Should fans be concerned about the direction of WWE NXT?

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In an attempt to be positive, I’ll start this off by saying: Don’t panic, especially if you are a fan of the NXT brand, as I am. In fact, there are those out there that are fans of NXT more than they are of SmackDown and Raw, and these individuals have a valid point. Should these fans be concerned about the direction of NXT at this time?

We need to think about that for a minute.

One would guess that right now, as things stand in the news, the answer to the titular question can be summed up with a “yes”, especially seeing that WWE is cleaning house in a big way in NXT. That said, they’re getting rid of quite a few main roster talent as well as members of the head office. Quite literally, no one is safe.

But right now, we should probably take a deeper look at exactly what’s going on and why WWE is ridding the roster of talent at such a breakneck tempo. If we can, we’ll look at what’s being said right now in the industry, and once we’ve made our way through all of that (the facts), we should be able to see if we should be panicking or not.

So rest easy, dear readers and NXT fans; let’s look at this with a cool, calm, and collected mind and do what we do best here at Daily DDT: analyze the situation, cool as a cucumber. I know it’ll be hard. But let’s see if we can figure this out, keeping Big E’s and the rest of The New Day’s “Power of Positivity” in mind.

Questions, questions, questions

An answer to a question like the one we pose in this piece isn’t as cut and dry as all that. There are definitely a lot of factors. One major factor is that WWE as a whole has always been mysterious. If you look at the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression eras and even before, the chairman of WWE has kept a lot under wraps. The professional wrestling industry has always been mysterious — thrived on that mystery, in fact.

So how can you get to the bottom of something like this?

By digging, which is what we journalists are paid to do, for you, the fans (albeit, we’re fans too).

All we have are questions right now, and when it comes to WWE, they like that. They like that the fans are in the dark, so they can make their next move and survive in an industry they no longer have a monopoly in, which brings us to the next point.

The emergence of a worthy competitor and opponent

Let’s be honest. Turner/Time Warner executives didn’t like wrestling at the time, and when they didn’t view WCW as a profitable company, it didn’t matter how much Ted Turner loved wrestling. That’s why WCE ultimately lost the Monday Night War.

But in Tony Khan, Vince McMahon has certainly met his match. The man loves professional wrestling and it shows in the product AEW is delivering. He also seems to have the backing from Turner that WCW didn’t toward the end. To say that he’s been getting to Vince would be putting it mildly.

The short and bitter/sweet Wednesday Night War

They didn’t last as long as the aforementioned Monday Night War, but AEW essentially won. It was only a few months ago that NXT moved from Wednesday nights to Tuesday nights, and still, it seems like they’re struggling.

Recent Cuts

The list of cuts made to NXT just this past week was astronomical and shocking. Individuals released included: Mercedes Martinez, Bronson Reed, Leon Ruff, Tyler Rust, Ari Sterling, Kona Reeves, Jake Atlas, Zechariah Smith, Giant Zanjeer, Referee Stephon Smith, Asher Hale, and Denzel Dejournette (Desmond Troy); most of which were involved in recent storylines, angles and held titles, as was the case with Reed.

It has been already reported by many news sources that it was actually the chairman, Vince McMahon, at the helm of all of the releases and not Triple H and Shawn Michaels. According to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, McMahon wants the brand to be more like it was; essentially a place to train new stars, as opposed to what it became: its own thing where stars could stand out and have decent careers.

According to Meltzer, Vince also wants to go back to the old WWE tried and true belief in “bigger is better”. Meltzer stated on Wrestling Observer Radio: “…no more m*****s, no one starting in their 30s. They want people that can be box office attractions and main characters…”

They apparently want NXT to be more like it was in 2010, essentially. What does that mean for the product though? Less TV time? Less money thrown into it? And all of this is because of budget cuts? Or is there something else?

In the end, for right now, maybe a third brand is just too much to ask the wrestling fan to watch, and Vince would never get rid of Raw or SmackDown, as they are his babies and he’d never admit that those shows are doing badly, if and when they are. So, it looks like NXT is getting the blame right now, and the punishment, despite the fact that it has such a religious following.

In a confusing turn, Meltzer also stated that Vince told WWE creative to work on storylines for Adam Cole shortly after their highly publicized meeting regarding Cole’s contract expiry. My question to that is: isn’t Adam Cole smaller than, say, Bronson Reed?

Confusing to say the least, folks.

Answer to the terrifying question…

So, to answer the question, and sorry to do this to you, dear readers, but regarding the future of NXT, seeing everything that’s going on, I would most definitely start to worry right about now.

Next. Ricochet stands to benefit the most from the return of fans. dark

Let’s hope things turn around, and until the next one.