As the popularity of NXT continues to grow, WWE reportedly has its sights set on getting NXT even more exposure in the future — even utilizing John Cena to do so, according to Daily Wrestling News.
Coming off a successful NXT Takeover: Brooklyn show during SummerSlam weekend, the NXT brand did not rest on its laurels. That was proven when it was announced that new NXT Women’s champion Bayley would defend her championship against the former champion, Sasha Banks, in a 30-minute Ironman match in the main event of NXT Takeover: Respect.
WWE CEO Triple H also announced that NXT would take its popularity to the United Kingdom later this year, hosting an NXT Takeover event and shoot several weeks of television there.
But according to the report, WWE is looking to expand NXT’s popularity, and it will all start during Wrestlemania week. For starters, fans can expect a huge presence from NXT that weekend at all of WWE’s Axxess events. NXT is already set to host a live event that weekend.
The Wrestlemania 31 weekend live event this year generated NXT’s highest attendance ever until that point, drawing over 5,000 fans. NXT Takeover: Brooklyn shattered that record, drawing over 15,000 fans. Therefore, with its popularity at an all-time high, NXT could bring in more than 5,000 fans next year.
In addition to the Axxess presence and the live event, the report says it’s expected that the NXT championship will be defended at Wrestlemania 32. While the current NXT champion, Finn Balor, has stated in the past to Cheap Heat that “the only way I’m not on WrestleMania 32 is if I’m dead,” he seems to have changed his mind recently.
In a recent interview with Title Match Wrestling, Balor expressed the belief that NXT believes to be separate from the WWE product and are not overly concerned with being on Wrestlemania.
“Well you know a lot of us at NXT believe we’re something completely separate to what the main roster is currently putting out there. We don’t necessarily want to be on the WrestleMania card. We’re going to have our own card to ourself, hopefully the night before. We’ll sell out a building pretty similar to this and we’ll be saying to the boys on WrestleMania ‘follow that.'”
With an added emphasis to the NXT product, there is also a belief that the WWE could utilize its most popular performer, John Cena, in helping to elevate the product.
Daily News Wrestling notes that WWE is looking to have more NXT superstars answer Cena’s United States Open Challenge on Monday Night RAW. The idea behind it would be to give the NXT superstars more mainstream exposure on WWE television.
If WWE elected to go that route, it wouldn’t be the first time that Cena accepted an NXT superstar’s response to his challenge.
On May 4, former NXT champion Sami Zayn answered Cena’s open challenge in his hometown of Montreal. Despite suffering the loss, Zayn did get some exposure and showed that he could hang with the face of the company. Then, two weeks later, the current NXT champion at the time, Kevin Owens, answered Cena’s challenge.
When Owens answered Cena’s challenge, it began a three pay-per-view streak of matches with Cena that many people rated as some of the best matches of 2015. If future NXT superstars can enjoy similar success to Owens’ response of Cena’s challenge, it would likely be beneficial to NXT in the long run.
NXT Takeover: Respect will air on the WWE Network on October 7, but that show could be just the beginning of an even bigger future for the NXT brand.
[Images via WWE]