As a cord cutter, It’s been hard to get my fix of WWE officially. I was a big fan of the Youtube channel that posted Smackdown, Superstars, and the like days after broadcast (but no RAW!). The rise of WWE programming, all of it, as a perk to subscribing to Hulu Plus, it was one of a few reasons I re-signed up for the service in the last week or so.
One of the added bonuses is being perhaps the only way to get NXT that’s not living in Florida with cable. And boy has that been interesting. I started from the beginning of the calendar year, and here’s what I’ve discovered in 3 episodes:
1. All those guys from the indies. Seeing Seth Rollins (formerly ROH’s Tyler Black) vs Corey Graves for the NXT belt (WMS Friend of the Show Sterling James Keenan), Kassius Ohno (formerly Chris Hero) mixing it up with Team Neon Adventure Go! (our name for Kidd & Gabriel) it’s just a pleasure to see. And this isn’t like the original NXT where it felt like they were all cookie cutter muscle guys with different skin tons and heads copy and pasted. There really feels like a variety of developed characters, including the Shield guys being acknowledged for what’s happening on the main shows.
2. I have a new lady wrestler crush on Paige. Because of her wrestling. And a little of her paleness. Ok. Maybe one over the other. But the lady wrestling feels more fleshed out and has a space from the couple matches I saw.
3. It still feels bigger than IMPACT. It’s a smaller studio, and it shows on TV, but things still feel like they have weight. I don’t know if it’s seeing a WWE logo on things, presentation, talent, use of space, or…
4. Regal and Ross behind the mic. William Regal was what I talked people into watching NXT in it’s latter day as the faux competition show floundering on WWE.com. He’s just as quirky as ever. (though I know there’s a better word for “quirky” when it’s in a British accent).
And Jim Ross can sell me a skinny kid wrestling in a Metallica t-shirt in his mom’s backyard wrestling on a ring made out of a trampoline and non-functional droopy ring ropes.
5. This is the future. Look at the guys coming up now as apposed to before. Antonio Cessaro has been killing it. Shield’s made an impact. Big E. Big E! That guy has been iffy with me on his initial appearance. But seeing him over as hell and doing some alright big man matches, and being on the mic in NXT has me sold on this guy!
And watching this and being the guy in your group that says “finally he’s here! Wait till you see this shit!” makes you feel good.