Kevin Steen. Fergal Devitt. Kenta. Samoa Joe. Mention these names to a wrestling fan last year at this time and say that a year on these guys would be an integral part of the WWE roster; the fan would probably call you crazy. But a year on, that’s exactly what has happened. So what’s changed in the mindset of the WWE? Why have the best indy wrestlers suddenly become the talking point of even mainfans around the world? Certainly begs the question.
For most of the PG era, WWE has been known to give below par content to the die hard wrestling fans of the world. Maybe that’s why the ratings haven’t been as great as they were during the Attitude Era. Having said that, making the switch from a John Cena to a Roman Reigns couldn’t have been easy. Similarly Randy Orton to Seth Rollins would have been a tough choice too.
The sudden transition comes at a great time as cost cuts last year thanks to the early failure of the WWE network made for a disappointing start to 2014 and forced the company to sack a number of their loyal officials and superstars. What seemed like the spell of doom for the company actually paved the way for a new revolution of sorts with a number of independent wrestling stars making their way to the WWE.
For the past few years, any smart wrestling fan could tell that the best content being put forward by the company was coming from their developmental front i.e. NXT. A plethora of incredible talent backed with unique characters, NXT begged to be noticed and with the coming of the network, it really put them on the map. Bringing the best talent up to the main roster is a key feature of the WWE and with an impressive talent pool, the talent have impressed even more on the main roster with the addition of pyro and bling. If there’s any issue one can have with those pushed up to the main roster, it’s perhaps the lack of women wrestlers being called up as the female talent of NXT has wowed one and all.
So what happens when you lose your best talent to the giants of the boardroom? Naturally you need to rebuild. Stars like Adrian Neville, The Ascension, Kalisto etc. set the bar so high that it forced the company to bring in some more known faces to the scene. Triple H has certainly been one to go all out when it comes to putting up a show. Hence it comes as no surprise when he decided to get the best of the best over to Orlando and give them lucrative WWE contracts. The catalyst for the signings of Steen, Devitt and Kenta, the cerebral assassin has almost single-handedly made the WWE more exciting. New and improved, the three have performed brilliantly in Florida and with Owens (Steen) now on the main roster, it has sure proved to be a successful experiment.
NXT’s success has made it a rival brand of sorts to Raw and Smackdown and I see this becoming the start of a storyline pretty soon. NXT aside, the WWE itself has seen a huge shift with big stars now putting over the upcoming stars and the belief in these new faces is certainly admirable. Rollins is the WWE champ. Let that sink in for a minute. An indy regular who never thought he’d make it to this position. His feud for the title with Ambrose proves that the company is now looking at new superstars to grab the brass ring. Lesnar, Cena and Orton seem more than happy to take a step back, which means that it’s a win-win for WWE. More importantly, the fans are happy which makes for more money and more butts in seats. Moreover, the coming of exciting new faces like Kevin Owens and Neville on the main roster and Samoa Joe on NXT proves that the company has hit the nail on the head when it comes to bringing in the right talent.
There’s a new era coming, and it would be fair to say that the Reality Era Triple H spoke of could be taking shape right now. Whatever they want to call it, fans are surely benefiting from it and at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about.