Monday, July 6, 2015

NXT to Takeover Brooklyn

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The next NXT live special was announced on Friday, and it stands now as the most ambitious one ever. For the first time, the Takeover series will leave Full Sail University and its normal timeslot to hit up the Barclay's Center on August 22, which is the day before SummerSlam. The special will be aired live on WWE Network as is the custom. The biggest news is that this special will be held in the largest arena to host NXT by far. The developmental/premium brand has mostly played to smaller venues, whether at home at Full Sail or during the infancy of its touring life. The Barclay's Center, however, is a full-sized arena that will also host SummerSlam and RAW the next two nights respectively.

This move is the boldest yet in a series of outwardly expansive moves for the brand. No doubt Triple H and other NXT officials are banking on the piggyback from SummerSlam to help boost attendance, but asking the cast of wrestlers and characters to quadruple its drawing capacity is a lot on the surface. I don't have any expectation of how the show will do at the gate, but it shows a bit of the old devil-may-care attitude of the old WWF during national expansion. Funny one should mention that, since the show was announced to be on the same date as some huge competition.

Ring of Honor will also be running in Brooklyn on that date for its Field of Honor event at MCU Park. That show will have the extra added benefit of Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, and KUSHIDA appearing courtesy of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The head-to-head competition is another piece of evidence towards a plot by WWE to kill the indies with NXT the way that the WWF in the '80s killed the territories. But in the interest of fairness, ROH is piggybacking off SummerSlam with its event, and it is disingenuous to call the company an indie when it has the backing of a major corporation and has national television that competes with the first run of NXT on WWE Network.

Even if WWE's main roster has no real competition stateside, the next financial level down is a veritable battlefield. NXT, ROH, Lucha Underground, and TNA all are battling for that Wednesday night view, and honestly, no matter who does the best numbers, the winners are the fans, even those who still cling to Impact like a security blanket. However, the move to a Saturday for its next special is a huge one for NXT, and time will tell how it will turn out for the brand.