Just like movies and videos games, television shows come with a recommended rating of who should be allowed to watch the content. The WWE product currently sits under the TV-PG rating, but rumors began to swirl on Tuesday that there is a potential for NXT 2.0 to get an increase to TV-14. When looking at the history of WWE content and the current direction of NXT, that is not the best idea to help raise interest in the product.
The revamp of NXT already presents the show with a more “adult” feel. At least what WWE Creative thinks of as an adult feel. That means more stories involving love affairs, boyfriends, and more of sexual nature for the majority of the women on the roster. Plus, the occasional curse word is thrown in by the men or the mention of the word “balls.”
Toxic Attraction has rocketed to become the main event feature of the entire program and is a key example of the directional change in NXT. Mandy Rose is the focal point of the group, but whenever she’s shown on-screen camera angles focus on her body before showing her face and her introductory angle was based on the change of her hair color. Elecktra Lopez was an exciting addition to Legado del Fantasma, but now the group’s focus is around a love angle with Xyon Quinn. Cora Jade? Her introductory storyline was based mostly on the relationship with her boyfriend, Trey Baxter. You also have Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis.
When coupled with the additional story that WWE focuses on hiring women that are 25-years old or younger, it is clear that the shift in NXT content doesn’t have the best interests in mind for women’s wrestling under the WWE banner.
Everyone remembers the Attitude Era, right? Back when WWE was locked into the “Monday Night Wars” with WCW, the promotion made a shift to more adult-orientated content. A vocal contingent of fans remembers the Attitude Era through rose-colored glasses, and yes it did create the space for names like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, and plenty of others. The big angle between Vince McMahon and Austin potentially saved the promotion entirely.
But remember the disturbing angles that came along with it? Live sex celebrations. DX in blackface. Muhammad Hassan. Katie Vick. The list goes on.
WWE cannot create consistently intriguing content at TV-PG, why should fans believe that an increase to TV-14 will suddenly open the floodgates to great storytelling, wrestling matches with stakes, well-developed characters, and the other pieces that are lacking within the brand?
WWE may look at AEW and see their content with a more “adult” feel and intensity to the matches, and see that fans consider them entertaining. But that isn’t the same type of “entertainment” that WWE is in the business of creating. The direction of NXT’s current content is catering toward a certain segment of the wrestling fan base and will push away even more of those that stuck with NXT up until this point. Wrestling fans, but especially women’s wrestling fans, should be concerned about the direction that this change will mean for WWE content overall.
WWE making the shift to TV-14 level content is not the step to correct the multitude of issues within the product. In many ways, it will probably lead to even worse booking for a large contingent of the roster and storylines on television that matter even less than they do today.