Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Changing Landscape Of NXT

It is only March and it has already been a remarkable year for NXT. The developmental division has truly come into its own as a brand and is packing houses and selling out shows at an unprecedented rate. Testing the waters out of state the brand is coming fresh off a series of successful show dates in Ohio, and much to the chagrin of faithful Florida fans touring can’t be very far behind. With popularity reaching new heights one has to wonder what the rest of 2015 will bring.

Things have changed within the ranks and in the ring as well; 2015 has been a virtual reset. In January Blake and Murphy burst onto the scene winning tag team gold, while Februarys Takeover crowned not one, but two new champions as Sasha Banks took home the Womens belt and Kevin Owens became new NXT champion in a most controversial manner. The landscape has changed and the hierarchy has been seriously rearranged.

I’ve never been shy about singing the praises of NXTs tag team division, it is simply everything that one wishes the main roster could be. Now it seems that the exciting tag matches we are privy to at house shows every week have the potential to make it to our television sets as well. After a year dominated by two tag teams, Blake and Murphy are a breath of fresh air and may just be bringing all sorts of change with them. The Vaudevillians, as well as Cass and Enzo are both incredibly over with the crowd and have made their quest for the tag titles known, but there are other teams to look out for as well. Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton have become a very formidable team in a relatively short time. Both are sizable men with amateur backgrounds, and while one wonders about the fate of the Shoot Nation stable we at least got one good tag team out of the deal. Meanwhile, it finally seems we are on the verge of seeing The Mechanics Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder on our television sets. While other teams may have been getting more time, house show regulars Dawson and Wilder have been putting on some of the best tag matches in the company. The two have great in ring chemistry with current champs Blake and Murphy, and a program between the two teams would be incredible.

The much heralded womens division has been shaken up recently with the crowning of a new champion in Sasha Banks. Though it seems the shake-up may not be quite done. Banks and former champ Charlotte have produced so many classic matches together and truly helped define the division that we watch with such pride. However it seems both women already have one foot out of the door, as they seemingly spend more time touring with the WWE roster than the NXT roster. So what will become of the division when its two top athletes are gone? Anyone who watched Takeover: Rival already knows the answer, it will be fine. In that fatal four way match both Bayley and Becky Lynch proved they are more than capable of carrying the division further. The adoring fan base of the ultimate underdog Bayley would agree that she is ready to take it to the next level. Meanwhile Becky Lynch who may just be the best pure wrestler of the division, truly came into her own at the recent Takeover. These two ladies have clashed several times now, but I really don’t think we have seen all they have to offer yet. As torchbearers of the division these ladies will put on several classics of their own. A newly reinvigorated Alexa Bliss and the rapidly improving Carmella are both stepping out of the shadows, while the debut of the Dana Brooke is not far off.

It really doesn’t seem like that long ago that the idea of Kevin Owens in a WWE ring seemed unlikely, not only is he here but he is the NXT champion. A mere two months after his debut he mercilessly beat down Sami Zayn to take home the strap. In the weeks following those that didn’t already know are finding why Owens is possibly the best heel in the business. The abrupt title change is reverberating throughout NXT and one has to wonder what comes next. Luckily for the fans there is more to come in the Zayn/Owens saga as Sami Zayn is still due a rematch. Meanwhile Finn Balor, who is quickly becoming the most popular wrestler in NXT is destined for the gold sooner than later.

But one has to wonder what is ahead for the current state of NXTs increasingly crowded main event scene. The main roster debut of Adrian Neville is surely imminent and Sami Zayn likely isn’t very far behind. Considering the meteoric rise of both Owens and Balor it is hard to imagine them staying in NXT as long as Zayn or Neville have. So what will the landscape look like after these men have moved on? Who exactly will be the next members of the “NXT 5”? It seems Hideo Itami will probably be with NXT longer than the rest, but he is undoubtedly a tremendous talent with much to prove and it most obviously a main eventer. The push of Tyler Breeze seems to ebb and flow but he will surely be one of the top guys moving forward. Baron Corbin is wrestling longer, higher profile matches and seems destined to take a top spot soon. Solomon Crowe has barely even debuted, but he obviously has the fervor and explosiveness to take him to the top of the heap very quickly. No one can draw genuine heat like the underrated CJ Parker, is his time finally here? Add to the list all of the extremely hungry talent already tearing it up at house shows, not to mention several new names that could potentially make things even more interesting. As fans all we can do is speculate an extremely unpredictable playing field, but I look forward to watching it unfold.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving the blog, thanks for the reports! Good work here, keep going!