Submitted By Paul O'Brien
I tried writing something directly after NXT TakeOver Unstoppable. I typed and I made sentences, but the piece never came together. It was hard to figure out just what happened. Where were the big changes? What was so different? Why had wrestling become cool again?
Then, it hit me as I re-watched. NXT is feels so future-leaning because it perfectly blends whats coming with what's worked in the past. It's the show that is open to new thinking. It is the show that galvanises tradition.
If you need evidence of NXT's nod to its roots, just watch Unstoppable's opening video and count for yourself how many times the word
'wrestling' was used. If you need evidence of their stampede towards freshness, just look at their roster, their creative freedoms; just look at Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch.
And if you need evidence of just how personal it is to everyone involved, then all you have to do is observe them. The passion for what they do just pours out from the wrestlers and the decision makers in every video, interview, tweet, and Instagram. These are a bunch of internationally talented, dedicated people who have something to prove. And that includes those on top too.
If you needed evidence of all these things together, I suggest you put down your $9.99 (or more in euros) and see for yourself. What's happening in NXT was perfectly encapsulated by the Women's title match at Unstoppable. Banks and Lynch emoted artistry and technique and hunger and intensity and spirit. They told a great story, reeled their audience in and made them care.
It wasn't just the best WWE womens match of all time for me; it was a classic match featuring any two wrestlers, full stop. With all the talk of Ronda Rousey being the catalyst of dragging women's combat competition to the main event in other arenas, #GiveDivasAChance now has its own trailblazers. It doesn't need to ride the wave of outsiders, and it doesnt need to feel inferior or less than. WWE has the best roster of female wrestlers top to bottom that I've ever seen in my 30 years as an observer.
Give them time, give them a spotlight, give them issues of substance, and get out of their way. Let them do what they do best. Let these wrestlers kick ass. Theyve proven they can.
NXT is WWE's place to measure, cut, plan and cast, and recast. It's a laboratory for controlled explosions, and the one thing in particular they should be trying to replicate out in the wild of WWE, is the women wrestlers ability to connect. WWE says they're all about what their fans want. Take one look at Banks v Lynch and tell me that the reaction in the building and online afterwards isnt transferable to the big stage.
There's something new and cool happening in WWE. There's something new and cool happening, WWE.