13 WWE NXT talents (Bronson Reed, Bobby Fish, Leon Ruff, Tyler Rust, Jake Atlas, Mercedes Martinez, Asher Hale, Giant Zanjeer, Zechariah Smith, Kona Reeves, Ari Sterling, Desmond Troy, referee Stephon Smith) were released this past Friday night, and word is that major changes for the NXT brand are on the way.
It was reported today by Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men podcast that there is a lot of chatter on the NXT cuts among USA Network higher-ups. One top USA official was said to be disappointed by the way things are going with the NXT brand.
“The perception from many is that these upcoming changes will be negative. Perception means everything especially when you are working with partners who are not pro wrestling fans and don’t have deep knowledge of the talent. In reality are the changes coming to NXT a bad thing? Time till tell,” Zarian added.
Regarding major NXT changes in the works, PWInsider reported on Friday night that discussed changes include a new NXT logo, new lighting and a new look, a different format to the weekly USA Network TV show, and a focus on younger talent. It was then reported over the weekend by Wrestling Observer Radio that the releases were a part of a larger change in philosophy for NXT. WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon made the call on the cuts, but Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis and Senior Vice President Bruce Prichard were also behind them, not Shawn Michaels or Triple H.
It was also said that the new goal is to return to the older style of WWE developmental for NXT, with bigger and younger talent. It was noted that the direction for NXT is “no more midgets, no one starting in their 30s.” WWE wants developmental to include people that can be “box office attractions and main characters” down the line.
It will be interesting to see if there is a major NXT reset that begins this week, or with the Takeover 36 event scheduled for Sunday, August 22 during SummerSlam Weekend.
Stay tuned for more.