Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dispatches from the Lake: Strength and Weakness

Representative of why NXT is outshining the main show
Photo Credit: WWE.com
It’s been about a couple of days since NXT Takeover: R-Evolution first aired, and I still can’t keep the stupid smile off my face. Soon as the show ended, I wanted to show it to every single person I know that I’ve wanted to get into wrestling. Of course, me being me, I have to get pessimistic about something. There is one problem with NXT. Before you storm my castle with torches and pitchforks, please let me explain. The only problem with NXT is that it is miles, fathoms, and light years better than the main roster shows. How excited were you for NXT? When it hit three o’clock at work Thursday, all I wanted was to get home so I could settle in to what I knew would be a rad as hell night of wrestling.

I did not feel that way about TLC... s. Ugh.

If you want proof that Vince McMahon is an out of touch, old man who needs to get out of his own way, I point you to NXT. The "developmental brand" tells coherent stories. It has characters with clear motivations and alignment. There is reason behind their actions. Triple H and whoever is writing the show understand basic storytelling, which is kind of important if you’re going to be producing a serialized story week to week. These are not the same people writing RAW. Obviously.

Last week when McMahon said they tell stories, I nearly put my fist through my computer monitor. This was the most egregious comment out of his podcast with Steve Austin. Stories? What stories? The last stories that were told on the main roster that I cared about were Daniel Bryan’s raging against the Authority and the Shield breaking up. I had some hope for something with Dolph Ziggler coming out of Survivor Series, but based on their past treatment of his character, it’s hard to get excited.

I still watched TLC, mostly because the matches themselves have been pretty solid these last few years. I’ve given up on hoping for coherence. I'm just watching the wrestling show, where they don't wrestling for wrestling's sake. 

The Monday Night War doc that’s currently airing on the Network also shows a complete lack of self-awareness and an overabundance of reverence for the Attitude Era. It's become a roadmap of everything that's wrong with current day WWE. Watch this last episode of the show, ‘Building an Army’. It discusses the depth of the roster during the late nineties and how instrumental the undercard was in winning the war. Undertaker talks about how complacency was the ultimate killer of WCW.

I’m not sure what to write about that other than a stream of expletives.

Triple H and whoever is helping him put the shows together get it, and you can see that he gets it just by watching NXT. He’s built NXT into the WWE’s greatest strength, especially when compared to the jumbled mess that is RAW. Monday is only must see one night a year. Thursday is must see every week.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch Takeover again while blasting Finn Bálor’s music for the 50th time.