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'NXT Arrival' offers a look at the future of WWE

NXT ArRival

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The WWE Network promised to change the face of how fans watched wrestling. But in one two hour special, it might have changed what fans want from WWE.

Cesaro stole the show in the opening match of "NXT Arrival" against Sami Zayn.
Cesaro stole the show in the opening match of "NXT Arrival" against Sami Zayn.Photo by Ribbon Salminen, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

“NXT Arrival” was the very first live event shown on the WWE Network. Fans in Eastern Iowa and worldwide watched as the development territory for World Wrestling Entertainment put on an epic six match card.

For over six months, WWE provided one weak pay-per-view after another. “NXT Arrival” started out strong and never slowed down though. The Cedar Rapids Pro Wrestling Examiner already has it on his shortlist for the top event of 2014.

The show kicked off with the fourth battle in the Sami Zayn and Cesaro feud. The two men went nearly twenty-five minutes and presented the perfect blend of WWE and independent wrestling styles throughout. The first quarter of the night’s event was spent on this clinic of what twenty-first century wrestling should look like. Zayn/Cesaro IV is an instant candidate for match of the year.

Mojo Rawley was up next and the man that “doesn’t get hyped, he stays hyped” destroyed CJ Parker in a solid contest. Mojo has the potential to be a millennial era Ultimate Warrior, a guy that gets over on his constant positive attitude, great look and nonstop ring style.

WWE Attitude Era stars Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty) made their return to WWE television to challenge Konnor and Viktor, The Ascension, for the NXT Tag titles. The Ascension is a superb team, able to channel the best of Demolition and the Legion of Doom while also carving out their own unique, dark niche. They dominated the WWE stars in this battle.

Paige and Emma battled for the NXT Divas title next. The two women went thirteen minutes in a contest far longer than anything regularly seen on WWE television. They pulled out all the stops in the battle, but Emma was forced to tap to the Ram-Paige submission.

Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze got to show off their gimmicks but little else. The two men were squashed by Alexander Rusev in a segment designed to make sure the WWE Universe knows about the incoming star.

Finally the main event brought the ladder match to NXT for the very first time. Long time NXT champion Bo Dallas defended against Adrian Neville in a battle of two very different competitors. The technically proficient and willing to cheat Dallas had his stiffest challenge from the high-flying Neville, but it was the ladders that wrote most of the NXT title match. Ultimately, Neville hit his impressive Red Arrow (a corkscrew shooting star press that must be seen to be believed) to become the fourth NXT champion.

In two hours, WWE put on an amazing set of bouts with “NXT Arrival”. While the decision to focus so much attention on their developmental league is already fascinating, WWE truly seems ready to form a brand to feed its major league television contracts. With matches like these, NXT may prove to be the future of WWE in a very different way. The thirteen young stars that left everything in the ring proved that WWE’s brightest days may still be ahead with new talents that will shape the business for years to come.

“NXT Arrival” is now available on demand on WWE Network. New episodes from NXT will air every Thursday at 8 p.m. on the WWE Network.

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