It’s that time to look back on the year that was on NXT.
For much of 2019, it was business as usual for the black-and-gold brand. They were a one hour, pre-taped show on WWE Network. Their top talents were due to be shuffled up to the “main roster”, and many of them did move to Raw or SmackDown in the first half of the year.
But then All Elite Wrestling announced a live show for Wednesday nights on TNT, and Triple H’s show was quickly moved to cable. And made live. And expanded to two hours. Amazingly, the transition was pretty seamless.
Finally, as part of WWE’s strategy to make NXT an equal third brand (and more of a draw against AEW’s Dynamite), it was added to last month’s Survivor Series PPV. Wednesday night’s top acts started crashing Monday and Friday nights, and were booked extremely strongly at The Battle For Brand Supremacy™.
How did all of that affect our critical evaluation of their weekly show?
See for yourself...
Jan. 9 (Remember who we are): A
Jan. 16 (An Angry Bro): B
Jan. 23 (Reconnecting with old friends): A
Jan. 30 (Pirates of the Sky): C+
Feb. 6 (Grapple Surprise): B+
Feb. 13 (Work the leg!): B
Feb. 20 (Dream on): B
Feb. 27 (Welcome Home): A-
Mar. 6 (The Elephant In The Room): A-
Mar. 13 (Turnabout’s fair play): B-
Mar. 20 (Slump Buster): B
Mar. 27 (Rise to the Occasion): A-
April 3 (Brooklyn Bound Brawlers): B-
April 10 (Forgotten): C+
April 17 (One Last Time): B
April 24 (More Trouble In Paradise): B+
May 1 (Back to the Future): B-
May 8 (Both these guys, indeed): A-
May 15 (Chaos Reigns): B-
May 22 (Guess who just got back today): A-
May 29 (Wake up): C-
June 5 (Buying time): C
June 12 (Stretched out): B-
June 19 (A New Era): B-
June 26 (Warpath): A-
July 3 (You don’t still got it): B-
July 10 (The best tag team wrestling): B+
July 17 (Missing something): A-
July 24 (Still lost): A-
July 31 (The Return): B
Aug. 7 (Losing is not an option): C+
Aug. 14 (Face to face, my friend): C-
Aug. 21 (Keeps going and going and going): B
Aug. 28 (Almost there): A
Sept. 4 (Championship Material): B-
Sept. 11 (One hour finale): B
Sept. 18 (Of course you realize...): A-
Sept. 25 (Street Fight): B
Oct. 2 (Wednesday Night TakeOver): A-
Oct. 9 (Remember): B
Oct. 16 (No wasted motions): A
Oct. 23 (Return of the Prince): A
Oct. 30 (Go to war): A-
Nov. 6 (Invaders... fighting!): B+
Nov. 13 (Controlled Chaos): B+
Nov. 20 (All The Brawls): C+
Nov. 27 (The Rogue): A
Dec. 4 (The Keith Lee Show): B
Dec. 11 (Angel’s Big Night): B
Dec. 18 (Nightmare Before Christmas): B+
Dec. 25 (Christmas Future): B
It’s a remarkably quality show. You can and often do quibble with the grades handed down by our reviewer (Kyle Decker, with the occasional fill-in from yours truly). That’s natural, as these things are subjective - and the 1000+ words written in each reactions post tells you a lot more than a letter grade, anyway. But to routinely hover around a B and never slip below a C- over the course of 52 weeks is no small feat.
Can they keep it up in 2020, with the stakes higher than ever?
Personally, I can’t wait to find out.