WWE will finally kill NXT

The folly of all of us was to think that the NXT we love could last a long while in the world of WWE. If reports are correct. It's fair to say that I am biased. NXT was my reason for re-watching wrestling. Daniel Bryan was my inspiration. It is beginning to sound as though NXT has disappeared forever. It was something I knew in my darkest moments, but it is hard to see the truth in black and white.AdvertisementWWE released yet another batch of NXT releases over the weekend. Bronson Reed and Bobby Fish were the biggest names. Fish was not able to find a spot after Undisputed Era's dissolution. The other three members moved on to new paths, or maybe up to the main roster, in Adam Coles' case (or to AEW). Fish was not as integral to the institution as the other members of Undisputed Era. This was due to the myriad injuries that kept him from participating in the group's unmatched run. It was still shocking to see UE, NXT's most dominant and popular faction, simply walk away.Reed was even more curious as he was the NXTs North American champion a few weeks back and had just had a match against Cole. This pretty much cements him at the top. Even though he had some dark matches, they were not broadcast on TV and were seen as an audition for promotion. He is now out.The most disappointing thing about these reports was the word that Shawn Michaels and Paul Levesque Triple H, to you and me, were not responsible for making the decisions. Vince McMahon, his cronies. They almost certainly have not watched NXT in years, even though they did when it was good.NXT was transformed in many ways (and not for the better) after it was moved to two hours on the WWE Network. It also went onto cable on USA in a strike against AEWs Dynamite. The one-hour format was a great way to keep the stories short and concise, while still feeling packed. It wasn't difficult to keep up. It didn't matter if you watched it live, or if you recorded it on DVR, it was easy to find time for an hour. It was so full, everyone felt important, and it helped move things along.NXT had one problem with their transition. It was a one-hour show on WWE Network. The setting of the show in Full Sail University, in front only 100 people, worked. They kept it secret, a little club that was hidden away and hoped no one would find out. For those who were in the know, it was. Everyone who was there felt like they were part of something. Their PPVs or Takeovers would be held in arenas almost every night prior to the main WWE PPVs. It felt like unpopular kids had taken over the gym just before the big basketball game. It was a coming out party.AdvertisementNXT was always a developmental organization with the goal of graduating its performers onto the main roster. However, it wasn't about changing wrestlers to the WWE style in its prime. NXT had a variety of styles and performers, whether it was the darlings of the indies, like Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens or Promotion Center products like Sasha Banks or Bayley. They were continually evolving to preserve what made them special, but make them more TV-friendly.NXT was a force to be reckoned with from 2014 through the time they moved to USA. The Banks-Bayley match, which was a women's match, was the highlight of NXT's Takeover: Brooklyn I. It is a match that will never be forgotten. Or The reign of The Revival, now FTR on AEW, as tag team champions. This run saw a few classics with Team DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa). Then there was the Gargano-Ciampa split and the long feud that followed. And then there was Gargano, Andrade Cien Almas pulling off a 30-minute masterpiece almost from nowhere. Asuka's undefeated run. The list could go on. But not only were their shows, and especially their Takeovers, must-see TV, but they were also all worth a look for many reasons.AdvertisementMcMahon may be critical of AEW for not being competition but that wasn't the case when he switched NXT from cable to AEWs Dynamite via TNT. It failed spectacularly, with AEW defeating NXT so often and so heavily that NXT was forced to withdraw from the fight and move to Tuesdays.The move to cable and expansion of the hours to two hours meant that there was more filler and WWE-style storytelling, which didn't always make sense. NXT's intimate setting on cable looked less like Lucha Underground. This was especially true when it aired simultaneously with AEW from different arenas.AdvertisementThe pivot to their current champs was perhaps the best indicator of NXT's future direction. Raquel Gonzalez is a talented performer and a rising personality. McMahon always preferred Karrion Kross and her as big monsters, with few characters. NXT lost its edge or personality that made it stand apart. It was an indie show that ended up on WWE Network. AEW was given the title of Indie Show on Mainstream TV. WWE did not respond to this by trying out-indieing them with NXT. This made NXT look more like WWE, and that is what attracted fans to AEW.Kross is an excellent example of the difference between where NXT is today and where it used to be. Kross is what you would get if you took AleisterBlack (now MalakaiBlack in AEW), and stripped him of all his interesting qualities, but made him look like Bane. Kross's in-ring performance and character are far more impressive than Black, who was a kickboxing, gothic hell-monk who felt like he had come from the great beyond. Although he gets Scarlett's entrance and valet, it all feels like he is playing the part of Black as an apparition from the darkness. His actual ring work feels more like brawling that actual martial arts adapt to television. He is boring.AdvertisementHe is easy to find. His size makes him easy to spot on the screen. That's the essence of WWE. It wasn't what NXT was all about. You get the impression that Triple H is a man of substance, but he also watches other wrestling companies and appreciates them. He saw that there was more to it than what Triple H did in WWE and what WWE has done. The art form can take many forms. It is really sad to hear that he is not being given a say in who is being fired and could be removed entirely from NXT.Because he did make something unique under the WWE umbrella. For him and us all, however, WWE got in on it.AdvertisementIt sounds like it will be a WWE minor league, preparing performers to match the WWE style when they go to Raw or SmackDown. This is precisely what the fans wanted, and why they are more interested in other companies. Vince got it, HHH didn't. But there is always one winner in a McMahon fight. It's not the fans.