Last night, we saw the end of ECW, but let's face it, the end of "Extreme Championship Wrestling" was long before last night. For a while now, the show has been a stepping stone for the next generation of Superstars to prepare them, and us, the fans, for their arrival to the main stage, with a smattering of familiar stars to make it look legit. Next week, WWE is making it official and bringing us NXT, which they admit is a stepping stone between FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and Raw/Smackdown.
However, they are switching it up a bit (because, rumor has it, SyFy has not been happy with the ratings lately and requested something be done) and making the show a sort of reality show, and I say sort of, because something tells me it won't be as pure as "Tough Enough."
As WWE explains in their press release, "NXT is a hybrid live event/reality show featuring eight well-known, popular WWE Superstars ('Pros') mentoring eight WWE 'Rookies.' These Rookies, who are learning the ropes, are athletes who epitomize pop culture and personify strong attributes – they are opinionated and aggressive – which means inherent conflict between Rookies and other Rookies, conflict between Rookies and Pros, as well as, conflict between Pros and Pros."
“As we introduce this brand new franchise exclusively on Syfy, WWE NXT will have a completely different look and feel from our other WWE television programming,” WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said.
The Rookies/Pros thing is a little different from the rumors that were going around about what the show would be, and I think even a little different from what Christian said on Raw a couple of weeks ago, but perhaps that's because they were still working out the details on how the show would work.
The Rookies are all FCW guys, like those (Jack Swagger and Sheamus, for example) who came through ECW before them. Eventually, the Rookies will "graduate" to either Raw or Smackdown (no, they aren't competing for a contract as was the situation in Tough Enough), and a new crop of Rookies will make up the roster of NXT. From what I understand, the Pros will all continue to compete on either Raw or Smackdown.
The Rookies are:Wade Barrett
, an English wrestler who signed a contract with the WWE in in 2007 and worked in OVW before FCW. In FCW, he held the Florida Tag Team Championship with Drew McIntyre. His mentor on NXT will be Chris Jericho.Justin Gabriel
will be better known to FCW fans as Justin Angel, the South African wrestler who is the Florida Heavyweight Champion. His mentor will be Matt Hardy.Skip Sheffield
is not new to reality wrestling-- he was one of the finalists on Tough Enough 4, the one held during Smackdown in 2004 which also included the Miz. Sheffield's mentor will be MVP.Michael Tarver
is from Akron, Ohio. Tarver signed a contract with the WWE in early 2008. He will be mentored by Carlito.Daniel Bryan
(aka Bryan Danielson) is a former Ring of Honor champion who has only been with the WWE for a few months. Personally, I think this guy may be the one to watch. He will be mentored by The Miz, but I have a feeling he won't need much mentoring... (btw, isn't it a little strange Miz is a mentor to a group of guys that includes someone he competed with to get a job in the WWE in the first place?)Heath Slater
is an former FCW Champion and Tag Team Champion (with Joe Hennig, yes, Mr. Perfect's kid). He will be mentored by Christian.Darren Young
, a Jersey native, has only been working with the WWE since May, but has been making the rounds in the business since 2002. He will be mentored by CM Punk.David Otunga
is another not new to reality television. He was one of the contestants on "I Love New York 2." Somehow, he went from loving New York to loving Jennifer Hudson. He will be mentored by R. Truth.
The WWE certainly has worked to make this new installment of Heat/Tough Enough sound interesting. I liked the original Tough Enough, and I hope NXT will have enough ingredients from the original to make it work for the long term.Share
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