It has been roughly a month since the inception of NXT 2.0 with some highs and many lows.
Undoubtedly, Vince McMahon’s influence has been evident; smaller, but more well-known independent phenoms such as Pete Dunne and Kyle O’Reilly have taken the back seat to second-generation unknowns in Bron Brekker and Von Wagner.
A show that was once focused mostly on character development within the ring, has shifted drastically to shorter matches and more vignettes concentrating on creating stars outside of the ring first. And the NXT universe has been introduced to many new faces and characters in both the men’s and women’s division in a short amount of time.
On the flip side, however, countless superstars that were once main fixtures on the WWE’s black and gold brand have been lost in the shuffle completely, and in some cases, released from the company altogether.
Superstars such as Bronson Reed or Killian Dain who were once fixtures on Tuesday nights and had recently signed new deals, were quickly released from the world of WWE, with Reed being more adamant and public in his shocking departure from the company.
Karrion Kross quickly went from one of the most legitimate and coolest heavyweight contenders in the entire company alongside one of the most intriguing valets in all of sports entertainment in Scarlett Bordeaux, to a lackluster gladiator without any sense of direction on the main roster.
Samoa Joe was forced to relinquish his NXT championship in a sudden statement via Twitter which can be categorized as nothing short of suspicious when considering the timing of the news and patchy past with new head of the rebranded 2.0, Vince McMahon.
From an outside perspective, McMahon’s taking over of NXT and the treatment of the superstars mentioned above marks that ultimately, he was not getting from NXT what he had wanted.
Whether that was a lack of new main event stars being created from NXT, or if the individuals being pushed as the faces of the brand did not fit the mold of a “WWE superstar”, or even if he just wanted to have more control on the brand than he did previously, can only be speculated upon.
But my question is: why couldn’t there be both?
There are aspects of NXT 2.0 that encompass the independent wrestling feel that the previous NXT only did in spurts.
With so many new characters, some are still learning how to put on a match, or how they present themselves in the ring, and it can be intriguing as a fan to watch a wrestler grow and mature into a final product in the ring, while NXT was once the place where the best independent wrestlers would finally shine for a national audience as mostly finished products.
With that same thought in mind, the day of NXT Takeover’s where it was hardly rare to see multiple Match of the Year candidates in one night will most likely never been seen again, with NXT 2.0 “bigger” shows being indistinguishable aside from an incredibly creative and new name like Halloween Havoc or In Your House.
If Vince wanted to created a brand that showcased wrestlers at the beginning of their journeys as sports entertainers, he could have done so without completing destroying the one show in WWE that was focused entirely on professional wrestling.
There is clearly an abundance of talent to be used, and the money that would be needed to create the show can be taken from the buyouts he paid for wrestlers to no longer be in his company.
The show could be live on their YouTube channel which has over 80 million subscribers worldwide, challenging and in my opinion, beating AEW by providing a similar show to AEW Dark except to a much larger audience and worldwide reach, while connecting the next generation of stars to the next generation of consumers.
Meanwhile, NXT can continue being what it once was, with Triple H and Shawn Michaels at the helm and focusing on creating dream matches with independent wrestlers from across the world, while NXT 2.0 or as I would call it, Evolve (purchased in 2020), can be focused more on character development outside of the ring and people from all different walks of life learning how to be a wrestler.
From a financial, entertainment, and company standpoint, it would make the most sense to make the most money back on the initial investment in these prospects.
Whether they are found on the independent wrestling scene, or in other professions and fields, and the proposal of having one promotion focused on wrestling, and the other focused on entertainment, would create the most well-rounded talent for the upcoming years.
Plus, competition is good. Natural rivalries would be created between NXT and Evolve with the goal for all individuals to “make the main roster”, while the clash between the wrestler vs. the entertainer would be a story that is easily understood and identifiable.
Certain stars like Ciampa or Dexter Lumis that you want on Evolve can be written off easily, while wrestlers such as Johnny Gargano or Samoa Joe that there are seemingly zero future plans for can continue to thrive and put on great matches for NXT. As a fan, you can enjoy NXT for the five star matches, while on Evolve you can enjoy watching a wrestler from the beginning of their journey.
Let me know what you think in the comments below: Did WWE have to kill NXT to create NXT 2.0? Is Evolve as a Youtube show a good idea? Are you enjoying NXT 2.0 so far?
Matt Williams is an opinion writer for WrestleRepublic located in New England. Follow him on twitter at @Matty_DubbsJr
Photo courtesy: WWE.com