Ah NXT, you could never do any harm could you?
Before we all sit down and indulge in what will be hopefully be an above average pay per view in Fastlane, let us take a moment to analyse the current WWE product and the superstars which have given us so much joy on NXT but now are on the main roster floundering with nobody giving a damn. Our high hopes have all been dashed for favorites such as Neville, Tyler Breeze, The Ascension. The likes of Bo Dallas and Adam Rose who have faded in obscurity and the bright lights which shine for Kalisto who WWE might see as the next Rey Mysterio and divas such as Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch who are turning around the so called Divas Revolution by themselves. It is truly sad to think that so many of these wrestlers were given time to develop on NXT and all for nothing as they are thrown to the sharks on the main roster. It is difficult to have high hopes like Finn Balor or a Samoa Joe(If he is even going to be brought to the main roster) when so many others have fallen flat. Today, my objective is to try and decipher why so many of our favorites have been placed in what I like to call: Midcard Hell.
Questionable booking has been a problem for this company for many years now, 50-50 booking is rampant on the current product. A loss at a pay per views indicates a win back on raw the next night. Why? Because that makes total sense right? Of course it doesn't but that's how this company operates now. It is no wonder so many fail to achieve any sense of notoriety or popularity when they are booked to win one week and lose right back to their opponent next week. However, 50-50 booking goes in hand in hand with bad/lack of storylines. How many weeks in a row did Neville face Wade Barrett? If memory serves me correct they wrestled on two pay per views, one as a filler match before the main event and the other on the preshow. If you want to create new stars or build someone as a credible challenger, they need to rack up a certain amount of wins or at least have a story in which I can give a damn about you.
Using Neville as an example once more, The Miz showed interest in having Neville star in movies with Neville obviously refusing Miz's offer which should lead to a blow off match between the two but the story was dropped and we never had a conclusion. So what is Neville up to? Just random tag matches with The Lucha Dragons. What of the Ascension, the dominant tag team of NXT who when they recently returned to the show were over like rover? Surely they would be of some use to the tag team division on the main roster? Nah of course not let's dress them up like The Legion of Doom, have them acknowledge they look like them and then say they are better than The Legion of Doom.... Why? How does it get them heat? Why does JBL the heel commentator, the bad guy tear into these guys? Because they are a joke apparently so we shouldn't care about them why? Because they get beat every time they step into the ring
When an NXT prospect is brought up to the main roster, we must realize that the casual audience is not going to recognize the superstar. Many WWE fans will not have the network or will watch NXT or will be religious followers of the indys. This is ok as long as the fans learn about the character/gimmick through promos or hype packages. For example, when WWE had the Divas Revolution where Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch were all introduced to the main roster, there were no highlight packages or details about these women apart from comments from the announce team which were not exactly informative. As Fastlane approaches, do we really know much about these Divas? We know Charlotte is Ric Flair's daughter but have we been told she won the NXT Women's championship by defeating Natalya in the final of a tournament? We know Becky is quirky and weird with a strange accent(Nothing beats us Irish and our accents!) and Sasha calls herself The Boss but do they ever bring up the fact that these two used to be teammates in NXT? Perhaps it may not be a big deal for some people but I feel it is very hard to like someone I know nothing about and unless I was constantly watching NXT how was I suppose to know anything about any of these people.
Continuity is another big issue with movement from NXT to the main roster, you can argue that its a whole other world when arriving on the main roster but let us not forget what made so many of these NXT wrestlers so great in the first place. Paige was the anti diva of NXT, she kicked ass and took names, rightfully becoming the women's champion by defeating Emma in a great match. She was cool, looked like a badass and didn't care about anyone. On her first night on the main roster, she is congratulating AJ Lee and being respectful and nice.... what? This isn't the Paige we knew and love, this is nothing like her NXT character, her edgy character and her different look to the current stereotypical diva made her stand out but WWE stripped away her character, leaving her as this cookie cutter babyface who had an underwhelming run as the champion until she turned heel and found a niche before becoming a complete imbecile in her battle with The Bellas. Paige now finds herself as far away from the divas main event scene as she has ever been, losing to Summer Rae.
I hope she builds herself back up but I wouldn't hold my breath. If you take away what originally helped someone get over, chances are they will fail on the big stage. Bo Dallas could be another example, an NXT champion who had a character similar to Kurt Angle who thought he was the ultimate hero and was oblivious to the fact that everyone hated him. Bo went from face to heel on NXT growing the character and growing very popular in the process but on the main roster we only saw the goofy heel who thought everyone loved him. We were never informed of his past, what he accomplished, what he was like, we just got Bo and his Bolieve shtick without any explanation.
In WWE's breaking ground show which is on the network, we see the final episode feature Tyler Breeze get called up to the main roster. It was his time, he worked for it and finally, he would have his opportunity. For those not familiar with Breeze's story let me offer a quick summation:Breeze was in FCW, the developmental promotion before NXT and was close to being released before he reinvented himself with the Tyler Breeze gimmick, becoming one of the most popular wrestlers in NXT. Consistently great matches mixed with good booking led to Tyler gaining plaudits from every fan that filled the arena. On the main roster, he defeated Dolph Ziggler and has been beaten like a drum since he won that match. There is no direction for Tyler Breeze, he is simply another body in a long line of bodies, another cog in the machine and it is so saddening to see someone fight so hard to survive and just be tossed aside like this. Adam Rose had a feud with Jack Swagger in the beginning of his run on the main roster but nobody cared so he turned heel and feuded with a bunny.
Neville hasn't done anything for months now, you spent time building these guys so why not use them? It begs the question: why bring someone up to the roster if you don't have a plan for them? Was there any point for Breeze making the move? He might make more money and it was cool to see him at the house shows when they came to Dublin but the guy is dead before he even got a chance to show what he is worth. If I were Breeze I would start looking at Japan as a way out, a place to reinvent himself once more and stick to those who have buried him from the start. NXT'S motto may be the future is now but if there is no change in the using of NXT stars, the future will be looking very bleak for Balor or a Sami Zayn or a Hideo Itami. The worst part is it isn't impossible to use a NXT wrestler correctly, Kevin Owens is doing quite well for himself on that main roster and Sasha Banks is a star, there is no doubt about it and Bayley has all the potential to be the female equivalent to John Cena. I don't want to be a pessimist but we may have to suffer through a lot of our favorites being wasted unless some serious changes take place....