Powell's Blog: WWE finally got back to its roots with the NXT invasion angle

Posted in: Powell's Blog
Jun 8, 2010 - 11:07 AM

By Jason Powell

Tuesday, June 8 – 11:07 A.M. (CT)

The NXT invasion angle didn't feature a wrestler returning from an injury around the time you'd expect him to. Vince McMahon didn't show up unexpectedly. A wrestler who made his name in another company didn't debut in WWE.

It wasn't about an athlete hosting Raw with the purpose of garnering ESPN attention for WWE. It wasn't a celebrity beating up Chavo Guerrero in hopes of getting the company mocked on "The Soup."

This was just a good old fashioned, well orchestrated pro wrestling angle.

And it was a damn good one that succeeded on many levels. It put NXT on the map way more than a recap video ever could or Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan working typical matches on Raw ever could.

WWE made the Raw audience care about NXT. They generated buzz about the brand the night before the new season begins. They gave John Cena eight potential opponents. They made people care about those eight wrestlers if they didn't already. WWE made us wonder what happens next and whether these wrestlers could show up on their other television shows this week.

WWE got our attention and it didn't take actors, athletes, astronauts, musicians, comedians, reverends, game show hosts, gossip show hosts, race car drivers, or bull riders to do it.

The creative forces finally booked a hot pro wrestling angle on a pro wrestling show. The company has become so focussed on reaching out to people who aren't watching the show that I think they either forgot about the pro wrestling fans or took us for granted by assuming we'd always be there.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the Floyd Mayweather Jr. angle, certain guest hosts, and many elements of sports entertainment in general (the comedy skits last night don't qualify). And I'll never criticize WWE for trying to attract new viewers. However, no passionate viewer that follows any genre enjoys watching a show that they sense is geared to outsiders more than than them and other members of loyal viewing audience.

It felt like WWE finally remembered very late in the long, draining, and mostly dreadful three-hour special that Monday Night Raw at it's core is a pro wrestling show. If nothing else, they rediscovered their identity for a few minutes.

WWE snapped out of their variety show funk and delivered a true Raw moment that has fans of all types talking in a way that none of the guests hosts or publicity stunts have. It was a gritty, old school, pro wrestling beatdown that succeeded where so much of the campy publicity stunts (remember the Denver Debacle) have failed. 

WWE can't give us those types of big moments every week and I have no idea whether this will be an effective long-term angle, but it was really fun for one night. Here's hoping WWE gets back to its roots more often. If WWE dedicates more of this type of attention to their core audience, I believe it will pay off for them.

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