Thursday, May 19, 2022
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WWE and NXT: Big Brother Needs to Listen

Mike Mooneyham has a point. If WWE is counting on NXT to be the next wave of professional wrestling, then the business the McMahons built is in good shape. The current product of WWE is stale, losing ground and needs some kind of cardiac care unit to revive ratings and breathe life into its meager shrinking heart. No matter how you spin the numbers, the idea to push new talent or to fall back on the notion that Roman Reigns still is the “the guy” to build around, the boys and girls in Orlando are kicking the crap out of their elders, and it shows.

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Mooneyham, a veteran of the ring wars for decades from his computer in Charleston, makes many points in his most recent wrestling column – all of them valid and as pinpoint as a Dolph Ziggler drop kick.

“The fact is that NXT has evolved into the hottest brand in pro wrestling. Its shows are often hailed as superior to those staged by WWE. Its talent is well trained and hungry to earn main-roster spots, willing to go the extra mile to please its receptive audience,” he explains.

The “eagerness” of these potential stars – some have had plenty of success in other promotions such as Samoa Joe and Austin Aries – is a lesson characters like Ryback, Cody Rhodes and Curtis Axel could all learn a lesson from. Sitting at the adult table over the holidays is an honor, not a birthright. The fact the next generation has to go out there and sell their souls to make it to the main roster is based on a love for the business and the desire for a bigger meal ticket.

It falls back to a much different NWA following of decades before where matches were held in barns, carnivals, school gymnasiums and slop houses – twice on Sunday.

I think in this twisted work of make believe, Vince McMahon has forgotten that concept and the former stars like Dusty Rhodes, Verne Gagne and Randy Savage aren’t here anymore to remind him of that. Even if they were, I am not so sure he would listen to what they have to say. He is Vince McMahon, after all.

At some point last year, I had a conversation with one of the my friends over the fact he thought Monday Night Raw should take a hiatus of sorts, to clean up the mess both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon had made and let the rookies steal the show. It was and still is a great theory in concept, but it does not make sense in the long run – to McMahon. What does makes sense is a redesign of sorts.

No one wants to continually see Sheamus and Randy Orton for the hundredth time. Get your head back in the ballgame, guys.

“Once confined to its headquarters in central Florida, NXT has become a touring brand over the past year, and WWE is all the better for it. It has given fans a glimpse of what WWE could look like — and should like — in the near future. That is, if WWE creative can learn from past mistakes and book these stars of the future like the proven commodities they have become.” Mooneyham’s point is further accentuated.

Much like a character getting a new gimmick and a new brand, WWE should seriously look at all of its options and redirect its product. Like Ryback, who is now pissed off at the wrestling world for his performance at WrestleMania 32 and how the company is using his character, there needs to be a realization the problem lies form within.

Roman Reigns isn’t the problem. Greed is the problem. Not listening to the fans’ desires is the problem. Not following the path of promotions and territories is the problem. The roster would be fine if it were booked properly and there were provisions made for injuries and short-time failures.

Everything stopped for the better once WCW was absorbed into the WWE machine. When Disney World wants to try something new, it expands its territory and builds something new. It does not use an existing rotation with older technology. It defeats the purpose.

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If WWE wants to get a “rise” out of its fans, then the company should let NXT lead for a bit. Superstars are returning to WWE’s main roster. Fans are excited to see Cesaro return and the thought of AJ Styles possibly winning company gold. But ratings are still killing the product. It is not such the case down in Orlando and on the tour bus of promotion.

It does not take Mooneyham or Bill Apter or any other wrestling writer or media type to make sense of all this – but when they do it is magnified. The McMahon’s hold the keys to the city, but cannot unlock the gates to success because of new sensibilities. It means they are unwilling to change with the times and the people who pay to watch the product. All the while, the same concepts of a breed of past generations is working on the farm in Orlando. And right now, it has the big brother in a sleeper hold, one it may not let go of any time soon.

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