The NXT program started as a crappy reality TV style show where the results were probably rigged. It was pretty bad. That didn’t stop me from watching it, because it showcased some of the up and coming talent that would form the future of the show. The first winner of NXT season one was Wade Barrett, who is still on the main roster, although I’ve got bad news for him, his new gimmick sucks.
The real story of season one was Daniel Bryan, aka Brian Danielson. Danielson was one of the biggest stars of the indie, Japan and Ring of Honor when WWE signed him. He was horribly misused at first but now he is the most over member of the WWE roster.
Over a year ago, NXT changed its format. Gone was the voting, the eliminations and the stupid ass challenges. Instead, NXT became a straightforward, hour-long wrestling show. Matches and promos were the same as regular shows and the show had its own home, Full Sail University. And, slowly and quietly, NXT developed into one of the best wrestling shows on TV today.
NXT now offers a chance for developmental talent to practice the skills they will need to be a star on WWE. NXT also has a singles, women and even tag team championships. These championships are a bit of a double edged sword. If one wins one then either one must quickly lose it in order to move up to the main roster, or one gets stuck in NXT as champion. Current NXT champion Bo Dallas may have held the title for close to a year; but he’s only had a sniff of the main shows.
Incidentally, Bo Dallas is actually Bo Rotundo, son of Mike Rotundo, aka Irwin R Shyster. Bo’s brother was once known as Husky Harris. But after a successful stint in NXT he has been incredible successfully repacked as Bray Wyatt, leader of the Wyatt family.
Repackaging stars is a big deal in NXT. It’s how Johnny Curtis became Fandango. It’s how Skip Sheffield became Rybak. There are some people with real potential in NXT at the moment. Alexander Rusev has already been in this year’s Royal Rumble and promos are running for him on RAW and Samckdown.
The tag team champions, the Ascension, have promise. New WWE Diva Emma has been showing up in the WWE crowd. Aiden English, whose gimmick is a Broadway actor and singer, is vastly entertaining. Tyler Breeze, a Milan model who constantly takes selfies with his smartphone and doesn’t like being hit in the face, shows a lot of promise. The problem with the NXT crowds, who are smart wrestling fans, is they tend to cheer the talented wrestlers rather than supporting the faces and booing the heels.
When the WWE network goes live NXT will be there. Four episodes of NXT every month is worth about half the price of a network subscription all by itself. In the meantime, find the show on the internet. If you have only one hour to spare for wrestling each week there are worse choices than NXT.