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Every episode of WWE NXT in 2016, graded

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It was a transitional year for NXT. Looking back at the past 365 days worth of Wednesdays for this feature reminded me just how much has changed. It’s kind of amazing how many performers we’re now used to seeing on Monday and Tuesday nights were on WWE Network exclusively for almost half of 2016 - including the first ever Universal champ and SmackDown’s current tag & Women’s titleholders.

As the guy on the NXT beat for Cageside Seats for almost five years, I’m kind of in the bag for the brand - and these ratings demonstrate that. Other than opting to not rate some clip shows, no episode earned a grade of ‘D’ or lower from yours truly. And I think that’s an accurate representation of how the show was for me in the last calendar year.

NXT isn’t a show I consistently LOVE any more, but it’s one I more often than not enjoy. In 2016, my rubric largely became “would I tell one of my wrestling friends who no longer watches every episode they should seek this out?” There’s usually one match or segment each week of which that’s true; it’s rare the whole show passes the test.

Like last year, the new one will mean more transition for NXT as it tries to develop new stars and integrate veterans from other promotions into its model. I’ll be here, recapping and reviewing to let you know how I think it’s doing. Hope you’ll be along for the ride, too.

Here’s how I viewed each show from 2016:

Jan. 6: N/R (...but that's not all!)
Jan. 13: A- (That time and absence proves)
Jan. 20: B (How to succeed in business)
Jan. 27: B+ (Throw the red flag)
Feb. 3: C+ (Basic navigation)
Feb. 10: A- (Shine together)
Feb. 17: A- (Window shopper)
Feb. 24: C+ (A low down dirty shame)
Mar. 2: A- (Collide together)
Mar. 9: B+ Audacity of execution
Mar. 16: B+ (Before everything fades)
Mar. 23: B (Never half step)
Mar. 30: C+ (Of all sad things...)
Apr. 1: A+ (TakeOver: Dallas - Very vital)
Apr. 6: N/R (Too Easy)
Apr. 13: B (Forever is our today)
Apr. 20: C (Before I make change)
Apr. 27: C (Waiting for nothing)
May 4: C- (Now and then)
May 11: C+ (Tenuous Winners)
May 18: B+ (Wanna hear the uproar)
May 25: A- (Fresh off the runway)
June 1: B (More than happy to)
June 8: B+ (TakeOver: The End - Reserve a quiet defense)
June 15: A- (Dangerous judgements)
June 22: B (Sharpen your knife)
June 29: B+ (Still glistening)
July 6: A (Back in the saddle)
July 13: A- (Saikeirei)
July 20: A- (Hello, goodbye)
July 27: B+ (Tu ne l'attends plus il est là)
Aug. 3: A+ (Can we do no wrong?)
Aug. 10: B (Child’s play)
Aug. 17: B+ (The poetry of way)
Aug. 21: A- (TakeOver: Brooklyn II - Freeze this moment a little bit longer)
Aug. 24: H (Can’t let go)
Aug. 31: B- (Deserve’s got nothing to do with it)
Sept. 7: B (We’ll go with that)
Sept. 14*: 7.5/10 (The GLORIOUS Way)
Sept. 21: B+ (Learning to fly)
Sept. 28: B+ (Perfectly... impressive)
Oct. 5: B (Can you handle this?)
Oct. 12: A- (Return of the king)
Oct. 19: C (Parti pris)
Oct. 26: A- (Laying the foundation)
Nov. 2: B+ (Make a plan)
Nov. 9: B+ (For your benefit)
Nov. 16: B- (Wrap it up)
Nov. 20: A- (TakeOver: Toronto - Buying stocks on the day of the crash)
Nov. 23: C (Chaotic compilation)
Nov. 30: C+ (Where we belong)
Dec. 7: B- (Groovin’ up slowly)
Dec. 14: C+ (On to the next one)
Dec. 21: B+ (Wait for something more)
Dec. 28: B (TakeOver Japan)

* The always awesome Tonya Rodgers stepped in and reviewed this show while I was on vacation.

How was NXT in 2016 for you, Cagesiders?

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