6 Reasons why NXT is better than RAW|6 Gründe, warum NXT besser als RAW ist

In case you didn't know, I'm a huge wrestling fan. I had been watching it as a kid back in the nineties, took something like a 10 year break – missing most of the attitude era (talk about bad timing…) in the process – and I've been watching it regularly for the past 3 or 4 years. While this has been painful at times, e.g.

  • I didn't like the whole idea of the Nexus a lot when it was first introduced, but looking back at it, I consider it a rather cool storyline.
  • Similarly, I found the Shield rather annoying when they were first introduced and they interfered in random matches for no apparent reason, but that whole storyline also eventually grew on me.
  • I think that at the beginning of 2015, the writing was so atrocious (it was the time when we had been watching Survivor Series rematches for around 5 weeks in a row, only to then see the Authority reinstated in the least creative way possible) that I seriously considered to stop watching it.

Anyway, while it's obvious that I can't really be considered an “early adopter” of some of the most important storylines of the past few years, I do at least hang around so they can win me over eventually. And at that point, I'm also willing to reconsider my original opinion and admit that it was rather entertaining.

Having said all of that, I still get a lot more out of watching NXT these days when directly comparing it to WWE's flagship product Monday Night RAW. Here are my top 5 reason.

It's easy to buy into the storylines

NXT is better than RAWThe storylines in NXT might not always be super creative, e.g.

  • Bayley has tried time and time again to win the NXT Women's Champion
  • Unfortunately, she never succeeded
  • She's finally on a roll
  • She beat the best women in the division (Charlotte, etc.)
  • She gets a chance to win the title from Sasha Banks at the Takeover PPV
  • She finally does it!

… but at least you understand them and you can easily buy into them.

I will prefer a “basic storyline” like this one anytime to something “creative” like

  • Let's build up Lana as the hottest valet in recent history by
  • Teaming her up with Rusev so someone can fill the void that is his microphone work and
  • Make him look like the most threatening heel in the entire company by having him go toe to toe with the top face in the company
  • Only to then turn Lana face, which is completely out of character for the person everybody loved (to hate) and
  • Follow this up with a completely un-believable love rectangle between Rusev, Lana, Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae

If they had built up Dolph Ziggler as the biggest player in the company who's going out with a different girl every other week, this would make sense. But we weren't introduced to that idea really (people who read a little more about wrestling claim that he is somewhat notorious for doing exactly that…). We also still don't know exactly why Lana suddenly has a strong love for the US and this list goes on and on.

This is just one example. While I'm writing this, I'm watching Big Show vs. Mark Henry as part of the Monday Night RAW episode from the 28th of September. Big Show, a guy that has had so many turns over the years that my head is spinning just thinking about it. Mark Henry, a guy who was friends with Big Show at around 5 points in time, only to then have a rather entertaining feud with him in between 2 of those points in time (and a lot more bad ones in between the others…). I can't help but sit here and wonder why they are fighting / what their motivations are. You could always blame that they are just on the midcard, but this brings me to my next point…

The Undercard and Midcard matter

Pretty much every guy on the NXT roster does have a storyline. 8 weeks ago, I had no idea who Bull Dempsey was. He seemed like a generic dude that's wrestling on the undercard. He had a “funny” match against Tyler Breeze (who is great, btw.) where he lost because he couldn't finish 3 laps around the ring thanks to his horrible cardio.

Over the following weeks, Bull was coming ever closer to getting fired right before he started “Bull Fit”, his very own “fitness program” that helped him (and supposedly millions of others) to “get in shape”.

The Commentators are doing their job

Continuing with the Bull Dempsey storyline, the commentators helped getting the character over. When Corey Graves first talked about Bull's “ab” (singular, as in “1 ab” rather than “abs”), I laughed out loud. Granted, Byron Saxton is not scoring a lot of points with me, mostly because he doesn't seem to say anything (of importance) ever, but Rich Brennan is doing an OK job as the play by play guy and Corey Graves is the best heel commentator since the King turned face commentator after his heart attack back in 2012.

On RAW, more often than not, the commentators will take the focus away from the match and bore you with stories that seemingly have zero connection to the match that is taking place. It has definitely improved since they got rid of Booker T., but Byron Saxton isn't helping the case here either. JBL is doing alright in my opinion or at least he has improved dramatically and Cole is alright, even though he doesn't appear like he's really trying.

Side note: I'm currently working on the “Cole bingo”, a funny game to be played at a PPV of your choosing where every participant has to draw a number of generic phrases that we will always hear from Cole and the player who first crosses off all of his boxes will win the entire game.

The Women's Division is actually entertaining

Over the past few weeks on RAW, they have been talking about the “Diva's Revolution”. Meanwhile, on NXT, they didn't just talk about it, they actually did it.

