On Friday in the middle of WWE airing the latest episode of SmackDown, the biggest wrestling company in the world released 13 wrestlers from NXT. These releases mean that major changes to the once considered ‘hottest brand in WWE’ are coming.
There’s many reasons that lead to Vince McMahon ultimately deciding to reformat NXT going forward.
Losing The Wednesday Night War
Losing the Wednesday Night War could be the easy answer and it’s true. Vince McMahon didn’t enjoy seeing a WWE property getting beat every week in terms of viewership and the 18-49 demo.
NXT had the mission to destroy AEW and it failed. NXT tried everything from Vince McMahon’s playbook, but nothing worked. Even having established wrestlers like Finn Balor and Charlotte Flair were not enough for this “war”.
Vince McMahon seeing the results of the war was one of the leading factors of NXT going back to basics before the WWE raid of the indies began. NXT could be looking similar to the FCW days too. Only time will tell how deep the restructuring of NXT will be.
“No More Midgets!”
On WOR (Wrestling Observer Radio), Dave Meltzer commented about the situation and one of the key quotes was “No more midgets. No one is starting in their 30s”. That was NXT’s M.O. for the longest time, signing indie talent that were already in their 30s (established wrestlers), but not the biggest guys.
For Vince, size is one of the most important things for him. NXT focusing on signing wrestlers that are the opposite of what he likes was always going to backfire and it finally did. Signing the top wrestlers from ROH, PWG, NJPW and indies instead of looking for what Vince likes was doomed for the start. WWE had the opportunity to sign wrestlers like Wardlow or PowerHouse Hobbs, two guys that have what WWE is looking for, but NXT missed the boat on them and AEW took advantage of that.
The transition from NXT to the main roster has always been a rocky one. There’s no communication from both sides and it’s more than obvious Vince doesn’t watch the product. WWE focusing on body guys and athletes that Vince will approve seems a more efficient way to do things, but it’s not going to improve the content.
The Performance Center Failed
The PC was supposed to produce the next big group of stars for WWE, but that was not the case. The failure of the PC has been a very heavily debated subject, but with NXT getting restructured, there’s no debating the PC failed to create all those new stars.
The Performance Center is not a good place to learn how to wrestle. The PC cares more about who does the best push-ups than actual wrestling training. Tay Conti after leaving WWE and her massive improvement in the ring for AEW have exposed the PC’s failure. It doesn’t help when legends like Mark Henry or William Regal prefer to send their sons to other places to learn how to wrestle.
People signed to WWE and sent to the PC are stuck for years doing drills and being deprogrammed from the indie style to NXT’s style. The funny part is that Vince McMahon hates NXT’s style and he has to deprogram the wrestlers that are called up to the main roster.
The Future of Paul “Triple H” Levesque
Triple H or Paul Levesque was considered to be the successor of Vince McMahon as the top head of creative for WWE once he retired or died, but things might not be like that anymore. He might be on shaky waters right now. The failures of NXT, the PC and losing the Wednesday Night Wars are things that Vince won’t forget.
Things for Paul haven’t been the best either for the longest time. Last year, Lesvesque was demoted and his only position was that of head booker of NXT. The demotion and failures most likely mean that his plan for global expansion are done.