It was with an element of surprise that James Storm debuted on NXT last Thursday in a show that will debut this Wednesday. Today we look at his signing and the continuing evolution of the NXT brand.
You don’t have to travel particularly far on this blog to realise that none of its writers are big fans of TNA.
We’ve tried, I certainly have, but I’ve just never bought into the promotion or saw it as anything other than a second, sometimes third, rate WWE. And when WWE can be as frustratingly poor, there’s very little to gain from watching an even poorer version.
That said, there is one superstar that was within the TNA ranks that I always enjoyed. Namely, James Storm.
A beer swilling superstar maybe isn’t the freshest of ideas but I enjoyed his shtick, the country music video was a tad cheesy but at least entertaining and with nearly two decade’s experience in the ring, he always looked very capable even when those around him didn’t.
It was therefore with a mixture of surprise and joy that I saw reported that James Storm debuted in a victorious effort on the recent NXT tapings.
The addition of this experienced hand shows the continued evolution of perhaps the most popular WWE brand.
NXT had started out as the WWE’s development league taking in indie workers to learn the ‘WWE style’ and to get former footballers ready for a new career in the ring. It’s yielded many positives results with some of the most popular current WWE superstars – from Seth Rollins to Xavier Woods – making the step up to the main roster via NXT.
Now, however, NXT has found itself as the destination for some of the most well known wrestling faces previously unaligned to the WWE. Whether it is Prince Devitt who made his name in Europe and Japan before becoming Finn Balor, Japanese stars Kana (Asuka) and KENTA (Hideo Itami), indie darling Kevin Steen (Kevin Owens), Uhaa Nation (Apollo Crews) or the TNA alumni Samoa Joe and James Storm, they have all made their first WWE stop with NXT.
Thanks in no small part to the WWE Network, NXT has become hugely popular with wrestling fans. A lot of this has to do with the simplicity of it’s offering. With more focus on in-ring work than on heel authority figures and length promos, NXT has told a simple and relatively old school story. And the fans have lapped it up.
A chance to see the next generation of talent compete without the pressures associated with performing weekly on Raw, has resulted in a stellar show on a weekly basis and the frequent specials have added even more buzz to NXT.
The additions of hot newcomers like Balor, Asuka and Crews undoubtedly grabbed the headlines but it is the signings of old hands like Joe, Storm and ECW & WWE alumni Rhyno that will help those they work with become the superstars the WWE needs them to become.
Take Storm, a former TNA world champion with two decade’s of experience in the ring, and have him working with the new and less experienced performers will be great for their development. It’s the best way for the new talent to hear stories from the world of wrestling while working with top quality superstars.
There is little doubt that the way Triple H has ran NXT gives us wrestling fans of a more old school mentality a great deal of hope for the future when he takes over the reigns of the main roster from his father-in-law Vince McMahon. You never know how it will pan out when Triple H gets control but everything so far indicates it should be different, it’s just about how different it is.
In the meantime, we get to see some of the brightest young talent and indie darlings compete in one place every Wednesday and I, for one, am grateful for that.