Thursday, February 12, 2015

NXT: The Self-Contained Alternative

It seems like NXT is a hot topic everywhere as of late. One year ago at this time, many like myself were all ready to jump into this new aspect of WWE programming.  While I'd familiarized myself with some of the talents there that I didn't know much about, I was surprised with just how well the presentation made the overall product stand out.

The periodic specials have been well done and do an excellent job as the "pay-per-view" events for the weekly tv to build towards.  A bit confusing to me is when main roster WWE stars are suddenly fighting their way towards NXT titles.  Logically, it should be a step down for them.  After all, NXT is still based in developmental.  That being said, I do agree with Triple H's recent statement that NXT can be a place for main roster talent to try out new persona's and freshen up a bit.

The most recent NXT TakeOver special may have been the best hyped one yet.  The matches were built the way that wrestling conflicts should be built: rivalries over championships and climbing the ladder towards those titles.  No shampoo commercials or dead girlfriends here.  I guess lollipops and comic books aren't permitted into the NXT booking meetings.

My own opinion is that it wasn't a bad show, but didn't quite match up to some of the previous offerings over the past year.  I realize the importance of all titles being on the line, but the tag team championship match could have been sacrificed in order to spend the time elsewhere.

I really enjoy Bull Dempsey and was sorry to see him lose to "cookie cutter" Corbin.  The latter has mid-card failure written all over him and does nothing to stand out.  Dempsey, while still in need of more seasoning, brings an entirely different look and feel to the table. This is the kind of different style of WWE superstar that I'm hoping the success of Bray Wyatt has opened the door for.

The only female that I wasn't looking to take the fatal four-way match did just that.  Sasha Banks and Carmella leave me wondering if I'm watching NXT or a doc on '70s Times Square streetwalkers.  On the other hand, Charlotte, Bayley, and Becky Lynch are all top talents.  I can't be the only one who has noticed the difference in Charlotte's hair and makeup the past few weeks.  Perhaps a new look for the main roster? Hopefully that badly booked Raw appearance from a few months ago is forgotten. Bayley should do amazing once she makes it up as well, succeeding where the similar AJ Lee failed. The true crime is that a certain pair of talentless twins will continue to dominate the main roster regardless.  Now there's something for the Internet folk to cry to their cats over.

The main event may have actually exceeded the hype, which was well done itself. I wondered just where exactly they would go with this match, and a great story was told right up to the end with plenty to build on for the future.  Everyone cared.  The story told to build it up wasn't complicated and even someone such as myself who didn't have a large emotional investment in one of the players still had to see the match.

With what little I knew of Kevin (Steen) Owens before he was signed made me doubt that I'd ever be a fan. After his debut, I could tell why the collective Internet had a crush on the guy:  he reminded them of themselves.  Not the entire Internet mind you, after all you and I are here.  But you know the type.  The Barney McCheetoh neckbeards in black t-shirts. This man was athletic and living their dreams for them.  At TakeOver I know that I wasn't the only one who noticed an improvement in his look.  Will the collective Internet wrestling hive turn on their hero for this?  Time will tell.

What does need to be addressed regarding Owens is that shirt.  He can be great in the ring, but a pale guy in a t-shirt against someone along the lines of Lesnar?  Come on.  But it can so easily be saved.  Give him a look similar to Vader.  The Mastodon never looked like Mr. Olympia, but he looked IMPOSING.  Pack that gingerbread up into a singlet, build those arms up a bit more and give him a manager.  Rumor has it that Heyman may be without a client later this year.  A visually repackaged Owens with Heyman as a mouthpiece?  I'm ready to get behind that already.

Corey Graves/Sterling James Keenan
I'd be remiss if I failed to mention Corey Graves.  As he briefly mentioned on commentary last night, Graves, then known as Sterling James Keenan, came up on the Pittsburgh independent scene.  My crew and I always recognized that he had something special in the ring and the hunger to make it.  Although his in-ring career was cut short, it's great to see him excel in the NXT broadcast booth.  I've even began watching the Raw pre-shows again to catch his work there.  Another Pittsburgher bringing talent to the big time.

Triple H seems to have nothing but high hopes for NXT.  He has shockingly even used the term "alternative" to describe it.  The WWE mentality was always that nothing could possibly be better or more important than what was presented to you via Raw or Smackdown.  The times they are a changin'.  By how much?  We'll have to wait and see.

1 comment:

  1. Sasha can go and has proven that is multiple matches. Don't let her look fool you!