WWE News: Major Plans Being Discussed For NXT Brand In 2017

While it was SmackDown’s declining ratings (and pressure from USA Network executives) that forced Vince McMahon to rehash the brand extension concept this past summer, it was the success of NXT that allowed him to feel comfortable about splitting his roster in half. NXT has morphed from a developmental territory into a legitimate third brand under the WWE umbrella and the ultimate breeding ground.

NXT has become a destination for top independent stars to finish out their careers with the top sports entertainment company in the world. Those wrestlers acclimate themselves to a certain style, get elevated to the main event scene of NXT and eventually get promoted to the WWE main roster, and the cycle continues.

It was interesting this past July when the WWE’s brand extension draft took place that even though RAW and SmackDown selected seven NXT stars in the draft, only Finn Balor was considered a bonafide top level star at the time. But the WWE’s women and tag team divisions would need restocking, hence the promotions of Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Nia Jax, American Alpha (a legit team who belonged in WWE) and Mojo Rawley.

Blatant omissions from the draft included Bayley, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura, and perhaps others. But Vince and Triple H came to an arrangement somewhere along the line where NXT couldn’t be completely plucked of their top talent to the point that the cupboard would be bare — not until suitable replacements were pinpointed could the main-eventers get promoted to WWE.

Meanwhile, Triple H continued on his path of territorial domination. He took NXT, which had only been performing in Orlando, Florida, on the road as a touring brand. Beyond Florida, and even beyond the United States. And now, whenever WWE produces one of its major pay-per-views, NXT is there putting on their Takeover specials the night before, sold out audiences included.

It appears that plans for the next step in the NXT expansion is already in the works. According to a report from Wrestling Inc, there have been internal discussions about NXT going live on the WWE Network beginning in 2017. It is not known as of yet how serious the discussions are, but it makes sense considering all the attention the Network has been receiving as of late.

Declining WWE Network subscriptions have led the company to react with more original programming, including the use of former stars and the idea of trimming down the amount of pay-per-views per year. The thought internally is that the subscriber number will likely not be affected one way or the other if NXT goes live, so is the move worth it.

There would be major obstacles for the WWE to overcome if they determine this is the direction they want to take. The cost of NXT going live would be much more than their current model, and like WWE, they’d have to bring in talent each week for live shows as opposed to taping several episodes worth of programming in one night.

Because the talks are only in the beginning stages, it’s not known whether the live shows would rotate venues on a weekly basis like WWE. It would certainly be easier to broadcast them from Orlando each week as most of the talent live in the area, but that was one of the detriments that faced TNA.

It’s certainly the next logical step in NXT’s evolution so certainly something to keep an eye on. It will be interesting to see if going live has any effect on the promotions of their top-tier talent like Joe and Nakamura. We did recently report that WWE wanted to keep the King of Strong Style in NXT for the foreseeable future, much like they did with Finn Balor. Much of those decisions may be based on Bobby Roode’s success as he ascends to the main event.

[Featured Image by WWE]

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