Arnold Furious: We’re in New York City at the Barclays Center and it’s a SELL OUT, meaning the WWE’s little feeder promotion sold 16,000 (15,589 officially) tickets to a show. The NXT title headlined a show in Tokyo recently but it was partially sold on Brock Lesnar wrestling; the show was even called “The Beast In the East”. This is NXT selling out a venue the size of the main roster. Triple H’s little side project is paying off in ridiculous fashion. Remember when the WWE tried to force a brand split where the fans could choose between two almost identical products? NXT is swiftly becoming a genuine alternative to the WWE, produced by the WWE. You can watch this show and see different styles, new characters and different booking. There’s still a degree of rebranding but you’ve got Samoa Joe and Jushin Liger alongside Apollo Crews and Finn Balor. What a time to be a wrestling fan.
A word on the pre-show. Several, in fact. Firstly it’s amazing to hear the crowd chanting twenty minutes before the show even starts. You can’t buy crowd participation like that. You have to earn it. Secondly; the shill video for Sasha Banks vs. Bayley is wonderful. The way they faded Bayley out of the picture of the Four Horsewomen gave me chills. I’m the biggest Sasha Banks mark in the world but if Bayley wins I may legitimately weep.
Interesting that they tease a few things too. Like suggesting Lita may take Alexa Bliss down a notch and showing Cesaro and Neville arriving with Finn. Even when they have a killer card, NXT teases delivering even more. Which is the difference between themselves and the main WWE roster. They’re not satisfied with delivering a ‘good’ card. They won’t take excuses either and despite suffering losses with Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami, both seriously injured, they’re prepared to push on. Every time an NXT card rolls around I’m excited about it not just because it’s good on paper but because they always deliver.
Hosts are Rich Brennan, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves.