It’s official. NXT is moving to the USA Network and becoming a weekly 2-hour live show on Wednesday nights (as was rumored). Like everything in life, there are people who love this and people who hate it. Before you go argue your opinion, take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of NXT’s move to the USA Network.
Pro #1 More Exposure
I thought we would kick it off with the most obvious one. The WWE Network, while awesome, has just south of 2,000,000 subscribers, and USA Network is broadcast in over 100,000,000 homes. While not all of those homes watch WWE, this will still without a doubt bring more eyes to these standout performers before they have the chance to fall into main roster purgatory. Which brings me to the first con.
Con #1 Being another WWE show
Most of you are probably confused at this point, but let me elaborate. WWE has it’s own style when it comes to professional wrestling (sports entertainment), and NXT was designed to get performers acclimated to this style. This was a major reason why NXT felt like it’s own entity, but with the move to a nationally syndicated channel, the performers might be expected to work more “WWE” style matches.
Pro #2 Shedding the Development Label
For longtime fans, NXT has felt like the standout brand of WWE and nothing like the typical development system. Talents like Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, and Adam Cole (Bay! Bay!) just to name a few have been bonafide superstars for years. Now they get to showcase their craft without being looked at as WWE “rookies.”
Con #2 Shedding the Development Label
While it’s great for the polished performers like the ones I just mentioned, this could mean a slimmer chance of the actual development talent getting a shot at t.v. time. It was one thing when this was broadcast on the WWE Network, but now they have those same sponsorship and viewer obligations as the main roster.
This could very well impact the chance management are willing to take on less proven talents. Fear not, because this could also solve one of the biggest problems with the NXT call ups.
Pro #3 Stars spending more time in NXT
One of the biggest criticisms of WWE has been taking promising/thriving stars from NXT, only to have nothing for them on the Main Roster. With NXT moving more into the third brand territory (and having a second hour with it), the black and gold brand will need all of the talents it can get. I expect to see more cases like Tyler Breeze with stars moving back to NXT for a little career renaissance (fingers crossed for Apollo Crews), and fewer people being brought up with a little buzz but no plan (like Apollo Crews).
Con #3 The Second Hour
Definitely the most subjective entry on this list, but this could expose a lot of flaws in WWE’s current proving ground. While the style I touched on earlier is a big reason for NXT’s critical acclaim, their ability to make every segment count and craft incredible stories is almost equally as important.
Adding another hour onto their regular broadcast will inevitably require filler, and while I do have faith in NXT’s capable writers, it’s just a feeling I can’t shake. Let’s not forget, it’s another hour of WWE programming! WWE content alone can take up to nine hours a week, and that’s without a pay-per-view!
This doesn’t have to be an entirely bad thing though, just look at my next pro!
Pro #4 More time for the women
I know what I said earlier, but hey I’m trying to have a few positives. Since it’s early days, NXT has been known for its strong women’s division. If you think about it NXT has had a more positive impact on the women’s division of the main roster than the men’s. Paige vs. Emma basically sparked the women’s revolution and NXT’s Four Horsewomen are firmly in the title picture on both brands.
The point is with the impact NXT has had on women’s wrestling specifically, NXT’s division is lucky to get one segment a week. Admittedly the division isn’t what it use to be, but how are talents like Kacy Catanzaro, Taynara Conti, Xia Li, and Vanessa Borne supposed to break out/improve when they are used to almost purely build up the bigger names of the division.
Con #4 Vince McMahon’s Inevitable Influence
This is not me bashing Vince McMahon! You can’t argue the product has been suffering in recent years, but this man is responsible in bringing more eyes to professional wrestling than any other individual in history (not speaking from a drawing standpoint). This is more prospective anxiety (for lack of a better term) at what this means for Triple H’s influence.
Without a doubt, the talents involved in NXT’s incredible history deserve credit for its success, but none of it would’ve happened without Triple H’s vision. I have no idea what this would mean for NXT, but here’s hoping Vince’s involvement is purely in helping with the change to live broadcast, then taking creative control.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.