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Looking at What Is NeXT For WWE

December 21, 2018 | Posted by Justin Watry
Vince McMahon

Backstory

This column is all about Monday’s Raw of “change” and the new NXT call ups.

What Is NeXT For WWE?

McMahons Opening – I am a sucker for all the McMahon drama. Trust me. I am more than okay with the talent doing the heavy lifting and not wasting time on family BS. However, there is a reason the live crowds always eat it up and viewers tune (back) into the television show. For whatever reason, it causes controversy and brings discussion. Don’t believe? Look at the numbers for Raw once again boosted by Vince McMahon returning and all the conversation online. It works. It just does. This time it was all about promising a new era run by the authority – the fans! The WWE Universe is in charge. They speaks, and the McMahons will listen…

…at least that was the message.

Is any of it true?

Well, RAW got off to the right start if you ask me. Baron Corbin was removed from power, embarrassed and officially bested by all the faces. That is the definition of ending a story line with giving the viewers what they want. In this case, what they have wanted for a long time. Corbin is gone and got his comeuppances in a big way. Perfect.

From there, we had Tyler Breeze stepping up to get some TV time, a long gauntlet women’s match as the main event and the announcements of several NXT call ups. Not to mention Mustafa Ali getting highlighted on Smackdown Live, Andrade Almas in the main event and another United States Championship match for the popular but recently invisible Rusev.

Before getting to the new talent ready to show up, let’s back track on WHY the McMahons came back. Again.

What was basically blamed on Baron Corbin for the on screen audience was more an a behind the scenes issue that had been brewing since Roman Reigns had to suddenly leave. I have personally been enjoying the product just fine (not great or anything mind you), but viewership told a different story. There had to come a time when SOMETHING had to happen. Waiting until WrestleMania season kicked in was not an option. It had to happen now!

I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it’s true. Those behind the scenes issues mattered none to the casual audience or even some of the diehards. Whatever was happening was placed on the shoulders of Baron Corbin. It wasn’t his fault. We can all laugh at him and bash him for ratings or terrible segments, but he was not the problem. Others will disagree, but that is the beauty of this all. What the McMahons did was take something very real backstage and in the offices and shift all that attention to the TV feud involving Baron Corbin and the entire Raw roster, including Seth Rollins and a returning Kurt Angle. It was all so seamless that it made you want to cheer the McMahons…who were behind this whole mess in the first place.

Really was quite fascinating to watch unfold during the first 30 minutes of Raw.

The rest of Raw (and Smackdown LIVE) heading into 2019 though? Let’s take a look at the other “change” that was implied.

Lars Sullivan – Lars Sullivan has been teased for the main roster for months now. He had spun his wheels in NXT that you had to know something was in the works. Either an all out release (not happening) or a move up the ranks. By Survivor Series, it was official. Lars Sullivan was coming…and now he is lurking. Both brands want him, and that tells us he will be a BIG deal upon debuting. I do think he shoots out onto the scene like a canon. Not saying main event or anything like that but yes, he will have Ryback like rise to the top. Will it stick or eventually fall flat on its’ face? Time will tell, but I am all for this call up.

Lacey Evans – Like most of these NXT call ups, it was apparent to weekly viewers that these guys and gals were either getting cut or moving to Raw or Smackdown LIVE. Lacey Evans had been running in circles for long enough. I am a fan and constantly tell my girlfriend she is one to watch out. I was super stoked to see her name pop on the screen watching Raw. Very cool news and once WWE figures out her character, the sky is the limit. I am cautiously optimistic though based on The IIconics and Nia Jax but excited based on Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss and Asuka. Crap shoot indeed.

Heavy Machinery – Quick story: I often ripped on Jason Jordan and said he would be a bust in NXT and never make it. I saw nothing in him for the longest time and made that very clear. Once he succeeded with American Alpha and his recent Raw run, I changed my tune. I sent him a tweet apologizing and saying I was wrong about him. I highly doubt he cared, but it was my admission of fault. I was wrong about him and got to enjoy his act quite a bit as Kurt Angle’s son. The same can be said to a lesser degree of Heavy Machinery. I didn’t care for them very much but somewhere along the way, they won me over. Steaks and weights baby! Tucky. The whole thing is just good, clean fun. While the NXT tag team division has never been much to write home about minus whatever the tag team title match is, I do think Heavy Machinery will be missed. Unique act and have a lot of personality. Like The Mighty, it was either time to get called up be broken up, or be released. Happy for Otis and Tucky!

Nikki Cross – Yes! Another NXT star who was clearly on the way up to the main roster. Again folks, it is not THAT complicated in figuring out future NXT call ups. That is why I always laugh at the usual names being suspected when it is clear to anybody they aren’t going anywhere. NXT has their formula, and it works. Nikki Cross has done all she could in NXT and is ready for the big stage. Her cameos in the Aleister Black mystery story line were absolutely amazing. I loved it. Unlike others where I really do not care what brand they end up on, Sanity is already on the blue brand and recently came back to TV. It would make sense to put Nikki as their leader to the tag titles. She has always been the standout star in the group, so maybe she does stay solo for now. Jus saying – the fit is already there for her with Sanity.

EC3 – It was obvious from day one that EC3 would not have a lengthy NXT stay. Drew McIntyre, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Kevin Owens, etc. Nobody expected EC3 to return to the company and NOT get the main roster call up. He is like Elias. Some acts fit NXT and do well there for a long time. Others are just simply ready for Raw or Smackdown LIVE and after the quick re-introduction should be on the USA Network. No surprise: EC3 showed up in NXT, set his character as the Top 1% and is going to hit it big. I predict Vince McMahon LOVING this guy. He is the next Alberto Del Rio in terms of looks and rich guy gimmick that can be easily booed. Plus, the music is catchy as heck. Of the group, my money is on EC3 having the most success, but you don’t really know until the full picture is painted.

SUMMARY: You tell me. Are the NXT call ups enough of a ‘change’ to hold us over until WrestleMania 35 build or is this just more lip service from the McMahons?

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article topics :

NXT, WWE, WWE Raw, Justin Watry