On the latest edition of his new Kliq This podcast, Kevin Nash talked about a visit he made to the WWE Performance Center recently.
Nash was watching some NXT action with this good friend, and the man currently running things on WWE’s developmental show, Shawn Michaels. The two old colleagues talked about the wrestling that goes on the show, and didn’t see eye-to-eye on what audiences want from a match these days.
“I went down and I watched NXT taping. I said, ‘Slow it the fuck down, right?’ He just looks at me and goes, ‘It’s not the style anymore, you just have to accept that. The style is the style.’ He goes, ‘You go out there and fucking do test of strength and people will walk the fuck out of the arena. They are operatively conditioned now to do this. The fans want to see this. They want to see a spotfest.’
“That’s great if that’s what the fans want. I particularly don’t.”
It’s not the the current wrestling landscape is devoid of what Big Sexy wants to see. He used the main event of the July 11 Raw — a tag match pitting Seth Rollins & Theory against Riddle & Bobby Lashley — as an example:
“I thought the tag match that ended Raw had psychology. Yes, there was spots, but the first time Theory gets brought in, it’s a stiff fuckin’ punch. Good facials, he goes to the body, gets… some body shots in. They fuckin’ keep cutting the ring off, cutting the ring off, cutting the ring off, not letting Lashley get the tag and just working in and out, and Seth’s coming in, doing one or two things, boom. Tagging back out. Like the old Anderson brothers working the corner. And it’s just like, there we go. That’s tag psychology.”
Who’s right? NXT is a tough product to grade, as it’s still in the process of morphing from a super-indie to system meant to create WWE Superstars™. Not every match on every show is a “spotfest”, but you probably get more there as men & women who came up on the independents (or are product of Triple H’s black-and-gold era of the brand) call matches for greener talent.
Main roster WWE, and to some extent AEW & Impact, are more likely to have a mix of styles — sometimes within the same match. Widely available products have to try to appeal to a wide array of viewers, including some with Nash’s preferences, and others more along the lines of those Michaels is talking about.
But “they’re both right” isn’t a terribly satisfying answer, especially on the internet. So you tell us, Cagesiders. Who’s right about NXT — Diesel or the Heartbreak Kid?