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 The Silver Lining #7: My NXT Rant
Column Posted by Thomas Gibbs on 7:01:37 PM Mar 24, 2010

Hello everyone, and welcome to the seventh edition of The Silver Lining. There is no going back now, folks. You are all stuck with me to the very end; at least until a tighter schedule gets the better of me. Anyway, there are new matters to discuss this week. With WrestleMania right around the corner, and TNAs Destination X now behind us, there are so many important events going on at once that it is almost mind boggling. As a result, I feel that now is a good time to discuss one of the most important events in not just the WWE, but in all of wrestling as a whole. I need to step up my game and talk about something that, deep down, we are all thinking about, but are just too scared to mention. My friends, I will play the messenger this time. I am talking about the one event that, when it occurs, will forever alter the way a wrestlers career takes shape. It goes beyond [TNAmania] beyond The Band, and even beyond WrestleMania itself. I am of course talking about-

The NXT Pro Poll.

YES! It is coming, fellow wrestling fans. Next week, the WWE will have its biggest NXT show to date. The rookies will be judged by the pros, and in poll format, we shall see who has what it takes to make it in not just the WWE, but in wrestling as a whole. There are four main criteria for how these rookies will be judged: wins and losses, the strength of the opponent, work ethic, and of course, the ever important [it] factor. I cannot begin to tell you how many wrestling superstars were made based solely on the [it] factor. Some may consider it to be a reality show rip-off, but honestly, how big of a rip-off could the process of eliminating contestants by having other people vote them off actually be?

Pretty big actually.

So why am I making such a big fuss over something we have all seen before? Because it involves wrestling of course! Sure the idea is rather silly, but everyone here is still going to watch it. You may say you do not watch it on television, but I bet that has not stopped you from catching it on Youtube. At some point we all find our reality show guilty pleasure no matter how horrific the show appears to be. Why else would Jersey Shore still be on the air? Ok, so maybe NXT is not as bad as Jersey Shore or The Real World, but it could very well be the wrestling equivalent. I mean take a look at the rookies and try to tell me you do not see any of them being on a MTV reality show. In fact I think David Otunga thinks he IS on a reality show. Heck, even the opening segment reminds me of the early years of reality television. You got the upbeat light rock music, the cheesy tagline, and everyone stands next to each other like one big happy family. And let us not forget the host of the show, Matt Striker. Personally, these things are not my cup of tea (with exception to Matt of course). I hated reality television long before it got popular! Nevertheless, it is wrestling, so much like when I forced myself to watch Tough Enough, I continue to watch each episode every week. And yes, I do miss Al Snow.

Wow! Another positive Al Snow reference! I dont think even Mick Foley could do that.

Where was I? Oh yeah, NXT. While I did put a rather negative spin on it just now, it is not like I hate the product. I actually like it if only for the joy of finding future WWE superstars. Thing is, I was already doing that by hunting down FCW shows online. Granted, it is much easier to just watch it on my television now, but I am getting the same results, just with a more [professional] twist. So this show cannot be just for the hardcore wrestling fans since we have all already seen, or at least heard of, these wrestlers at some point. Yet it cannot be for the casual, younger WWE audience because the pros, with the exception of World Champion Chris Jericho, are not big names. Now just put down the hate mail and hear me out for a second. Yes, Matt Hardy, Christian, and CM Punk are awesome and we love them and yadda yadda yadda, but Vinces big plan is to try and gather the children, folks. I apologize for how creepy that sounds, but it is true. Try to compare Matt Hardy to John Cena, Christian to Rey Mysterio, or CM Punk to The Undertaker. Compared to those guys, they are not big names, but they do not have to be. When compared to the rookies, they are huge superstars. It is all about perspective. Jericho, God bless him, is a huge exception to this rule. He is the world champion, and really should not have to be a part of NXT, but he not only interacts with the rookies, he makes them look good. He made both Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett stand out, and that is just another reason why he truly IS the best in the world at what he does.

Boy, kissing ass sure takes a lot out of a guy. Again, I apologize for how creepy that sounds. So in short, it is not hardcore, and it is not casual. So what is it? A mutated hybrid of uncertainty and filler made solely to promote the other two shows and the pay per views? Maybe. From a business standpoint it makes sense. If you have an extra hour of television outside your standard channels, why not promote the shows that bring higher ratings? Why not promote the biggest pay per view in all of sports entertainment? Money, people! It all goes back to making money. Do any of you really think this show will make any difference in the grand scheme of things? Do you think that Vince is keeping such a close eye on those tallies and statistics and polls in the hopes of finding the next WWE legend? Then I respectfully ask that you look in the dictionary for the word gullible because it is missing.

Much like Tough Enough, the winner does not matter. The voting does not matter, and the very idea of losing being the end of the road is downright ridiculous. Where is Maven? Where is Nidia? Where are Jackie Gayda, Linda Miles, Matt Cappotelli, and Daniel Puder? They all won Tough Enough, so where did they go? Your guess is as good as mine.

And what about the losers? Yeah, whatever happened to that guy…Mike Mizanin? And remember that girl Melina. No idea where she went. Josh Lomberger is probably not doing anything special. And that guy named Matt Morgan was in one, but he must be selling insurance by now. In fact the only winner to go on to bigger and better things was John Hennigan aka John Morrison. So out of four seasons and seven winners, only one actually became a currently active superstar. And how many losers went on to bigger and better things in wrestling? Six! That includes Ryan Reeves, aka Skip Sheffield, who is currently on NXT! It is the freaking circle of life! And it just shows how meaningless the eliminations on Tough Enough really were. So will this repeat on NXT? You darn right it will. Bryan Daniels has no wins and five losses, but I would wager all my money on him passing though NXT and moving on to Smackdown to become as big a superstar as John Morrison. In a perfect world, even bigger. So when next week rolls around, and the process of elimination begins, do not even flinch of your favorite rookie is eliminated. The odds are good that he will move on to better thing in either another wrestling company, or in WWE a year from now. As for the show itself? Well, if the ratings mean anything to anyone (and we know it does to Vince), its future does not look good. So far the shows are doing worse than ECW, and judging by this weeks promotastic episode, I do not think it changed for the better. At the end of the day, the ratings will determine the success of a show. Vince could throw away the project altogether once a winner is declared and go back to making a “Sunday Night Heat” type show. Tuesday Night Heat? Well…maybe not. Still, you know Vince has a backup plan already made.

So what have I discussed among all this rambling? Let us see.

-NXT is not a serious show. If you think it is, you are a very silly person.

-Reality television has poisoned the minds of our youths, and it is now affecting our wrestling shows.

-Chris Jericho is simply wonderful.

-On average, the losers seem to have more success than the winners.

-Ratings mean everything, and for NXT, that is a problem.

My Final Statement: WWE NXT is an interesting idea on paper, but in execution it will not be remember as anything else but a filler show made to push the more important shows. While it is nice to see the rookies develop with their pros, the overall goal of winning is meaningless when all the strings are pulled by the same puppet master. But the result of being shown on television means that everyone still has a chance at making it in the WWE, or anywhere else for that matter.

That is about it for me. As always, if you have an idea for a Silver Lining, or if you just want me to be another victim, email me at tagibbs4@yahoo.com

And remember, every ring is bound to have a silver lining.

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