next-takeover-brooklyn

Editors Note: We are wrestling fans, but you already knew that. We also are fully aware that we haven’t done enough of a service to NXT, the smartest product the WWE produces today in terms of wrestling, storylines and believable character motivations to win and succeed. We’re fans of Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Bayley and a host of others but we also know that eventually, NXT is going to outgrow Full Sail University. That those fans who have lived, cheered and grown up with those characters will be left behind for bigger audiences and paydays for the wrestlers. So, a guest writer took a look at NXT in the present — and why it’s important for NXT to understand what it is post-Summerslam.

This past year, NXT has risen from a developmental farm system to a full-fledged third brand for WWE. It has produced a Divas Revolution and the rise of many new main roster stars, however after this weekend’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event most of the stars who are currently working double duty for both NXT and the main roster look take their permanent place on RAW and Smackdown, this means we could be seeing a changing of the guard and a new era beginning in NXT.

nxt-takeover-brooklyn-cardThanks to excellent matches from the three most recent female main roster additions, NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch, female wrestling has come a long way from one 3-minute match on RAW, Smackdown or the monthly pay per view to a least two matches on the main roster shows and a 11 minute match on last month’s Battleground pay per view, which was longer then the show’s main event match. The bathroom break days of women’s wrestling may finally be gone. The new number one contender for Banks’ championship, Bayley who was also involved in many great matches with Banks, Charlotte and Lynch, looks to take the belt at this weekend’s Takeover event. If she’s successful and Banks leaves NXT, Bayley will be the new head of the Women’s division and even with the recent departures she will not be short on competition. Former main roster diva Emma and newcomer Dana Brooke have already been competing with Bayley and look to easily transition into marquee matches with the number one contender. Although she is not the WWE Universe’s most liked diva, Eva Marie has made her comeback to the ring. Though her first TV match back was lackluster, she has been training with Bryan Kendrick, who is a great wrestler and trainer, and she might need a few more matches to come into her own and become a contender in the Women’s Division.

Singles stars Neville and Kevin Owens have quickly made a name for themselves on the main roster. Both will compete at Summerslam Sunday, though in different spots. Neville is attached to a celebrity match for the sake of his “superhero” gimmick. Owens is slated to face Cesaro in an unofficial “grab the brass ring” match for former indie darlings who don’t fit the traditional WWE mold. Unlike Neville and The Lucha Dragons, Owens has been working both NXT and main roster events, almost as if he’s the only Big Bad NXT has due to injuries from Sami Zayn & Hideo Itami. This weekend like Banks, Charlotte and Lynch he will be at both Summerslam and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.

sasha-banks-izzy-nxt

At NXT Takeover, if he doesn’t beat NXT Champion Finn Bálor in their ladder match, he could be leaving NXT permanently. It’s not a big loss for the brand male talent ready to take his place but there’s no big heel out there to challenge Bálor as champion. Ring veterans like Balor, Samoa Joe, Rhyno and newer wrestlers who are homegrown WWE producers like Tyler Breeze, Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey have been stealing shows for months, Breeze more than any other. Now that another former indie star, Uhaa Nation, is set to make his debut at NXT Takeover as Apollo Crews, even more completion is added to the mix. Once Itami & Zayn return from their injuries, you’ve literally got a logjam at the top of the NXT card with plenty of faces and not a heel among them (at least on paper) there to help further a story.

The tag team division also doesn’t seem to be in any trouble and may be the healthiest of any division in WWE, regardless of brand. Although NXT lost its two biggest teams, The Lucha Dragons and The Ascension early on in the year, many young teams have stepped up. Current champs Blake and Murphy aka The Dubstep Cowboys, charismatic Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy, The Vaudevillians, Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, not to mention The Mechanics are all starting to find their niches and strides. The current feud between The Vaudevillians and Blake & Murphy hawks back to traditional terms of good vs. evil and not the vindictive kind of good vs. evil the WWE loves to employ (see Ziggler vs. Rusev). Amore and Cassady, thought to be destined to win the titles from Blake & Murphy in Brooklyn are probably the most over team in the division. And that may solely be based on two things: their trash-talking introduction into the ring always captivates fans and that they play off their strengths of plucky little guy and 7’ foot giant pretty damn well.

NXT is losing some of its top stars but it doesn’t look like all its best wrestlers are gone. The brand is still filled with stars, a mix of indie veterans and rising talents all looking to make a niche before they eventually jump to the next level as well. Maybe NXT Takeover: Brooklyn helps tell one last story for this glory run of NXT. Then everything resets and the newer crop gets its time in the sun. It’s not as if the brand is going to suffer for it.

Daniel Sanchez is a devout NXT/pro wrestling follower. Follow him on Twitter