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Every episode of WWE NXT in 2017, graded

Triple H on Twitter

After a bit of a rocky 2016, NXT returned to form over the past 365 days worth of Wednesdays. The main issue which contributed to problems the previous year persisted- two men’s singles champs, a pair of tag titleholders and one women’s champion are now regulars on Raw and SmackDown, along with plenty of other call-ups. But Triple H and team have figured out how to better plan for those talent transitions. And, honestly, none of the group promoted in 2017 were ever seen as “belonging” to the black-and-yellow brand’s fan base the way talents like Finn Bálor and Bayley were.

Still, with every promotion came a new addition. Drew McIntyre arrived as Shinsuke Nakamura was leaving for good. Bobby Roode headed up and Adam Cole was here. The two runner-ups from the Mae Young Classic started shortly after Asuka departed for Mondays.

Not that this stuff really show up in my grades, except in their general consistency. As the guy on the Cageside’s NXT beat for almost six years, I’m kind of in the bag for the brand - and these ratings demonstrate that.

NXT isn’t a show I consistently LOVE as often as I once did, but it’s one I really like 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?” In the just completed year, most editions still usually contained one match or segment which passed that test, even if it’s still rare a whole show is unmissable.

While figuring out how to pivot when big stars leave was the big challenge coming into last year, the new one will see them working to better utilize the performers they already have in-house as the as competition for resources is probably as stiff as it’s been in nearly 20 years.

Whatever happens, I’m hoping to be here, recapping and reviewing to let you know how I think they’re doing. Hope you’ll be along for the ride, too.

Here’s how I viewed each show from 2017:

Jan. 4 (In your house show): B-
Jan. 11 (Let’s not get caught): A
Jan. 18 (Tested and tried): A-
Jan. 25 (Out of time): C+
Feb. 1 (Leave your boy so far from home): C+
Feb. 8 (Possessed by what is not): B
Feb. 15 (Really don’t know): C+
Feb. 22 (Very amused): B-
Mar. 1 (Named extinction): B+
Mar. 8 (Neither waxing nor waning): B
Mar. 15 (How soon is now?): B
Mar. 22 (Starts to shout): B+
Mar. 29 (Only brought your shield): B-
Apr. 4 (It is what it is)*: C+
Apr. 12 (What was yours, now is mine)*: A-
Apr. 19 (Someday finally came): A-
Apr. 26 (Good news, boppers): A
May 3 (The one where no one's ready): A-
May 10 (Getting it done): A
May 17 (Hitting the spot): B+
May 24 (Won't ever be equal): C+
May 31 (Our fault): A-
June 7 (A series of last chances): B+
June 14 (Stop the damn fight!): C
June 21 (Heroes eventually die): B
June 28 (A bit of the old ultra-violence): A
July 5 (Re-start of Heartache): B+
July 12 (It’s what’s for dinner): B-
July 19 (Sparks a fire): B+
July 26 (Ruy Lopez): B-
Aug. 2 (Do what thou wilt): B+
Aug. 9 (Frenético): B+
Aug. 16 (Don’t want no problem): C
Aug. 23 (Constructed just to fill the void): C
Aug. 30 (Make the pace): A
Sept. 6 (Mixed messages): C+
Sept. 13 (Lying in wait): B
Sept. 20 (Watch the stoic squirm): B+
Sept. 27 (Rudely mistaken): C
Oct. 4 (Acknowledge me): B+
Oct. 11 (Why we fall): A-
Oct. 18 (Prelude to war): B+
Oct. 25 (Impatient for success): A-
Nov. 1 (Witches at black masses): B
Nov. 8 (All fall down): C
Nov. 15 (A valuable commodity): B+
Nov. 22 (The Right Mix): B
Nov. 29 (The Alamo’s Basement): C-
Dec. 6 (Back on track): B+
Dec. 13 (Mixed messages): C for USA Network’s version; B- for WWE Network’s version
Dec 20 (Epic trilogy)*: A-
Dec 27 (Tears in his eyes, I guess): B+

* The always awesome Kyle Decker was my more than capable back-up on several occassions this year... thanks, Deck! I don’t care what Geno says about you, I think you’re... GLORIOUS!

How was NXT in 2017 for you, Cagesiders?

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