COMMENTARY | On February 27, 2014, NXT reached the masses for the first time with a live two-hour special that aired on the WWE Network.
Although NXT had been airing on the Internet for a couple of years, this special, called NXT Arrival, was its first major event. NXT Arrival had three title matches and a wrestling classic. What it didn’t have was a lot of talking. For a WWE broadcast to focus almost exclusively on wrestling was shocking for most viewers. Now that another episode of NXT has aired on the WWE Network, the following conclusion is unequivocal. NXT is the best wrestling show in the world.
Besides the refreshing emphasis on wrestling, there are other things that also make NXT outstanding. First, each show takes place in the same, small arena in front of the same, dedicated crowd. Dedicated fan bases also helped wrestling shows such as ECW (at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia) and Mid-South (at the Irish-McNeil Boys’ Club in Shreveport) create infectious atmospheres of excitement that can’t be matched in different, large arenas each week.
Since it airs on the WWE Network, which costs $9.99 a month, there are no commercials on NXT. Occasionally, the WWE airs a quick ad between matches. But fans do not have to endure three-minute commercials in the middle of matches. This is one of the things that infuriates fans today. Commercials during matches also highlight the scripted aspect of pro wrestling in that somehow, matches never end during commercials on Raw and Smackdown.
Although many of the NXT wrestlers are young, most have already achieved fame on the independent circuit. Therefore, these wrestlers already have an extensive repertoire of moves, can sell their opponents’ strikes, and can work a crowd. Without question, many NXT wrestlers are more talented than some current WWE wrestlers are. The combination of talented wrestlers and the WWE’s production quality makes NXT a top-notch program.
Moving forward, the WWE may view NXT as a brand on par with Raw and Smackdown and not purely as a developmental promotion. In fact, Triple H has reportedly told the NXT roster that the WWE wants to promote NXT as the WWE’s pure wrestling product. In the future, we may even see wrestlers working more angles and matches on NXT. In the last two weeks alone, legends John Cena and Ric Flair have appeared on NXT.
When I signed up for the WWE Network, my main motivation was to get live, monthly pay-per-views for $10 instead of $50. However, if the last two episodes are any indication, NXT may end up being my favorite part of the WWE Network. Right now, it is clearly the best wrestling show in the world.
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