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The Decline of NXT - When? How? Why?

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42 minutes ago, Mad Dog said:

I mean why has Sami Zayn been a heel for most of his main roster tenure? Why did it take years to turn Sasha heel? There's a lot of questions to be asked.

To be fair, Sami hadn't really been put in a heel position even in the indies because he was El Generico all along (hell, IWS tried once to turn Generico heel in Montreal and that didn't turn out very well) but if you saw his work outside of El Generico locally (as Big Larry for instance), you definitely knew he could do it but how many people other than us who actively followed the Quebec independent scene at that time actually knew it? For Sasha Banks, that's a whole other story. The proof had been there since her breakout on NXT in 2015.

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11 minutes ago, SirEdger said:

To be fair, Sami hadn't really been put in a heel position even in the indies because he was El Generico all along (hell, IWS tried once to turn Generico heel in Montreal and that didn't turn out very well) but if you saw his work outside of El Generico locally (as Big Larry for instance), you definitely knew he could do it but how many people other than us who actively followed the Quebec independent scene at that time actually knew it? For Sasha Banks, that's a whole other story. The proof had been there since her breakout on NXT in 2015.

I think Sami is a good heel but I think he's better in the face role. But they seem to make a point of having people play opposite of what they are best at the last couple of years.

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Sami's always been a good promo so I had no doubt he'd kill his heel role, but he's just such a great face, and it boggles the mind that they didn't capitalise on how popular he was becoming in 2016.

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It's a case of WWE thinking that what worked with one wrestler (Daniel Bryan) will work with anyone even remotely similar. Every subsequent wrestler they've tried the Bryan approach with has been killed dead, and it's questionable whether what they did with Bryan was really the most effective approach. It's tempting to chalk it up to the creative team being filled with soap opera writers with no knowledge of or interest in the sport's history, but the buck ultimately stops with Vince. And he thinks he was completely vindicated in his approach with Bryan. Dave noted that he thought he took a great worker with a bland personality and taught him how to be a star.

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To be honest, Sami's journey in NXT was really good and it did seem to follow the Daniel Bryan route. TakeOver Fatal Four Way still is one of the best main event they've had, and R Evolution was even better.

But yeah, as a whole the company, from NXT to the main roster, forgot how to book a face in any other way. It's honestly a shock that Drew is still holding that title, regardless of the rona.

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The whole "Daniel Bryan got over while losing" isn't even really true. His big push began by ending the undefeated streak of The Shield in trios by tapping out Seth Rollins, then tapped out Randy Orton (who was very protected at the time) in a street fight to end their feud and go into Summerslam as the #1 Contender, where he won the WWE Championship by being the first guy to defeat John Cena totally clean who debuted post-2002. Who else got a huge push like that?

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Yeah, WWE worked themselves into believing their own false narrative. It's insane. Bryan got over despite the booking, not because anything they did. At some point they had to give in and push the fuck out of him. But the narrative now is "WWE got Daniel Bryan over by having him lose all the time and it was planned all along", which is not only complete bullshit, but also totally screwed up their thought process about how to book a babyface. 

And when you really are honest about it, who are the two biggest stars ever who got themselves over despite shitty creative at first ? Steve "The Ringmaster" Austin and The Rock "Die Rocky Die" Maivia. Hell, you can argue they also stumble on John Cena becoming such a big star...

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Cena is a story in itself. He was on the verge of being future endeavored before Stephanie heard him freestyling, which led to his white rapper gimmick. The gimmick sucked, but it saved his career.

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The New Japan and AJW dojos and Verne Gagne's training camp turned out plenty of stars, and they all followed the same basic model: take the best natural athletes you can find, weed out the ones not willing to push themselves to the limit, and drill them in the basics until they become second nature before letting them do anything character-wise. That model only seems to work if you have enough world-class athletes applying to allow you to pick from the cream of the crop.

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7 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

The New Japan and AJW dojos and Verne Gagne's training camp turned out plenty of stars, and they all followed the same basic model: take the best natural athletes you can find, weed out the ones not willing to push themselves to the limit, and drill them in the basics until they become second nature before letting them do anything character-wise. That model only seems to work if you have enough world-class athletes applying to allow you to pick from the cream of the crop.

I think that's what makes WWE even more frustrating. They *have* top tier athletes. They have tons of people who are extremely skilled in one way or another, yet more often than not they feel like second-rate Natural Born Thrillers. 

They keep talking about sports entertainment and all that, but they have sports-centered wrestlers who have zero idea on how to do the entertainment part. For as much shit Corbin gets, he's one of the few people who's able to talk like a human being and actually stand out, despite not being on par with many.

I was watching NXT last week and they ran a segment with Roderick Strong, Johnny Gargano and Bronson Reed. While they are good athletes, I couldn't help but think: "What are these guys' characters? What personality do they have?" Then it clicked: they are basically hashtags. Bronson's whole character can be reduced to #thiccboi, which is kinda embarrassing.

