LaBar: Why NXT shouldn’t be compared to RAW
ORLANDO, Fla. — Thursday night’s NXT television tapings for the next month was packed full of action, but it also further emphasized to me the apples and oranges comparisons being done by fans.
Eight hundred of the most die-hard wrestling fans attend these NXT shows once or twice a month and are keyed into the inside rumors and happenings in the business.
They enjoy the product and are vocal in their support. I agree with them and am on the NXT bandwagon.
However, that doesn’t mean I’m on the witch hunt of blame as to why the main roster shows of RAW and SmackDown aren’t living up to standards recently.
“RAW should be run like NXT is.” “Triple H needs to be running RAW full time because he has a better vision than Vince.”
Those are two quotes I’ve heard quite a bit from fans here.
The problem is if RAW was run like NXT, then NXT wouldn’t be as cool anymore. The fans appreciate NXT, whether they realize or not, because it’s an alternative to the format of RAW. It doesn’t make RAW No. 2 in the race, because it’s essentially a whole different race.
The same principles apply to the argument that Triple H should be in creative control of RAW and SmackDown.
NXT has the luxury of being the third alternative brand. They’ve become manufactured competition to the audience compared to RAW. This is fine because, at the end of the day, one man is still signing the checks. NXT has the ability to be more wrestling with smaller venues and intimate energy.
RAW, on the other hand, is the flagship show for a public company on Wall Street. Drawing 10,000-plus in arenas and having more entertainment elements appeals to a broader audience. While the die-hard wrestling fan might not understand or enjoy this, it’s still a necessity for business purposes.
I don’t want to talk much about what happened at NXT on Thursday simply because most of it won’t air for a couple of weeks, and I don’t want to spoil it for anybody. I’ll say a few debuts were made and the crowd reacted in a big way. This is great for NXT and for those talents. NXT has become another place to work that’s under the credible and stable umbrella of WWE, but you’re not held to the same standards of appeasing multiple agendas. For the most part, it’s all kept straightforward and focused on wrestling. No major sponsorships or marketing campaigns to stay in line with. No movies or books to promote.
NXT is studio wrestling with a million-dollar budget. For some talents, NXT is the place to grow and elevate themselves to the ultimate goal of WrestleMania. For other talents, NXT is the place finish off the final years of a career helping younger guys.
The brand of NXT is its own entity with its own rules and boundaries. It might be more enjoyable than RAW or SmackDown, but it’s vital to remember it’s not being held to the same standards.
The moral of the story is to enjoy NXT for what it is and not spend time tearing down RAW or SmackDown because of it. Any issues that need fixed with RAW or SmackDown aren’t necessarily able to be fixed by reading the NXT manual.