as though they’re a part of something significant when they watch NXT.
The crowd becomes a creative entity that embellishes the action with chants like “Please don’t die!” during a Finn Balor high spot.
The wardrobe changes and the accentuated entrances transform that tiny theater into a mini-WrestleMania. Becky Lynch seemed to emerge from a world of steel, smoke, and light, a Steampunk Sorceress rushing to ring to save the NXT Women’s Championship from the clutches of the vile Sasha Banks.
The style of matches and the structure of the card offered something for everyone.
Finn Balor vs Tyler Breeze showcased lithe grace and strong characterization through impressive visuals.
Charlote & Bayley vs Emma & Dana Brooke offered fun and friendship, Bayley & Charlotte’s athleticism & whimsy on display.
Baron Corbin vs Rhyno was a straightforward powerhouse brawl, a nice break from the theatrics and a chance to watch two big, angry dudes beat the hell out of each other.
Enzo & Cass vs Blake & Murphy shined a spotlight on Enzo in particular, his moves much-improved, eliciting sympathy and inspiring appropriate frustration given the underhanded way Blake & Murphy retained.
Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks was the main-course - a heavy serving of pro-wrestling perfection that will be long-remembered and deservedly ranked among one of the best women’s matches of all time.
And Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn served as the dark second chapter in their ongoing rivalry while also cleverly acting as a segue into a battle between Owens and the debuting Samoa Joe.
This is what a pro-wrestling symphony looks like.
Movements that build upon movements, polyphonic flourishes that contribute to an ever-expanding emotional arch.
This is the future of professional wrestling.
And we're a part of it.
You and I are a part of something great.
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