I'm going to be blunt right now, fan opinion of WWE as a whole is a bit of a mixed bag. The company is continuing to release wrestlers seemingly at random, creative choices are being made with an apparent lack of thought toward the overall story, and NXT call-ups are happening at a rate that leaves me wondering if there if WWE is just determined to throw everything at the wall just to see what sticks with no regard for the ripple effect it has throughout the company.
NXT, however, has continued to trek along as always. The black and gold brand is used to having talent come and go, but that doesn't mean that situations like this can't throw them off of their rhythm. So let's take a look at every part of the card on NXT and see if we can break down the best and worst things about WWE's Tuesday night offering.
Best: The best thing on the current lower card of NXT is the 2021 Breakout Tournament. These matches have been a lot of fun to watch and a good tournament is an evergreen concept. All of the guys in this tournament have the potential to become huge stars and whoever wins is potentially staring down an opportunity at the North American Championship very soon.
Worst: Franky Monet and The Robert Stone Brand might not really count as the lower card, but it isn't quite the mid-card either. There isn't anything that's being done poorly here, it's just that Franky Monet made her debut confronting Raquel Gonzalez and seemed poised to make a huge impact on the brand, but since then she has just been spinning her wheels. I really hope to see Monet make her way up the card and realize her full potential on NXT.
Best: This one is a tie between two things. The first and maybe the most obvious is Hit Row. This faction is incredible and we haven't even seen all of them in the ring just yet. NXT has really let this crew pave their own way and it shows. This gimmick could've ended up really corny, but Swerve and co have an authenticity that will carry them all to the top of the mountain.
Tied with Hit Row is another great faction in The Way. The Gargano's have shown that they do not need titles or title feuds to remain relevant and their interpersonal relationships have provided more than enough drama to keep them entertaining. I suspect the end of the faction is on the horizon, but The Way is prepped to finish strong and send all of their respective members onto their next big moments.
Worst: The NXT Women's Tag Team title scene is not all that bad, but if we are being honest it is lacking the spark it had earlier this year. It isn't Io Shirai and Zoey Starks fault that there isn't much competition, but the recent call up of Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox as well as the break up of Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai has really cut the division off at the knees.
Best: Dakota Kai vs Raquel Gonzalez is the top feud for one of the top women's divisions in the world and I am so hyped to see this one play out. Raquel has been a fantastic monster of a champion and seeing her go from Kai's bodyguard to a major player in her own right has been fantastic. I have been to see Dakota finally turn on her friend and get focused on the title again. Regardless of who comes out on top, we should expect to see the Women's Championship remain the most exciting title scene in NXT.
Honorable mention: In addition to Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, I am still very excited to see what Kyle O'Reilly and Adam Cole still have left in them. Cole was the subject of a lot of speculation early this week due to the fact that his contract is supposedly up after SummerSlam, but in a perfect world, I would push this feud off and have them finish it off in a WarGames match later this year. Obviously, that is up to the limitations of Cole's current employment status, but regardless this feud is fantastic as well.
Worst: Karrion Kross is on Raw and he is losing. I am currently writing as Kross is facing Keith Lee for the second time, and Lee has pulled out a win over the NXT Champion. Sure, Keith Lee needed a win, but I still have no clue what Kross is even doing on Raw. My biggest issue with this storyline isn't just that Kross doesn't have Scarlett with him or that he is losing after having a great undefeated streak on NXT, but rather it is taking all of the weight out of his feud with Samoa Joe on NXT. Joe's return to in-ring action should feel like a big deal, but with Kross's recent losses on Raw, it just feels like they are using TakeOver to move the title off of Kross. I am fine with the NXT Champion pulling double duty, but continuity and regard for booking across the brands needs to be upheld.
So there we have it, NXT is doing a lot of great stuff! NXT also has a lot of opportunities to improve. What do you think? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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