There is often a difference between what’s critically acclaimed and what’s commercially successful …
But if you own something that’s commercially successful and critically acclaimed, there’s no reason not to throw money at it. I’m talking about the latest NXT Takeover event, Revolution.
Ryan Ward Books NXT Revolution
Contrary to popular belief the man behind the event and a lot of what you see on NXT TV is not Triple H, but a relatively unknown creative member, Ryan Ward who was moved over there from SmackDown. Off Vince’s radar and out of the immediate clutches of the suits, Ward with Hunter’s guidance and ok, has managed to create a product that has won over WWE’s most hardcore and vocally critical audience. And we’re not just talking about the clichéd IWC nerds, we’re also talking about those in the business, those in WWE, long time respected dirt sheet writers like Wade Keller and Dave Meltzer, and if Reddit insider MetsFan4Ever is to believed … the main WWE roster themselves. Why do you think they killed themselves at TLC?
It’s the “pro wrestling” that Steve Austin alluded to in his podcast with Vince McMahon, and it’s also NOT the Attitude Era. It’s what WWE could be if it could get out of its own way. Wrestlers in their prime or innovative enough to distract you from the things they don’t know yet, a show that isn’t too long and full of plugs and corporate buzzwords, and good, old fashioned, logical, and well paced storytelling.
Granted you probably couldn’t take NXT and replace RAW with it and expect it to work, but Ward has lit a fire that should have ramifications on the WWE product not too dissimilarly to how ECW did back in the day. The product is young, hungry, hip, and an underdog. And like ECW it’s going to feed talent, in-ring styles and presentation in to RAW and SmackDown.
That’s kind of its job as a developmental system. ECW in many respects was WWE’s developmental system (some even claim money changed hands).
Yet we still don’t quite know where it’s headed. Will it become WWE’s answer to the independents? A corporately owned PWG or ROH that caters to the net fans who can no longer bare the Cena machine on Monday? Will it stay stunted in its current form as a developmental fed and no more? Or will it be Vince McMahon’s wake up call, that YES it’s Pro Wrestling NOT Sports Entertainment, that YES you have overcomplicated the creative process and the vision of two people is more efficient than 30 Hollywood writers, and NO “millennials” aren’t the problem but quite possibly the answer.
Unless business tanks even further I think we can discount the latter, but the NXT project has started something intriguing.