We’ve had a few eras of NXT so far in its six years of being an actual wrestling show and all of them have been terrific, but as we enter a new era of NXT with new stars being shown on NXT TV, how good will this era of NXT be in comparison to the previous eras?
I think it’s best to start off with how good were the previous eras, so firstly let’s start off from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2015. This is the beginning of NXT and we got some classics in this era as well, such as Neville vs Zayn, Zayn vs Owens and Owens vs Balor. This was also where we had the rise and appreciation in Women’s wrestling in WWE. We had the Fatal 4 Way between the four horsewomen of WWE. In addition, we were blessed to see Bayley vs Sasha Banks main event NXT Takeover Respect, in one of the greatest Iron Man/Woman matches of all time. I’d personally rate this era of NXT 4/5
We then move on to era two. This era went from 2016 to the end of 2017. This is when we had the Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, Bobby Roode and Asuka era of NXT. This span was incredible and this is when I really started to consistently watch NXT on a weekly basis. We had incredible matches between Joe and Balor, Joe and Nakamura and Zayn vs Nakamura. Moreover, Asuka stayed undefeated throughout her whole NXT career, putting on spectacular matches with Bayley and Ember Moon. However, this era did begin to die at the main event scene. We had a few main events which weren’t up to the standard of NXT main events and some reigns that I think should’ve been longer such as Drew McIntyre’s at the end of 2017. Yet, if we look lower down the cards, we had DIY vs AOP, Pete Dunne vs Tyler Bate, Aleister Black vs Almas just to name a few of the multiple incredible matches. I’d rate this era of NXT 4/5 as well. These guys really laid the ground roots to the next era, which lasted from the start of 2018 to now, which for me has been the best period for NXT.
I could write for hours on the eye-catching matches we’ve had between former best friends Tommasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. The Undisputed Era being the best faction in the company. Shayna Baszler having a brilliant transition from MMA to pro wrestling and I don’t think I need to talk about how good every single War Games match has been! This era has been incredible from head to toe and I thank Triple H for providing us with some of the best talents in the world and not restricting them from showing that talent. This era is definitely a 5/5.
Now, onto the next-gen. Will it be as good as the previous? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I think Keith Lee will be great at the top but there’s not much main event talent like him in this new era that I can see as worthy title holders. Of course, there’s Karrion Kross, who looks brilliant after squashing Tommasso Ciampa at Takeover in Your House, but apart from that, I can’t see many new stars really being main event worthy yet. I like Dijakovic but he just lost to Lee on NXT last night. Damian Priest could be main event worthy but I think his time is still to come. Cameron Grimes is brilliant but is he a main eventer, no. And I have the same thoughts about Timothy Thatcher as well.
In terms of the women’s division, we’re in good hands with Io Shirai as champion and we have some great talent around her with the rest of the division with Dakota Kai, who looks like she’s finally going to get a good run at the title after kicking Shirai’s head off last night, Tegan Nox, we still have former champ, Rhea Ripley as well in the mix. We also have the Robert Stone with Aliyah, which I actually find really interesting and a good way to get the likes of Shotzi Blackheart on TV. With the amount of female talent we on NXT we could definitely have another female-only PPV, maybe an Evolution 2 later down the line.
To conclude, I think this next era of NXT will be good, but not on the level of what we’ve just had. I think it’ll be on the levels of the first and second era, which is good, but personally, I’ve become greedy and want matches to the level we’ve had for the last two years.
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