Tag Archives: NXT

After This Weekend…

I love wrestling. I mentioned in another post that pro wrestling is my real best friend (outside of my brother) and (outside of my brother) if I had to choose between never talking to any of my friends again or never watching another wrestling show again, I would say goodbye to my friends without hesitation. That hypothetical decision is based on some other things besides my love for wrestling, but I have another blog to discuss that and I want to focus on wrestling here.

Here’s the thing (as Shannon Sharpe would say), I did not watch everything that I could have. The Impact Wrestling/Lucha Underground show was on Twitch for free and I did not watch that. I think the Evolve shows were available and I did not watch any of those. I did not watch the Hall of Fame either. I “only” watched NXT Takeover, Supercard of Honor, Wrestlemania, Raw and Smackdown. Those shows alone reaffirmed how much I love wrestling. I just remember watching one of the shows (I think it was Takeover) and smiling for no reason. I was just thinking how happy I was watching this. Something else to keep in mind is from my perspective, the only show that was excellent was Takeover. I enjoyed the shows, but I thought all of them were “good”…which is fine.

My point is that I do not need wrestling to be great or excellent. To be honest, I just need it to be there. I could easily point to wrestling as to why I am alive right now (but again that is another blog). As I have noted, I like sports and I watch television shows. I also am fascinated by people and how I fit in. With all of that said, nothing does it for me like wrestling does.

I also realized (or reaffirmed) that I don’t know anyone who can enjoy wrestling intensely and watch with a critical eye with the intensity I do. At least no one I listen to or read regularly. I bring the best of both proverbial worlds. At least, I think so…but I am biased.



Pro Wrestling is My Best Friend (Example 2)

This example is a more broad example than the one I gave in my last post. From the moment I started watching wrestling 31 years ago (I’m 36 now), I have not once considered not watching or taking a break. There were times where our household did not have cable so it was more difficult to watch, but I always kept up with what was going on. Furthermore, any time I had the means to watch wrestling, I always did and I always will.

Even now, I am several episodes behind on ROH. I am months behind on Impact/GFW/TNA/insert name here, there is no way I am going to watch all of World Tag League (I basically skipped to the finals) and I am a couple of episodes behind on NXT. I actually…well I kind of feel guilty. It’s similar to how I feel when I don’t answer a text from a friend or a client. I feel like I am ignoring a friend. As loyal as I am to the friends I have in real life, I feel that same loyalty (actually more) to wrestling.

Pro Wrestling is My Best Friend (Example 1)

I moved to Lynchburg from New York this Spring for financial reasons. I moved in with my cousin. A week into the move, I realized that it was not going to work out. I ended up getting a $200 advance from a client and ordered two bus tickets (one from Lynchburg to Richmond and one from Richmond to New York). When I got to Richmond, there was a 30 minute wait for the bus to New York. I was not sure what to do with all of that time, especially since I could not go far. I decided to listen to music. I ended up listening to the same song for 30 minutes and the song was…

My Relationship with Spoilers

This is one of those post that is completely about me…which I hate doing, but I just wanted to put this somewhere besides my head so I could figure out my relationship with spoilers in wrestling. I don’t watch shows like Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, so I don’t have to worry about not watching the show as it airs and it getting spoiled. Obviously Raw and Smackdown are live and before my housing situation changed, I was able to watch the shows live as they happened. Now that I often do not know where I am going to be when the shows air, there are times where I have to watch them after they air. I do not watch the New Japan major shows live as they happen. Obviously GFW, ROH and NXT are taped…so what is my relationship with spoilers?

Raw/Smackdown: Now that I cannot always watch the shows live, my idea is to stay away from everything until I get a chance to watch the shows. In other words, they are live shows that I treat like they are live.

NXT: I read the spoilers from Jacob Cohen’s Twitter page (he does a great job by the way). Then just before I watch, I will skim through posts from the deathvalley.com message board about the NXT show from that week just to have an idea of what I am in for.

GFW: I used to go completely spoiler free for TNA, but last year I just decided to read spoilers. Now that I know I am going to be way behind, I will certainly read spoilers just so I have an idea of what is going on. Like I said, I am still watching Slammivesary so I am way behind on watching…but I still want to know what is going on.

ROH: I usually read the spoilers of their tapings once and do not read them again before I watch. I did that before and after my housing situation changed.

NJPW: I try to stay away from everything until I get a chance to watch the shows. NJPW is my number two promotion so I treat it like Raw and Smackdown. One of the biggest reasons for this is that a great deal of the fun of NJPW is the near-falls in big matches…so I do not want to know the end result because it would ruin those near-falls.

Positive or Negative

I would say that as a wrestling fan that I am a positive fan. I find reasons to enjoy the show. The biggest reason for that is there is no wrestler that I actively dislike. I do like some more than others and I like some much more than others. At the same time, I can become invested in any act that is used properly or that I find entertaining. In other words, there is no wrestler that is inherently a waste of my time just by his or her appearance.  That mentality is about 80 percent of the reason why I enjoy wrestling more often than not.

I mentioned in my last post that I think business before personal enjoyment when I discuss wrestling, but that doesn’t mean that in act that is designed to draw that doesn’t or isn’t designed to draw doesn’t entertain me. Steve Austin’s heel run in 2001 was a big business mistake, but I still enjoyed his matches and promos. I should have put this in the last post, but if fits here…I can enjoy Austin’s heel run at the moment and in retrospect and still acknowledge that (at least in hindsight) should not have been done. What I am saying is that I am inclined to like things that draw interest, but I also like things just because I like them.

I watch Raw, Smackdown, Impact, NXT, ROH television every week. I also watch every WWE and ROH PPV and I’ve always looked forward to the shows because wrestling is my favorite form of entertainment by far so I am not nearly as hard on the shows as most people are. That is not to say that I think every show is good. In fact, I wouldn’t call most Raws “good”, but I don’t think they are as bad as most people say. I also am a huge fan of ROH and NXT and enjoy the weekly shows just as much or more than either program’s biggest fans.

I could sum up this post by saying-I smile a lot when I am watching wrestling. I’m not going to put over that trite WWE saying, but if I am smiling and/or otherwise engaged in wrestling a good deal of the time-it means that I am a positive wrestling fan. Final note, I wonder what most fans who say this wrestler or this program or this company “sucks” would say in response to this question.

By the way, you can take this all with the proverbial grain of salt because I liked Elizabeth Rohm as Serena Southerlyn…I think that makes me an “easy fan”



NXT (is not) Overrated


I have another tentative plan for this blog. In this tentative plan, I take a discussion point that I have heard or read online and debate against that point. It does not have to be an overarching talking point. In fact most times, it is just going to be something I read or heard a few people say. Sometimes it will be what one person says, but it will be a person who I respect (but simply disagree with).

Today’s Topic: NXT is Overrated:

Problem#1: People can’t be wrong for liking (or disliking) something

This may be an argument of semantics, but I do believe in many cases (not all) that words matter. I have heard people (including Dave Meltzer and Bruce Mitchell) say that NXT is “overrated.” The terminology is wrong because if someone enjoys something in entertainment, then it’s good because entertainment is subjective. What people who say that NXT is overrated are saying is that people are wrong for enjoying the show. It’s okay if there isn’t a great match on every show or even most of the shows if people enjoy the shows.

If people like NXT for whatever reason, then that is a good thing. I will admit that I am a huge fan of NXT (which is why I am writing this article). I don’t think I am wrong for enjoying the show. It doesn’t seem like people realize this, but in entertainment what’s good and what’s bad is up to the person watching. Meltzer, Mitchell and anyone else who thinks that NXT is overrated are imposing their beliefs on others in terms of what makes a good wrestling show. I think the best way to put it is that we should not need permission to like NXT.

What someone who doesn’t understand the volume of praise that NXT gets could say is “I am glad that people like it, but it’s missing things that I value from a wrestling show” (it could be said better, but I made my point). A person can say that NXT is not as good as Lucha Underground from his or her perspective for whatever reason, but the idea that NXT is overrated is wrong because all people who like NXT are saying…is that they like NXT.

Problem#2: The praise is not overdone.

For the most part, all I read and hear people say about NXT is that they enjoy the show because they like the squash matches, the character development, the good matches (when they happen) and the atmosphere. I’ve never seen someone say that it is the greatest show of all-time or even close to it. I read people say that Raw should be more like NXT in terms of connecting characters to fans (and having squash matches to establish people for that matter). No one is comparing it in terms of quality to Watts’ Mid-South or Crockett’s Saturday Night show or World Class Championship Wrestling at its best. People are saying that “I like this show, why can’t Raw be more like this?” To me, that is a fair thought process to have. Certainly the idea that NXT is the best weekly wrestling show right now is not an outrageous statement.

Problem#3: It is a hot brand.

Despite what I said above about quality being subjective, I do believe that wrestling’s effectiveness is objective. In other words, people can like whatever they want, but the numbers and the crowd reaction speaks to the effectiveness of the promotion. NXT is successful in terms of getting people invested in the characters and the brand as a whole. While for the most part, NXT sellouts are in relatively small arenas, it was also very successful in bigger arenas in Brooklyn last summer and in the U.K a short while ago. The characters are over, the brand is over and there are objective metrics to prove it. There is no bigger evidence that the “NXT is overrated camp” is looking at things the wrong way than the success of the brand.

Problem#4: The criticism is wrong.

If someone wants to say that NXT is overrated, there are two arguments that can be made. The first is that what NXT does is designed for a niche audience and would not work on a grander scale. I agree with that argument. I’m not sure how well NXT would do on a cable network with the format that it has. It would not do as well as Raw or Smackdown, but I don’t see anyone saying that it would. If someone wants to say that NXT would be doing between 1 and 1.5 million viewers if it was on cable television, I would agree with that. At the same time, I don’t see anyone saying that NXT would be getting Raw numbers if it replaced Raw on USA-people are saying that they enjoy the show and the main brand could take things from NXT to incorporate into Raw and Smackdown.

The second legitimate criticism could be that NXT is overrated as a developmental territory. WWE has been ravaged by injuries and they have not gone to NXT to find wrestlers that can help them on the road to Wrestlemania. If NXT is legitimately a developmental territory, one can argue that they should have people ready to come up in times where the roster depth is shallow. There are several counterarguments to that. First and foremost, a wrestler only being called up to fill a gap may suffer in the long-term if the company was not ready to call the person up and only did so because of injuries. Secondly, the main NXT roster (the ones who do house shows outside of Florida) is for all intents and purposes a hybrid. Indeed, it’s developmental and many wrestlers that we see on NXT television now will end up on the main roster, but it has also become a show designed to draw interest in terms of attendance and network subscriptions. Should NXT be its own brand? That is an interesting question, but the fact is that NXT is its own brand. With all of that said, if someone wants to say that NXT is overrated because its purpose has been lost and it is a HHH vanity project, at least it is a better argument than NXT is overrated because people are wrong for liking it. For the last time (in this column)….

(pretend I used exclamation points and all caps)

People can like whatever they want when it comes to entertainment.