On April 28, news broke on WWE.com that TNA original, Eric Young, had signed a deal with their developmental system, NXT.
The latest in a long line of former TNA stars to sign for WWE, Young confirmed what many fans hoped and expected following his departure from TNA in March of this year.
Young leaves behind 12 years in TNA and they were 12 years that were anything but wasted. He won a TNA World Heavyweight Championship, an X-Division Championship, two TNA Tag Team Championships, three King of the Mountain Championships and even held the TNA Knockouts (women’s division) Tag Team title too.
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Young’s championships and experience make him a bona fide star by anyone’s definition, adding plenty more star power to the already packed NXT. NXT is full of top level talent; Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries as well as those pulling double duty on the main roster, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin and (possibly) Finn Balor, not to mention Hideo Itami, who is still out injured. NXT has embarrassing levels of star power; embarrassing for the main roster, which is severely lacking in main event players.
With so many top guys in the developmental stages, it’s become the case where the top talent from outside WWE now views NXT as the place to be, not the main roster. Is this a good thing? Well, it could be argued that everybody has to pay their dues, regardless of outside accomplishments, so starting all these big names off in the developmental system is a fair way of handling things.
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Also, it gives them a chance to adapt to the WWE style of wrestling, which can be vastly different from other styles. Also, it can be a good way of introducing the WWE audience, some of whom are unaware of other promotions, to these outsiders on a smaller stage, before bringing them up to the main roster and unveiling them to the world.
Equally, there are some negatives to this new trend. Firstly, because NXT is pre-taped, the “surprise” arrival of an outside star is often revealed months in advance, spoiling the occasion somewhat. Whilst the fans in attendance get a big shock and a great moment, those watching on TV already knew about the arrival, which diminishes its value. Secondly, if NXT is filled with all these veterans, then doesn’t it diminish the point of the developmental system?
NXT was set up to rear the next generation of WWE talent, showcasing them to the world in the showcase, now it’s become a place where men with decades of experience go after they leave their indie promotions, which isn’t a bad thing by any stretch, but it does change the purpose for which NXT was created.
Finally, as I said before, all these big names down at Full Sail, what does the main roster have to offer? Yes you have a few big names, but they’re mostly home-grown talent and a large portion of fans will be keener to see their favourite indie wrestlers compete than any WWE-bred stock. With more outside legends coming into NXT, this popularity will only grow and attract more outsiders, continuing the cycle.
All the outside veterans coming in does diminish the prestige of the main roster slightly, but, ultimately, as long as these guys end up on the main roster eventually, which they will do, then the point is mute and, in a way, NXT is still serving its purpose of introducing the next generation of talent to the WWE Universe before their main roster debuts. Despite playing Devil’s Advocate and nit-picking just a moment ago, I cannot fault NXT and the influx of outside stars is fantastic news for WWE.
Eric Young should hopefully have a bright future ahead of him in NXT and hopefully, if WWE can continue to show that NXT is the place to be, then maybe we’ll see more ex-TNA legends lace up their boots in a WWE ring for the very first time.