Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on NXT, SmackDown, The Street Profits and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2019

Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on NXT, SmackDown, The Street Profits and More

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    New television deals and the uncertainty surrounding what the future holds for both SmackDown and NXT have created a noticeable buzz among the WWE fanbase.

    This week's rumor mill features updates on the blue and developmental brands and what their product may look like when they make the jump to Fox and USA networks, respectively, this fall.

    Also on tap is a report on Keith Lee and a significant push he could receive and rumors about NXT tag team champions The Street Profits' future.

Changes to NXT?

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    Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported NXT is not expected to change much when the show makes the jump to USA Network.

    "Sources tell us despite speculation, the current plan is for NXT to remain as the same show it's been for years and that moving to USA Network was only done to get more eyes on the product," he wrote.

    The report is a welcome one for fans of the black and yellow brand, which has been the one consistent product in WWE over the years.

    Of course, things change and one can only imagine WWE Chairman Vince McMahon will look to become more hands-on with the show, especially if it fails to compete with All Elite Wrestling's presentation on TNT.

    Still, Triple H and his creative team have done a phenomenal job of presenting a show that utilizes the NXT roster to near-perfection and, more importantly, does not overexpose it like Raw and SmackDown have been accused of doing over the years.

    The booking is different, the presentation is fresh and changing it would do a great disservice to the one WWE property that feels different from everything else.

Is SmackDown Heading to 3 Hours?

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    Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported when SmackDown moves to Fox this fall, it may do so as a three-hour show, with the third hour airing either on FS1 or WWE Network.

    Far too often, Raw is a chore to sit through due to the unnecessary third hour. It overexposes the product and makes for too much wrestling for even the most ardent of fans to devote their time and attention to.

    For SmackDown to follow in the flagship's footsteps would be a massive mistake that only further exhausts fans in the WWE Universe.

    Yes, WWE likely wants to keep Fox happy while also maximizing the value of its own streaming network, but to unnecessarily develop the third hour of a show that doesn't need it is tantamount to shooting itself in the foot.

    The company doesn't need more TV. It needs less hours and more meaningful content.

A Push for Keith Lee

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    Mike Johnson of noted NXT star Keith Lee will play a significant role in the upcoming WWE/Netflix children's film The Main Event and don't be surprised if he receives a significant push to coincide with it.

    Lee is a talented big man who has impressed in matches with Damian Priest and Dominik Dijak. However, his win-loss record is not necessarily impressive and his role on the show is not what one might have expected when he signed with the brand a year ago.

    A push to promote the film could be just what the 34-year-old needs to build momentum for himself on a roster full of young stars looking to make names for themselves and supplant Superstars such as Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano at the top of the brand. 

    Whether he can make the most of such an opportunity bears watching.

Street Profits Plans

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    The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Meltzer (h/t Cageside Seats) reported there are no plans for The Street Profits to leave NXT despite appearing on Raw every week.

    They will remain on the main roster show in a non-wrestling role but will continue to be part of the black and yellow brand moving forward.

    This is a welcome revelation as Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins have been on a roll of late.

    Their in-ring work is evolving and improving with every match, their best performance as a team coming at TakeOver: Toronto, where they successfully retained their NXT Tag Team Championships against Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish of The Undisputed Era.

    The NXT fanbase is responding and so are The Street Profits, feeding off the audience in a way they may not have been able to as late as a year ago.

    Their future is bright, but their act could still use the seasoning only the NXT brand will bring them.