This is Part III of a “Doc’s Diagnosis” special on WWE’s NXT brand.
I have praised Vince McMahon for his decision to change the approach with NXT and blamed McMahon for putting NXT in its current situation. Now it’s up to McMahon and his cronies to fix the “issues” created with NXT. How do they do it?
Here’s my five-step plan to changing the NXT product for the better:
Keep Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Road Dogg in Charge and Make them the Creative Heads of SmackDown!
That’s right DeGeneration-X just got themselves a promotion! Go back to Part I and there’s indisputable evidence that Triple H and Klique know what they’re doing when it comes to developing talent. Give them the ability to run it right up the ladder to another WWE brand. Raw is the “flagship” but SmackDown is the product that connects better with NXT talent from a wrestling perspective. This will also allow for characters to continue to develop on the main roster. In theory, there will be no fall off because the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.
Get the Hell Off of USA Network
Move NXT to a Peacock exclusive product in the States and a WWE Network (I miss you) product elsewhere. If the product is going back to being a developmental brand, it should more on that in a second, it has no place on cable TV in a primetime slot. Allow it to go to back to the streaming services and become a destination for fans.
Stop Hoarding Independent and International Talent
Competition will create success.
The WWE doesn’t need to acknowledge the competition but just the knowledge they’re out there will force them to become more creative within their own confines. WWE needs to stop hoarding talent for the sake of it. Let “wrestler X” go to AEW, ROH, or NJPW and make a name for themselves. When the time is right you pay “wrestler X” and he/she can make an immediate impact in the WWE Universe. Don’t sign Kazuchika Okada for the sake of signing Kazuchika Okada just to bury him in NXT so that he doesn’t end up on TNT.
What they did with Nakamura and Kevin Owens was perfect. A quick shot in NXT, create a few new stars by wrestling these types of guys, and then move them forward. “Dream matches” will also give fans a reason to buy the ‘cock or Network and tune in.
The Only Time an NXT Superstar Appears on the “Main Roster” is After a Call-up
There are no more “one-off” appearances by NXT superstars on the main roster. None. If an NXT superstar is on WWE TV it’s because they’ve been called up to the main roster, SmackDown in my world. The only exception would be after a long-term injury in the same way MLB players rehab in AA or AAA when they’re getting ready to come off the injured list.
No More Large Arena Events…ever
Never ever. Not even for the big four PPV weekends. Never. NXT, because it’s a developmental territory, should be held in buildings that hold less than 5,000 fans. The smaller the better. Basically, anywhere that the WWF ran when business was down from 1993-1997. If it’s a bigger show such as a TakeOver there’s plenty of historic wrestling venues like the Manhattan Center, Hammerstein Ballroom (same place but different!), the ECW Arena, Burt Flickenger Center, or anywhere that ECW ran that would work. No more large arenas!
To wrap it up, what’s old is new again. Just look at what worked in 2014 and run with it. NXT created stars once before and following a certain model it will create stars again.