I’ll say this first and foremost: I love NXT. It’s an amazing brand of wrestling that’s smart to the audiences’ needs, and takes an old-school booking philosophy and bedazzles it with cutting edge talent. Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you what is wrong with NXT’s, and further, WWE‘s approach to their developmental system.
Let’s explain the issue with NXT’s system by highlighting three of their current talents: Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, and Finn Balor. All three are exceptional in the ring. Aries is a dynamic striker and high flyer… the same goes for Balor. Samoa Joe is an artist when it comes to brawls, and his snug striking capability is second to none — everything he does looks like it hurts. (Probably because it does.) These three individuals have gained their abilities by performing at a very high-level on the international and indy wrestling scene. Aries and Joe were Ring of Honor and TNA world champions, and Finn Balor was one of the crown jewels of New Japan Pro Wrestling during his tenure there. This begs the question…
What the f*ck are they doing in NXT?
I somewhat understand the distorted thought process of having these men perform in NXT before eventually being called up to the main roster in WWE. They need to get acclimated to the WWE style. NXT is a proving ground of sorts for wrestlers, acting as a litmus test before they and their gimmicks get the call-up. We want them to help along the newer talent.
Here’s the problem with this: Joe is 37, Aries is 37, and Balor is 34 — they’re no spring chickens. In an interview that you can catch on Youtube, Svengali wrestling brainiac, Raven, said that every wrestler has a finite “bump card.” (He also said that the only wrestler that doesn’t have a finite “bump card” is Ric Flair, which is true.) If we were to go by this “bump card” logic, in which a wrestler has a finite amount of time his body can withstand getting thrown around in a wrestling ring, then WWE is doing a disservice to wrestlers of the aforementioned caliber by literally taking years off their main roster tenure.