A sizeable portion of WWE ’s Tuesday night audience did not care for another argument between the Internet’s favourite wrestler, Daniel Bryan , and his WWE Pro, The Miz .
NXT only scored a 1.0 rating this week, capturing 1.298 million viewers, as reported by PWInsider . This will not be welcome news for the WWE, considering 1.0 is what ECW was recording a few months before.
In other words, WWE is in a similar situation as they were when ECW’s numbers were worrying both SyFy and WWE, to the point that they scrapped the entire show altogether.
A few weeks ago, following NXT’s successful debut, WWE sent out a press release, touting the show’s high rating (1.4, 1.7 million viewers).
That equates to a loss of approximately 400,000 viewers, just three episodes in.
Now that the rating has fallen to pre-NXT levels once more, is it time to declare this show, one that includes the World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho , a flop and a failure?
In order to answer that question, I believe several factors need to be taken into account first.
The Concept of WWE NXT
Last week, WWE explained the voting system in place for NXT’s rookies.
All eight pros would get to vote, but they could not vote for their own rookie.
However, WWE still has not explained the finer details of this voting concept. Will the Pros simply wait until the end of the season and pick whomever they want? When is their vote made public, if ever?
The issue that I am trying to get at is the matches on NXT seem to lack a purpose at this point, no matter how entertaining they may be.
Without a heated feud (barring Miz/Bryan) or something tangible up for grabs in the match, the task of convincing casual viewers to tune in every week to listen to Heath Slater saying he will blow their mind, will be difficult.
Monday Night War?
TNA Impact is now airing every Monday, directly opposite WWE’s Raw. That totals up to four hours of wrestling, at the start of this week.
While it is tough to determine exactly how many wrestling fans watch both TNA’s offering as well as WWE’s Raw and NXT, there surely is an overlap, no matter how small.
Four hours of wrestling is a lot to take in, and there is a logical argument to be made for the viewing public being saturated.
This Week's Show
David Otunga/R Truth vs. Daniel Bryan/The Miz
A good tag team match that was made interesting because of the dissension between Miz and Bryan. This feud is the best thing going on NXT right now, no doubt about it.
Otunga and Truth patched up their “differences” off screen very quickly, perhaps because WWE realized too many rookies were arguing with their Pro.
Apart from Otunga’s finisher (the spine buster seems tame), I had very little to complain about in this match.
A Sad Apple-Spitting Incident
Heath Slater ’s serious interview about being spit in the face with an apple was laughable.
The slow music, in addition to Slater’s emotionally charged indignation about being spit in the face simply did not add up to anything remotely entertaining.
The match between Carlito and Slater however, was worth watching. Slater knows how to work the WWE style, and has a good move set.
Justin “450” Gabriel vs. Wade Barrett
They hyped this match up with a nifty segment earlier in the show, in which Barrett’s accent apparently caused him to say “fans fravourite .”
That pronunciation notwithstanding, Barrett seems to have fine mic skills, not unlike William Regal when he was lecturing Americans about the evils of Thanksgiving more than a decade ago.
By the way, the crowd in this match for some reason chanted “USA” at one point. This made little to no sense, seeing as Matt Hardy, Gabriel’s Pro, was the only American wrestler in sight.
Having thought it over though, you realize what happens when you saddle every Canadian and Brit with an anti-American gimmick.
Getting back to the matter at hand...
Good, compact match. With the time they had, they did a fine job. Once again, Gabriel’s 450 Splash was the moment to remember.
Jericho then wrapped up the show by locking Gabriel in the Walls of Jericho during the customary post match beat down.
Looking at the above, this did not seem too bad by half. In fact, I would say it was a great hour of wrestling, and for those of you not watching NXT, I suggest you check it out at once.
Being one hour long, the show never felt like it was dragging. Too often we are left wishing we could fast-forwards through certain segments on Raw, or Impact.
This week at least, that was not the case on NXT.
To answer the question I posed earlier: Is WWE NXT a failure?
I believe one of the reasons the rating took the hit was because of the first two factors I mentioned (TNA vs WWE, clarity of concept) but over time, this show can gain a footing, if the second factor in particular is addressed.
WWE cannot kick TNA off Monday nights, but it could give viewers a real reason to not miss NXT.
And that is a wrap. Do feel free to comment; make your thoughts about NXT heard. Is it a win or not? And if so, why?
PS: Why is Audioslave's "Be Yourself" one of Wrestle Mania's theme songs? Good song, but didn't the band break up a while back?
Plus, the song was Ashley Massaro's entrance music a few years ago, if memory serves my right.
First, we have Kurt Angle reenacting Montreal, then WWE recycles theme songs. Is nothing sacred?