The current Monday Night Raw format is a 3-hour program featuring a lot of established favorites in very competitive matches. However, much like Nitro back in the day, the 3-hour format on television leaves very little to the imagination left for pay-per-view. Meanwhile, NXT is a 1-hour, weekly program featuring new talent in a smaller venue with a strong emphasis on character development as much as in-ring development. Characters like Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Bayley, and Tyler Breeze continue to captivate their own audience more than John Cena and Randy Orton have in years. I don't say that as a knock on the established veterans—rather, I say it as someone who watches every week and continues to grow frustrated with the lack of audience control on the main shows. Monday Night Raw has become a weekly struggle to try to focus on the action in the ring, which is very good, as the audience tries their best to hijack the show with nonsensical chants and anything they can do to entertain themselves or the person sitting next to them and express their own frustration with the product. In the NXT arena, you don't see this. During their most recent 2-hour Takeover special, the fans only reacted to what they saw and when a small smattering tried to start a CM Punk chant during the main event, a majority of the audience booed. That is the magic of NXT and that's the kind of investment that hasn't been felt by an audience since the Attitude Era.
Another blunder that cost WCW The Monday Night War was their inability to capitalize on the momentum of a character they would steal from the rival organization. WWE currently also has an issue capitalizing on the momentum characters develop in NXT. This is strongly evident in the case of Bo Dallas. Dallas was huge draw in NXT and the Full Sail audience had a great connection with the character. However, since arriving on the main roster, the character has struggled to find his footing and is quickly falling into obscurity. The same can be said for Emma, who had a great interactive entrance, and aside from being in the all Divas melee at WrestleMania 30, has done next to nothing on the main roster since debuting in early 2014. It's a real shame when you see where they were compared to where they are now, which makes you wonder if some of the NXT talent is better suited to stay there rather than go to the supposed "big time".
Make no mistake about it, NXT is the wave of the future. With the recent signings of Kevin Steen, Prince Devitt, and KENTA, aka Hideo Itami, the brand has one of the best rosters of any active promotion you can think of. In addition to that, their quarterly live Takeover specials are always on par with any major pay per view in the industry. Couple that with the fact that the brand has the most passionate, invested audience WWE has seen in years and you will understand why if there's anything that's worth the $9.99 a month, it is to make sure that you are staying connected with the hottest brand in professional wrestling today. The attitude and alternative is a lot closer to home than you think and I predict years from now we'll be talking about the NXT revolution in the industry.
Is NXT truly the wave of the future and the next era in WWE? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!