WWE NXT Is a Wrestling Show Worth Watching Online or on TV
There's a show that airs weekly on WWE.com in the United States that Vince McMahon once referred to as a show that would revolutionize television. It's called NXT.
I'm not sure what percentage of WWE fans watch NXT on a regular basis, but I'd guess it was somewhere between 20-30% and that may be generous on my part.
I'm a NXT viewer because it's the place where the stars of tomorrow get to perform on the big stage today.
The NXT show started out with a simple concept of wrestlers having mentors (who can forget the Internet rage as Daniel Bryan had The Miz as his mentor?) that help them win the show so they could earn a contract to appear on Raw or Smackdown on a regular basis.
What ended up happening was that all the guys from NXT's first season ended up in a stable called the Nexus that was pushed as a main-event level type group. The push didn't last that long, and the NXT concept died a slow death late last year, too.
These days NXT isn't about younger wrestlers having mentors. It's about younger wrestlers, whether they are rookies or lower-card guys that have yet to break through, getting the chance to perform in front of a TV audience prior to the weekly Smackdown taping.
In other words, it gives these young men and women the chance to perform in front of a live audience that's bigger than what they're used to at FCW or an indy show. It's the kind of valuable experience that can help a talent go from being a nervous wreck to becoming a seasoned pro.
The current season of NXT, which some would number Season 5, has seen announcer William Regal replace Matt Striker as the man in charge of the show.
Regal's done a phenomenal job as an announcer, so I hope he continues on in that role because no announcer on any other wrestling show does a better job of putting over the talent the right way.
Do you watch NXT?
There are a few standout talents on NXT that I really like. They're wrestlers that I feel will shine on Raw or Smackdown when they get their chance. Some quick thoughts on the newer talents that have caught my eye:
I've been most impressed with his ability to cut all types of promo whether they are the serious kind, the angry variety or when a comedic touch has been needed. He's shown a lot of range.
In ring, he's got a good mix of power and speed. I think he's the most developed talent of the NXT guys on the show.
Within the last week, his name appeared on the Smackdown page at WWE.com. I hope that means something permanent is happening for him rather soon, but who's to say if that's true? There's no question in my eyes that he deserves the opportunity.
The performances of "Dirty Curty" have been interesting. His gimmick is that of a shady underhanded individual, almost like a creepy car-salesman type. He does a lot of weird things to get people's attention.
There really isn't a gimmick like his on Raw or Smackdown, so it would allow him to stand out if they did make a permanent fixture on either of those shows. It's certainly better than what they did with him on Smackdown with all of those lame pun vignettes.
She's my favorite of all the performers on NXT right now. Performing mostly as a heel, Maxine has been a part of a love triangle with Bateman and Curtis that has had many twists and turns.
Through it all, they've established that her character is an overbearing, controlling and obnoxious woman that will always try to get what she wants. In the ring, she has improved a lot since her first NXT run in Season 3.
Don't be shocked if she's a regular on Raw or Smackdown post WrestleMania. On top of all that, she's very easy on the eyes as well. The best curves of any diva in WWE. She's as ready as anyone.
There are other regulars on the show like Percy Watson, Darren Young and Titus O'Neil that have all improved from when they were on the show originally. I think Young & O'Neil could be a successful tag team if they're ever on Raw or Smackdown.
Now for some thoughts on some of the WWE veterans that have impressed me on NXT in recent months.
The best in ring performer on NXT, no question about it. I wonder if people know that Kidd has over 15 years of in-ring experience already and he's still young in wrestling years since he'll be 32 in the summer.
He's a former tag champion as part of the Hart Dynasty that hasn't been given a fair shot as a singles wrestler. If you've been paying attention then you notice the change in him.
Kidd's grown his hair out, turned babyface and has had the opportunity to show off his athleticism to go along with his technical prowess.
I truly believe that Kidd is somebody that can win over fans because of what he can do in the ring. His promos aren't his strength, but they are definitely good enough.
Very good talker. In his earlier days, he didn't always appear to have confidence. Now he's grown up much like his former tag team partner Zack Ryder. That's how the business works. Few people can just walk in and be a complete package right away. It takes time.
That's why you put a guy like Hawkins on NXT so he can develop his talents even more. His promos against Matt Striker were fun. He's the kind of heel you would want to see get his ass kicked because he talks so much. He plays his character well.
As for his ring work, he's above average. I really noticed him during his match against Kidd a few weeks back.
What I've learned about T-Reks (cheesy name by the way) is that he's pretty good on the microphone. He's more of the power guy in his team with Hawkins while also being the one who talks less. However, he's proven he can handle himself in the promo department.
I like Hawkins better in terms of their future in singles, but as a team they've developed good chemistry.
The other veterans that appear such a Michael McGillicutty (get him a name change!), Alex Riley and Kaitlyn are all decent talents, although none of them have really done anything to catch my attention.
I'm not saying that NXT is a better show than Raw or Smackdown. Don’t compare it to those shows. The purpose of NXT is to develop talent. Look at it as a show that will allow you to see how talented some of the stars of the future are.
Go on YouTube, search for clips of matches like Kidd vs. Hawkins or Bateman vs. Curtis, watch some of their matches and you'll see how good they are.
The original concept of NXT failed. I'm glad that WWE has admitted it by doing a reset on the show. Now they're using the time as a tool to get talent ready before they are regulars on Raw or Smackdown.
It's a smart way to utilize an hour-long show in front of a big audience. The best way for talent to improve? Practice.
After all, practice makes perfect.
John Canton is a regular contributor at the Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website thejohnreport.net and follow him on Twitter @johnreport where he tweets a lot about wrestling as well as other interesting topics.
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