Now? I don’t even bother. If I want to watch, I might hit YouTube. Big emphasis on if.
NXT used to be in the same boat for me. And honestly, not because I didn’t want to watch every wrestling show on Earth, but simply I don’t have time, every week, to habitually watch and enjoy all the programming. But I was happy to jump on to wherever I needed to go, and watch the highlights. And there have been highlights, in abundance, for a while now. WWE, and a few specific executives in particular, have done well with the program.
I probably could have argued, and won, that even 2 years ago, NXT was at least as good as TNA, in spite of TNA having scores of WCW/WWE talent that either didn’t want to work for the company¬† anymore, or wanted an easier schedule, or some other reason.
But now? It’s no contest. If you were ranking top major wrestling promotions? NXT would be a firm number two. If NXT was not owned and operated by WWE, then they’d be able to challenge the WWE programming-not in production value, strictly going off of in ring talent.
This idea hit me when WWE brought Samoa Joe to NXT last year. It hit me again with word coming out recently that, quite possibly, AJ Styles is making his way to WWE (I presume if he does indeed sign, he’s heading to NXT first). There are others, of course, like James Storm.
And the one point that sticks with me is I was sure Vince, or someone else high up, had gone on record as saying WWE wasn’t inclined to bring over TNA talent, that they were perfectly pleased bringing in indy guys and developing them further in NXT. My guess is that, as well as that development is working, they recognized that talent is talent, and if there’s talent out there that can help the company, regardless of who they worked for previously, they are worth bringing in.
But, with all the TNA alums coming over-and with TNA still struggling-here’s the big question: should WWE leave them be, and just poach off the talent they want, as they’ve been doing? Or should WWE just bite the bullet and buy the company, euthanizing it in the process? In my mind, they aren’t too far off from it, but I say leave them be. If I were TNA, I’d actually blatantly rip a page out of WWE’s book and do what I could to go full streaming/on-demand like the WWE Network. I think they need to do something that radical to change their game, but even then I have doubts.
So, WNZ readers. Can TNA ever challenge NXT at this point? Or has that ship sailed?