Last week I re-ranked the cast of Total Divas, which was appropriate since Season 3 was over and done with. Paige came out on top as my favorite Diva from the show… which isn’t surprising since she’s currently my favorite female wrestler on the main roster. Funny, I knew she was already going to hit it big when I first saw her on WWE’s “other” wrestling show, NXT.
Although most people may consider NXT to be the “C” show (Raw and Smackdown are the “A” and “B” programs, respectively), I beg to differ.NXT is better than Raw and Smackdown in all aspects. Much better. Much, much, much better.
Let me explain what are the problems with Raw and Smackdown first because it’s so much easier to take those shows apart. For one thing, both of these shows seem to waste a lot of time! Raw has been 3 hours long for a while now and Smackdown is 2 hours. I’m actually okay with the length… if they filled all that time with interesting stuff! Most of the time, however, these two programs like to fill up the minutes with total boring nonsense!
Also, both shows always concentrate on the “main” stars. They constantly shine the spotlight on established stars like John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. Or they like to focus on the guys the fans have glommed such as Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and, of course, “the chosen one” Roman Reigns. Well, what about the other guys? What about Fandango, Ryback, Zack Ryder, Damian Sandow/Mizdow, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler? Granted, all of the “superstars” I just mentioned have been given a push at one time or another. But, as soon as their popularity dips just a smidge, they send them to languish in the mid-card or are just fed to the big names!
Isn’t that just a waste? The main roster is filled with with great and interesting wreslters, yet the WWE can’t even find a place to let them do their own thing on a show that’s either 2 or 3 hours long! I also miss the days of crazy wrestling gimmicks. Everyone on the main roster are technically just “tough guys.” There are no nuances between their personalities! There are exceptions, sure, but they’re so few and far between!
Finally, the Divas division is really in a sad state. Before the matches featuring female wrestlers would average maybe 3-5 minutes long! That’s the same length of one of the squash matches I just mentioned! Lately, it seems like the WWE is trying to push the Divas division by giving them longer matches (thanks to AJ Lee’s #givedivasachance movement). But it took them years before they actually decided to devote some time to the Divas matches. It also certainly doesn’t help that the WWE tries their darndest to push Total Divas down out throat. The wrestling supposed to be the main product while Total Divas is the “side project,” not vice versa! AJ Lee was totally right!
Now, let’s look at NXT! You know all of the things I mentioned earlier? Well, NXT doesn’t have those issues as of right now! Most, if not every person on the NXT roster is given their own time to shine in the ring. While they do have mid-carders as well as the main guys, the division between the two groups isn’t clear cut. Also, the “weaker” wrestlers are shown to be, at the least, competent most of the time! They can still put up a decent fight!
Unlike Raw and Smackdown, I think the Women’s division (they have a Woman’s champion, not a Divas champ) is featured pretty prominently in NXT, which is directly opposite! If you look at the women matches, they’re actually pretty good and exciting. I actually think the Women’s division in NXT is one of the reasons why NXT is so popular! The Fatal Four-Way between Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte was nothing short of epic in my book! It was one of the best matches I’ve watched and it was a bunch of women doing the fighting!
But the best thing about NXT, in my opinion, are the personalities of the wrestlers. A lot of them are just genuinely fun to watch as they have weird gimmicks! You’ve got the incredibly perky Bayley and the “ratchet” Sasha Banks from the Women’s side of things. The men have extremely great characters as well! There’s “the king of Cuteville” Tyler Breeze, the “old school” wrestlers Aiden English and Simon Gotch. I can’t forget the “certified stud and a bonafide G” Enzo Amore and his partner, the 7-foot tall Big Cass!
Oh, there are the generic tough guys as well but they still have distinct looks and wrestling styles so they don’t become too similar. There’s Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, Hideo Itame and the current NXT Champ, Kevin Owens. They generally fall under the “generic tough guy” trope of wrestling but, like I said, they’re all very different from each other as they have different looks and wrestling styles. While I love all of them, there’s a special place in my heart for the utter ridiculous and charismatic duo of Enzo Amore and Big Cass. They may not be the ones going after the NXT Championship, but, geez, they are extremely entertaining to watch!
I guess it also helps that most of the fans watching the show in the Full Sail arena seem to be just having fun. The live crowd is totally infectious! When they’re hyped, I’m hyped as well! They’re also very accepting of a lot of the lightheartedness of an NXT show, which is the total opposite of a lot of the segments on Raw and Smackdown. It’s like the “main” shows forgot that wrestling is supposed to be fun!
A lot of fans say that wrestling is just a soap opera with fights. Well, a lot of soap operas have a lot of plots that don’t make a lick of sense and are just silly stories! Even during the Attitude Era, one of the more “serious” periods of wrestling, the WWE managed to squeeze in a lot of zany segments as well! A lot of D-Generation X’s skits were just utter ridiculous! And didn’t the Attitude Era give us the “hippest cat in land” that is Dude Love? God, I loved Dude Love! He was a joke character… but a truly awesome joke character!
I have a lot more fun watching NXT nowadays than Raw and Smackdown. NXT still remembers that wrestling is all about entertaining the fans. NXT manages to deliver that.
You know what? After listening to Dude Love’s theme song, I wonder why the WWE can’t make kickass music like that anymore? Next week, I’ll go list down the theme songs from the main roster I don’t like!
Do you like NXT more than Raw and Smackdown? Leave your thoughts on the topic in the comments below!