Samoa Joe is the new WWE NXT champion, having beaten Finn Balor. While fans are rejoicing at the news, the cynic in me goes back to a question I can’t seem to get an answer to. What are the objectives of WWE NXT?
NXT has been the “brain child” of Triple H. Trips has received a lot of accolades for the product over the last twelve-months. The brand has established itself strong enough to tour without the support of the main roster. The brand challenges and even upstages the main roster in terms of excitement and live events. It’s an unequivocal success for the company and for Triple H…or is it?
I keep coming back to the question over and over again as to what the objectives are of WWE NXT. Anytime I come up with a “brilliant” idea at my day job the first question I am asked and have to answer before we continue the conversation is “What is/are the objectives?” So, what are NXT’s objectives? Are they looking to be a touring brand, challenging established independent promotions for turf and talent? Is the objective of NXT to produce great television and live events? Is the objective of NXT to get talent ready for the main roster, offering a successful and seamless transition from one to the other? If so, the company is not nearly the success that those in charge are getting credit for.
NXT was presented as a developmental territory, tied to the multi-million dollar investment that the WWE put into its developmental center. The idea as presented originally by NXT was to get talent ready for the main roster. Remember those objectives about not bringing talent to the main roster until they are ready and the company is ready to do something with them?
I am a big fan of Samoa Joe and I’m extremely happy at his rebirth in NXT. There is no doubt that Joe is one of the top talents throughout the entire WWE. But what is putting a guy like Joe in the top position of a developmental company going to do for anyone? No doubt we’ll get some great matches but if the idea is getting talent ready for the next level, this move makes no sense.
Take a look at some NXT graduates that hit the main roster last year. Tyler Breeze, Adam Rose, the Ascension are just a few of the NXT graduates that hit the main roster and flopped miserably. I’d say that Neville and Kevin Owens are closest to being the most successful (taking away the Shield) although that jury is still out on both. Charlotte is probably the best example of the idea working as it was intended. It’s way too early to make a prediction on Baron Corbin but I can tell you this. If the idea was to bring up Baron Corbin and Tyler Breeze before him, it probably would have made a lot more sense to put the NXT title on those guys and have those guys headlining shows for months.
But wait? How could NXT rival Ring of Honor and other high-profile independent companies with Baron Corbin vs. Tyler Breeze in the championship main-event over Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens or Samoa Joe? Could those kinds of main-events pack in standing room only house shows? Of course not, but at the end of the day what do you have here? You have a company that is completely missing its objective, but hey…we’re getting great shows!
I think this was probably the biggest problem with putting NXT on the WWE Network. NXT became too big, too fast, and lost sight of what it was intended to do. Unfortunately it would be incredibly difficult for them to go back now, but at some point the objectives need to be reevaluated. Otherwise we’ll keep getting great shows and great main-events from talent that will continue taking time away from the inexperienced talent that need the seasoning.