WWE’s ‘developmental’ brand NXT proves future is now in SummerSlam 2017
WWE NXT has gone from the company’s developmental territory to the unofficial third brand of the company, something that was all too evident at the number of NXT alumnus to feature in SummerSlam this year.other sports Updated: Aug 21, 2017 22:45 IST
The end of NXT Takeover: Brooklyn on Sunday was symbolic for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in many ways. Drew McIntyre defeated Bobby Roode to become the new NXT champion.
McIntyre was then attacked by the trio of Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish to close the show.
The aforementioned wrestlers all come from different backgrounds and have different styles of fighting but the common factor between them is that they have all joined the WWE in the last one year.
On top of that, all were established superstars in the independent scene before coming to the company.
This has been the trend for WWE in the last couple of years. From the moment they decided to make NXT like a third brand, there has been an influx of veterans from other promotions.
From former New Japan Pro Wrestling’s IWGP champion Shinshuke Nakamura to Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling legend Samoa Joe, all the big names have proved their mettle in the ‘developmental’ division of the WWE.
This arrangement has been quite beneficial to both the brand and the wrestlers. With the influx of such talent, NXT became a must-watch show for wrestling fans. It also gave the wrestlers who were new to the company guaranteed screen time.
“My experience at NXT was quite stellar. Being part of such a revolutionary atmosphere helps you grow as a wrestler and it helped me adjust to the WWE style of wrestling,” Samoa Joe told HT.
The last five NXT champions - Drew McIntyre, Bobby Roode, Shinshuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor - were all well-known in their own right when they came to WWE. That itself shows how influential their role has been in taking the NXT brand to the next level.
The youngsters in the division have also benefited a lot from these veterans and the result was evident in the WWE Summerslam card; it featured NXT alumni in almost all of the matches.
‘Third brand, not developmental’
When asked about his experience in NXT, this is what former New Japan Pro Wrestling sensation Finn Balor told HT. “When I joined NXT, many people criticized them for not putting me a former NJPW champion in their so-called lower brand.
“But, it is actually a third brand for the company and personally, I believe NXT helped me to improve my game by a huge margin before my main roster debut.”
NXT founder Paul “Triple H” Levesque believes that it has been a two-way street as the company has benefited from the presence of the big indie-wrestling superstars. Similarly, the wrestlers have also taken valuable lessons from NXT that helped their careers in the long run.
“They’ve got a lot of experience and been a lot of places, but no one has taught them how to do television; no one has taught them camera angles or the subtleties and even from the storytelling standpoint of what we do bell to bell,” Levesque told USA Today in an interview.
“We shoot a television show with a backdrop that happens to be the WWE Universe, a WWE ring and the competitors work in that ring, but it’s still a television show.
“Nobody is doing the things that what we’re doing in terms of the difference in the product. No matter where you come from, you have to learn that and have that learning curve,” he added.
First Published: Aug 21, 2017 22:45 IST