NXT is a great product. It has expanded faster than could have been imagined at its conception, and is getting bigger and better with every outing.
The pool of talent within the WWE developmental system is huge, and new names are added seemingly every week, many of them already well known on the independent circuit.
It's a fantastic time for fans, and the popularity of the NXT brand has increased to the point that NXT: TakeOver Dallas was widely hailed as the highlight of the WrestleMania weekend.
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Because of this, I believe NXT has grown out of its current format. One hour of programming per week is just not enough to showcase and develop the amount of talent the NXT roster now contains.
At the moment, shows are taped four at a time, and there are live shows around the country two or three times per week. Then there's the huge variety of training and coaching at the performance centre. There's no question that the performers work extremely hard, and it shows.
The issue is, while NXT is still the developmental system for WWE, the roster is not comprised solely of newbies taking their first steps in pro wrestling.
Many current NXT stars have had long and successful pro wrestling careers already - Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Austin Aries, and Shinsuke Nakamura are just a few obvious examples. There are clearly enough talented and experienced performers within NXT to carry a longer show with the more inexperienced stars.
To use last week's show (May 4) as an example; it was definitely packed with action. In the allotted hour there were five matches, two backstage interviews and an opening segment introducing Eric Young as a major new acquisition.
Too much talent, not enough time
That's a lot to cram into a single hour of programming and some of it felt more than a little rushed. Two of the matches had the feel of classic 'squash matches', but could easily have been much more.
The high energy tag match between The Revival and The Hype Bros was great, but would have benefitted from an extra few minutes to develop. The other two matches, Austin Aries v Tye Dillinger, and the main event of Samoa Joe v Eric Young, although longer, still barely seemed to get started before they were over.
The other issue is the notable absences enforced by such a short show. Due to the four at a time filming schedule, the live crowd at tapings are likely to get to see the majority of their favourites.
Unfortunately, the TV viewers may have to wait considerably longer. Notable absences last week included Finn Balor, Bayley, Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura and tag-team champions American Alpha.
Obviously, not every wrestler will have a match in every show, but extending the show to two hours would certainly give more talent an opportunity to shine each time, and shorten the wait between appearances for TV viewers.
A two-hour show would also create enough time for more testing out the character building and promo work put in by the NXT stars in training but showcased very little in the current format. The story building of feuds is diluted considerably by long gaps between new interactions and a two-hour format would address this.
In short, the purpose of NXT as a developmental system is to grow and nurture talent for the WWE main roster. The purpose of NXT as a WWE brand is to grow and develop itself to be the product fans want to watch week after week. It is succeeding on both counts, but a longer show is now the logical next step in the NXT brand evolution.