SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
With last week’s WWE shows behind us (PPV, Raw, Smackdown) the thing that stood out to me like most people is the NXT talent that was “called up”… Well, kind of. Let’s face it, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Alister Black, and Ricochet will not be on the main roster anytime before WrestleMania/NXT Takeover New York weekend. I’ll explain why.
All four are very much worth it. When they arrive on the main roster, it should be presented to the Raw and Smackdown audiences as a big deal. But last week’s shows proved nothing more than trying something new and throwing more stuff against the wall for one reason and that would be a one word answer… Ratings! Nothing more, nothing less.
Vince McMahon certainly wants his ratings up on both shows before his new contracts start in the fall. Bringing in the NXT wrestlers and showing them off seemed to be nothing more than trying to add some new ingredients to a weakened roster otherwise. The problem is, getting Raw and Smackdown viewers to care about the NXT wrestlers – or any new wrestlers – takes time and planning. That was rushed, ridiculously so with the rapid-fire bio-summaries by the announcers.
Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, and Ricochet are all involved in NXT storylines and it makes no sense to rush them to the main roster in WrestleMania season when there’s no time to get Raw and Smackdown viewers invested in them and a WrestleMania-worthy match. Plus, Takeover New York is a big NXT event and it deserves to have full use of the NXT wrestlers in matches that represent the culmination of months, if not years, of steady, deliberate, artful execution.
It would be downright stupid for Vince McMahon to poach four top NXT names in the middle of their ongoing storylines and unnaturally wedge them into the main roster instead. But can McMahon be trusted to coordinate with NXT’s creative team enough to not disrupt and contradict what NXT is doing? No.
Vince McMahon should be invested in wanting NXT Takeover to succeed in New York with the ROH/New Japan show at MSG the same weekend. He shouldn’t disrupt NXT just to make up for the shortcomings of his booking on the main roster shows.
It hurt the credibility of the four NXT wrestlers to be presented how they were. Ciampa came across as the straight up babyface on Raw and Smackdown this week, a stark contrast to his nasty hated heel persona on NXT. Jonny Gargano came across as the straight up babyface this week when he’s playing an unstable heel on NXT.
Ricochet and Black were portrayed exactly the way they are portrayed on NXT, so that was better at least, but they were thrown into matches against established Raw and Smackdown wrestlers with the briefest of time to establish who they are to the new fans.
These four wrestlers are too important to NXT, and NXT is too important a part of the WWE business landscape, to call them up to the main roster without the proper forethought and time to establish who they are to the newer fans. All four are worth top notch booking to support their immense talent. NXT has shown how good they are. Raw and Smackdown was the fast-food version of them served fast and cold.
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