It's rather disappointing to watch as you see gals like Charlotte who used to do a tremendous job elevating the women's division of NXT having to deal with the horrible booking of RAW. On the one hand, the obviously gifted self-proclaimed “four horsewomen” (Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley) have to wrestle with girls that are roughly half as good as them, on the other, they again don't have a storyline you can buy into.

There is a chance that the current heel turn of Paige will change my opinion on this matter; it's the best thing (storyline wise) that I have seen in women's wrestling in years (or maybe ever), but there's always the chance that they will screw this up royally like they did with so many other promising storylines…

If you ask me, they should have Sasha turn on her teammates of “Team BAD” as they are hindering her rise to the top, make her team up with Paige and then have them go up against Charlotte and Becky (and basically eliminate the entire Team Bella from the picture and have them move down to the midcard or something).

It is not just that the storylines are better, it is also that the wrestling is much better. Mostly, because the women get the time they deserve to show off their skills. There are no 3 minute squash matches that are basically just a disservice to the entire division, they have matches that matter. And like I stated above, the undercard and midcard matter, so even the women you don't see that often or that are still being developed will get an opportunity to make you care about them.

They are pushing the right talent

If someone like Samoa Joe is over with the fans, he gets a push in NXT. Right from the first day he shows up in the company.

At the same time, they are not afraid to have their top stars take a loss every now and then if it makes sense from a storyline perspective and it helps to establish another wrestler. Take the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as an example; they weren't afraid to have the reigning tag team champs getting eliminated, just like the former tag team champs, the Lucha Dragons, paved the way for Joe and Finn Balor (all of this is a great set-up for Joe and Finn ending up in the finals of the Tag Team Classic which will most likely take place at the next Takeover, where the women's match will be the main event) instead of moving on themselves.

Over at RAW, if someone like Cesaro is oozing talent AND he's already rather over with the fans, shit happens. They will have him lose 10 matches in a row, several of them against the same guy. They will not give you a reason why he is going up against the same guy over and over and over again. Under normal circumstances, there is no such thing as “too much Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro”, but if you don't know why they are fighting for the fourth time when it's 3 – 0 Owens, you eventually stop caring. Keep in mind that there was an excellent opportunity to have Owens take a loss to Cesaro at Summerslam, the day after Owens lost to Finn Balor at the NXT Takeover PPV in a grueling tables match (setting up a rematch that you can sell along the lines of “what would have happened if Owens was a 100%?!”), but instead the writers decided to just have Cesaro put Owens over for basically no reason…

Only to then have Owens go up against Ryback (with no set-up, because why bother?) and win the title. And end the Cesaro vs. Owens “feud” (if you can even call it that) without any sort of real conclusion.

The show manages to surprise you

Every episode of Monday Night RAW feels like it's the same. There's a 10 minute talking segment, more often than not with the Authority / Seth, then we see a rather meaningless match, then Cena is trying to elevate the mid card and after a lackluster Divas match, we'll watch a tag team match of guys that will go up against each other at the next PPV (or a rematch of the PPV the day before).

You'll rarely be able to predict the way an episode of NXT will go down. Which is even more surprising when you consider that they only have 3 titles (Women's, Tag Team and NXT Champion) whereas RAW has, in theory, 5 titles that could be up for grabs (WWE Heavyweight, Tag Team, US Champ, Intercontinental Champ and Diva's Champ).

Wrapping Up

Most of this truly came “from the top of my head”, without a lot of research, etc. I think if I were to put in another hour, I could easily come up with 10 or more reasons why NXT is better than RAW…

Ironically, WWE's future is depending a whole lot on Vince McMahon's involvement. Rumor has it that investors don't really trust Stephanie and Triple H to run the company. When you consider that NXT is the one show that Vince is basically not involved in at all and that it's a lot more entertaining than RAW, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, WWE will listen to the fans and RAW will also undergo a face-lift so it can take its rightful place. This should then result in higher ratings and, hopefully, a lot more trust from the investor's side.

P.S.: The Kane storyline that is currently taking place on RAW is rather entertaining. Fortunately, there is always hope.

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  1. #1 by Alex (Unimatrix One) on September 12, 2017 - 14:47

    Es wird Zeit, daß du mal wieder was veröffentlichst! 🙂

    • #2 by Oli on September 13, 2017 - 15:35

      Jo, ich weiß. Ich will eigentlich nen Roman über den Hausbau schreiben, aber mir fehlt ein wenig die Zeit… 🙁

      Wenn ich damit jedoch anfange, dann ist genug Lesestoff für ne halbe Stunde vorhanden, außer ich fasse mich kurz. Was ja nicht so bekanntermaßen zu meinen Stärken gehört.

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