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If you stopped watching NXT, now you’re missing out

Thursday’s Rude Awakening looks at the recent NXT renaissance, Vince’s role in WWE, and more pro-Jinder talk.

We publish a whole lot of content here at Cageside Seats. We’re also [looks around and whispers so the bosses can’t hear] not the only place producing wrestling content on the internet. So, as a service to you on the weekdays, we’ll be producing a wrestling newsletter, "Rude Awakening." Well, it will be a newsletter eventually: for now, it’ll just be part of your experience here at Cageside, collecting the news, recaps, and social moments from the greater wrestling universe daily so you won’t fall behind, with a newsletter format to come.

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NXT is going to have its ups and downs. Sometimes, the television product is going to be at this sweet spot of exciting new faces and experienced favorites, and that’s going to translate into incredible events like TakeOver: Brooklyn, the entire Sami Zayn saga, and the rise of Bayley. Other times, things like post-WrestleMania promotions and the brand split draft are going to heavily drain WWE’s developmental brand, leaving it with less polished, less familiar performers. Many fans tuned out of NXT when 2016 hit the roster hard and brought those favorites up to the main roster, but if you’re one of those, it might be time to open up your Wednesday nights again.

NXT lost The Revival, who helped bring their lifeless tag division to the forefront of the show and turned it into one of the most must-watch parts of WWE in general. However, the Tag Team Champions Authors of Pain are still there, as are #DIY and new soon-to-be favorites like Heavy Machinery. Hideo Itami is back, and he’s in the NXT Championship scene, and you know Drew McIntyre will get there soon, too. Kassius Ohno is back, SAnitY looks like it’s going to develop multiple stars, and you’re going to love Aleister Black as much as his character probably loves Satan.

The women’s division is as deep as it’s ever been, even if no one has come up with a moniker like the Four Horsewomen to promote that fact. Asuka is doing wonderful work as a cocky, overconfident heel. Ruby Riot has brought a new look and new attitude to the division, and that’s without even getting into her fantastic in-ring skills. You can’t say enough great things about Nikki Cross, Ember Moon is a believable threat to Asuka, and the Billie Kay/Peyton Royce tandem might be the top iteration of the time-honored NXT tradition of the Mean Girls we’ve seen so far.

That’s without getting into the work of Oney Lorcan, who will elbow his way into the hearts of everyone both literally and figuratively, or Andrade Almas’ ever-improving performance sans mask. Dylan Miley is another promising huge star — emphasis on huge — and there are likely even more promising women to come following the Women’s Tournament — especially if Candice LeRae showing up for the number one contender battle royal this week was any indication.

Start watching NXT again. You won’t be disappointed.

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