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NXT: The Best Thing Going for WWE

Sean Quinn, Reporter

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The WWE has been struggling as of late. Viewership is unsteady and facing competition from baseball playoffs and the beginnings of the NFL, fan attendance is decreasing and subscriptions to the WWE Network (which is a massive archive of matches and some good original programs) have been below expectations for the company. It has not had many boosts in popularity, especially when compared to the golden age of the 1980’s with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior, or the Attitude Era of the late 90’s with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.

There are a few factors as to why fans believe that the WWE is struggling. Since the purchase of their main competition in World Championship Wrestling WCW and ECW in 2001, the WWE has not had to push itself to raise the bar. When there is no need to raise the bar, the product can suffer. The writing has often been criticized for its low quality and inconsistency in storylines. The matches are often formulaic and feuds can either drag on or abruptly end without warning. The oversaturation of branding puts many off. Wrestlers are referred to as WWE Superstars, and the company has only branded itself as WWE, but hasn’t officially changed the name from World Wrestling Entertainment. Many hardcore fans believe that the company ignores the wishes of the fans and choose who they want to be champions.

But the one part of the WWE that wrestling fans agree is consistently entertaining and delivers on big moments is NXT. NXT is unique in that it is a farming system for newcomers hoping to make it big, and established wrestlers from around the globe. Many fans consider NXT to be the best thing the WWE has. The weekly shows are consistently solid, and the marquee event Takeover is almost always excellent from start to finish.

NXT originally started as a reality show competition with contests rather than wrestling. However, it transitioned into a wrestling show rather than a reality show. Currently the NXT champion is held by the Scotsman Drew McIntyre. The women’s champion was vacated by the dominant Asuka, who went undefeated and held the title for over 500 days until vacating due to injury. The tag team champions are the chaotic stable SaNiTy.

There has been many classic matches hailed as legendary by fans and critics alike by NXT. Sami Zayn vs Cesaro, Sasha Banks vs Bayley, The Revival vs #DIY vs Authors of Pain, and Asuka vs Ember Moon just to name a few. It also introduced the WWE universe to popular stars such as Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Aleister Black.

NXT is must see for wrestling fans, and has been the crown jewel for WWE these past few years. The stories and in-ring work have been top notch. Even non-wrestling fans could find somebody and something they’ll like.

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NXT: The Best Thing Going for WWE