Earlier this week, ESPN aired their E:60 “Behind the Curtain” special on NXT. It followed pro wrestlers Xavier Woods, Corey Graves, and Adam Rose through three very different lives and training experiences at the Performance Center. We saw Raymond Leppan go from the Kraven the Hunter-esque Leo Kruger to over-the-top party fanatic Adam Rose, all while balancing developmental training with taking care of his ill son. We learned more about Xavier Woods and his efforts to get his PhD, and Corey Graves as he learned about a career-ending injury.
The response has been mostly positive, with people saying that getting to know the wrestlers themselves has made them want to see someone like Rose succeed, whereas they previously found his character to be DOA in the ring.
Now that they’ve given us a very controlled, but still informative look at the NXT process, it still felt… lacking. I’m sure I don’t have to point out how all of the important, behind-the-curtain decision-making was a real sausage fest, but the ladies of NXT have proven to be the most dynamic performers with marked and recognizable improvement, and they were basically relegated to extras in the Performance Center shots. We were given two “extras,” short features on Tyler Breeze and “Big Cass” Colin Cassady, but nothing on someone born of actual wrestling royalty like Charlotte.
Shockingly, my answer is absolutely the women of NXT. Introducing someone like Sara Del Rey and the women of NXT almost seems like a no-brainer, especially given how hard they seemed to scramble after the accusations that resurfaced of sexual harassment, racism, and negligent behavior from head trainer Bill DeMott that were left unchecked for years. Yes, the argument can be made that simply doing damage control is much less than these women deserve, and I agree. However, everything WWE does — from what happens onscreen to their media presence — is carefully crafted and controlled. They’ve recently made big shows of the diversity of their new hires in response to wide criticisms of their lack of positive minority and female representation. This documentary was made prior to this, so it’s even more telling that the priority of showing off their idea of the future of the wrestling industry simply did not include women.
How about you guys? Would you like to learn more about Sasha Banks, the person? Is there someone you hate in the ring, but think you would love if you got to know them as a human? Is there even someone you begrudgingly like now after meeting them, even though you don’t much care for what they do on TV? Let us know in the comments!