Watching NXT every Wednesday is the highlight of the wrestling week. After terrible RAWs, increasingly bizarre SmackDowns, and a 205 Live show that I am always to mind numbed to appreciate, NXT offers a welcome respite and a good ending to cleanse the palate before the next week of wrestling.
In recent months, however, I have begun to notice a strain in the format. Matches are starting to become predictable and feuds are becoming forced. Too often we are seeing superstar thrown into matches while the commentary desperately tries to provide a reason. Sometimes this works, but other times it falls as flat as one expects. One way to solve this is a classic staple from the old territorial days: it’s time to bring in another belt.
Right now NXT is working with three belts (Men’s, Women’s, and Tag) that function as top prizes. It is also using the UK title to fill out shows until such time (if it ever comes) that a UK specific show begins. Frankly the UK belt is a stopgap method, especially as it is only contested among five guys, but its inclusion proves how vital a mid-card title can be to the show. At some point the WWE is going to have to create the UK show or move on from the UK title, and that will leave NXT back at three.
One intriguing option is to bring back a staple of the territory days in the form of a television title. For those who are not familiar with the concept, a TV title was a low to mid-card title who was created with concept that it was defending regularly on TV as opposed to the main title which were often only defended at house shows. The rationale for this was that a touring territorial promotion could repeat titles matches up to five or six time in each successive town to draw crowds, whereas a televised titles match could only draw once.
Obviously that doesn’t hold true with modern broadcasting and the internet wrestling community (IWC), but there is another common feature of TV titles that make one attractive for this: the time limit. Most TV titles has a set time limit on all matches, usually between 10 and 30 minutes, which both provided younger stars with some early structure and offered the ability to have the match end a draw to protect both champion and challenger.
Now, it would be absurd to create a WWE "TV" title for a show that never makes it to broadcast TV, but I would love to see the creation of a WWE Network Championship that uses many of the features of a TV title. This could solve many of the matchup conundrums that we see today as it turns a meaningless match into either title match or a contender’s match. It would also serve to help headline house shows and tapings, reserving top tile matches for the Takeovers. And there is no reason that it has to be defended at a TakeOver. In fact you could have it as a "dark" match prior to that is taped for the next week, turning the fallout show into something other than a recap. Alternately it can be defended as the main event of the go home show, giving you a high note for the end of tapings.
And the benefits would not be limited to NXT. Even without a separate UK show, having a Network Champion means you could move some of those UK title matches to 205 Live, giving a very nice change of pace to a show with a very limited roster. Once (if) the UK show is established you can use the Network Championship to offer a change during UK taping and an occasional 205 Live match. This would create a common connection between the network shows, further strengthening them.
I would also recommend the time limit stipulation, as that can add plenty of drama while protecting the build on several stars. And if you ever need advice on how to book a heel champion who uses that time limit to his advantage, I’m sure William Regal can find someone with experience in that regard.
All things considered, I believe with the ever expanding WWE universe a secondary title on NXT is both a coming necessity and a potential coup for the network.