Friday, September 10, 2010

Smarkass Comments: NXT 09.07.10

A few days late, but that's fine with me. Season three of NXT kicked off this week under somewhat strange cirumstances. Brief history lesson: NXT, which airs in the US on SyFy, is the replacement for ECW, the former 'third brand' of the WWE, which shrank in ratings as it went on, because no one gave a fuck. NXT is similar to ECW in that the point is to give younger talents a chance to perform on TV and improve their skills, against one another and veterans. ECW did this by acting like a regular wrestling show; NXT does it by being a competition. Start with eight rookies, pair them each up with a 'pro' and let them go, doing inane challenges, working in short matches, getting voted off one-by-one until one rookie is left as the winner, complete with a move to either Raw or Smackdown and a title shot on a PPV. The results have been mixed and the ratings not the improvement that SyFy wanted. So, SyFy will beginning airing Smackdown in October as the WWE flees the dying MyNetworkTV -- and doesn't want NXT anymore. Season two ended last week and that leaves a gap of five weeks, so the WWE did the smart, logical thing: they paired down the number of contestants to six and made it a show featuring women rookies. Yes, they appear to be trying to kill it off.

Now, the idea of NXT being women-only appealed to me quite a bit. I thought, prior to ECW ending but when its demise was heavily rumoured, that changing ECW to an all-Divas (as women wrestlers are called in the WWE) show would be interesting. Divas are, by and large, not good wrestlers. Their matches are thought of as a chance to go get some food, use the bathroom, whatever so long as it doesn't involve watching them wrestle. Part of this is the result of hiring women for their looks rather than their skills, but another part is that none of them are ever given a good chance to improve or get over with the audience. Each weekly TV show usually has one Diva segment at most, while numerous PPVs will go by with no Divas matches. That's not an environment where someone will improve and get over with the audience. But, an hour-long weekly show devoted exclusively to the Divas where they could all have stories and feuds, and get a chance to wrestle more? That sounded good to me. Probably a horrible business decision, but definitely interesting.

So, NXT season three being Divas only? Yeah, I'd give that a try. The results were... pretty fucking terrible. Former play-by-play man and current ruler Joey Styles said that it was definitely more 'E' than 'W' (entertainment than wrestling, both parts of 'WWE') and I can see where he'd take that approach, except for one thing: it wasn't entertaining. It was kind of brutal to watch these six women, only a couple of which showed any skills that would suggest putting them on TV as women wrestlers. Their promo abilities? Shit. Stuck in a dance competition? The fuck? The longest match had the two rookies wrestle some more after it was over and try to go for a pin! The other match was thankfully short -- blink and you missed it.

Not sure if I'll tune in next week, but... then again, if it's only on TV for the next few weeks, it may be worth watching while I can. Though, what happens after its run ends on SyFy is still not certain. It may become a web-exclusive show or be incorporated into Raw and/or Smackdown. We'll see. The first episode, though, was really bad. When Michelle is scoffing and joining in my mockery, you know it's shit, because she's more inclined to either not care if it doesn't interest her or, well, just be a nicer person than I am. When she joins in, you're in trouble.

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