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2 hours ago, KawadaSmile said:

For as much shit Corbin gets, he's one of the few people who's able to talk like a human being and actually stand out, despite not being on par with many.

He sure got the entertainment part of it right. I mean, when he appears on screen, the audience just begs for entertainment and switch the channel, seeking for something that is actually entertaining in the context of an entertainment program. 

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8 hours ago, Kadaveri said:

The whole "Daniel Bryan got over while losing" isn't even really true. His big push began by ending the undefeated streak of The Shield in trios by tapping out Seth Rollins, then tapped out Randy Orton (who was very protected at the time) in a street fight to end their feud and go into Summerslam as the #1 Contender, where he won the WWE Championship by being the first guy to defeat John Cena totally clean who debuted post-2002. Who else got a huge push like that?

Totally. I remember the way they pushed Bryan/HHH at Mania seemed so bizarre since HHH was positioned as the favourite even though Bryan had beaten everyone in his path for an entire year. It’s almost like wrestlers winning matches all the time is a good way for people to get behind them.

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Bryan's push was far from perfect though. Post Summerslam 2013 he got beat down nearly every week by the Authority on tv, got screwed over in multiple ppv title matches and then spent a few months putting over the Wyatts. By early 2014 it was clear they had no plans for him on top of the card for Mania season

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I would also argue Bryan is far less of a star than he should be as well. They largely mishandled his return and any aura of being a big star was gone sometime last year.

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1 hour ago, NintendoLogic said:

Remember that before Punk walked out, Bryan was set to face Sheamus in the midcard of WM30 with the main event being Batista's glorious coronation.

What the fuck. So they essentially had to be bullied into one of their best-received Manias in recent history.

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8 hours ago, NintendoLogic said:

The New Japan and AJW dojos and Verne Gagne's training camp turned out plenty of stars, and they all followed the same basic model: take the best natural athletes you can find, weed out the ones not willing to push themselves to the limit, and drill them in the basics until they become second nature before letting them do anything character-wise. That model only seems to work if you have enough world-class athletes applying to allow you to pick from the cream of the crop.

Dojos etc. don't produce stars. They produce trained wrestlers. Becoming a star in wrestling is more complicated than going through the right training. There are countless wrestlers who went through those dojos and didn't become stars. And I don't think they receive the cream of the crop either, but that's a different story. I would argue that one of the WWE's biggest faults is that they try to remove the element of luck in creating stars. The problems began when they started referring to everything as the WWE Universe, repackaging every indy wrestler as a WWE Superstar and teaching him how to walk, talk and wrestle like a WWE Superstar. It's inorganic compared to the way most wrestlers become stars. 

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1 hour ago, ohtani's jacket said:

The problems began when they started referring to everything as the WWE Universe, repackaging every indy wrestler as a WWE Superstar and teaching him how to walk, talk and wrestle like a WWE Superstar. It's inorganic compared to the way most wrestlers become stars. 

Yes, I would absolutely agree with this. This is going along the contempt they began to show toward their own audience when they would not play along their plans.

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On 8/1/2020 at 7:10 PM, ohtani's jacket said:

Dojos etc. don't produce stars. They produce trained wrestlers. Becoming a star in wrestling is more complicated than going through the right training. There are countless wrestlers who went through those dojos and didn't become stars. And I don't think they receive the cream of the crop either, but that's a different story. I would argue that one of the WWE's biggest faults is that they try to remove the element of luck in creating stars. The problems began when they started referring to everything as the WWE Universe, repackaging every indy wrestler as a WWE Superstar and teaching him how to walk, talk and wrestle like a WWE Superstar. It's inorganic compared to the way most wrestlers become stars. 

This is very true.  It's also happening in other industries.  It seems to come about once a company becomes successful with a certain formula.  They then want to stick to that formula whether it works for an individual or not.  ESPN is a good example.  In it's (arguable) heyday, they had a roster of distinct personalities.  Once they became the huge company they are now, they decided on a "standard" for their anchors, and hired new people to fit into those standards.  I worked for a struggling local tv station for years.  Once we started to become successful, it's like the innovation stopped.  Then it became a case of "we do it like this".  New reporters and photographers were forced into the mold that the station management had decided on.  This was regardless of if their talents fit that mold.  I've left the station, but it's still working that way, and they're still doing well.

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Becoming a star in wrestling is lot like becoming a rock star. It takes a combination of talent, charisma, and luck. While there's no foolproof formula, athletic ability and technique seem to be the best starting point. WWE has the athletic part down pat with all the NFL Combine crap they do at the Performance Center, but their creative process removes a crucial part of the equation. Even if the ideas the writers came up with were any good, most wrestlers are terrible actors. If they were any good at acting, they'd be in Hollywood and not at the PC. So they're not going to be nearly as convincing trying to get over a persona created for them as one they came up with and developed themselves, to say nothing of all the unnatural scripted verbiage that even Olivier would have trouble getting over.

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