Considering last week WWE released a lot of the names we’ve associated with NXT for the past several years, this report from PWInsider isn’t really surprising. In fact, it’s more of a surprise we didn’t hear about something like this even before William Regal, Road Dogg & others were let go on Jan. 5.
During the Triple H-led black-and-gold era of NXT, the creative team was said to have operated independently. NXT was “a separate bubble within the company” that wasn’t overseen by Bruce Prichard (WWE Senior Vice-President and Executive Director of Raw & SmackDown) and Christine Lubrano (SVP of Creative Writing Operations).
Now, “the days of NXT being a separate little pocket within WWE look to be over.” NXT creative will report to Prichard and Lubrano, just like Raw and SmackDown’s teams.
And honestly, I don’t see how this is a bad thing. I loved the Triple H version of the brand as much as anyone, but the lack of coordination led to a lot of problems. Stories were negatively impacted when NXT and the main roster’s plans weren’t in synch, and careers were derailed because the visions weren’t aligned. There’s plenty of blame to go around for why that was the case, but as long as the show’s primary purpose is to build stars up for Raw and SmackDown, it doesn’t make sense for the teams creating them to not be overseen by the same folks.
The downside of this singular vision is that if it doesn’t appeal to you as a consumer, there may now be three shows a week you’re not interested in instead of just two. The good news there is that this isn’t 2015 when WWE was practically the only easily accessible product. AEW is on major cable networks, Impact & MLW are on minor ones and give us lots of ways to follow their shows, GCW is on the rise, NWA and Ring of Honor are coming back... Vince McMahon’s brand of sports entertainment is still the biggest game in town, but it’s not the only one.
That won’t stop some from bemoaning this news, or details like the fact longtime WWE creative team member Johnny Russo (no relation, bro) is heading up NXT and reporting to Prichard & Lubrano. But Russo has been working on the show since 2019, and writers Dewey Foley and Anthony Golden Jr. are also sticking around, so it’s not a whole new team.
It should lead to a more cohesive WWE product. Whether that’s a better product? Everyone can decide for themselves.