The Survivor Series weekend has concluded and the biggest winner is NXT. Not only did they dominate at the Survivor Series PPV, beating SmackDown and RAW in a score of 4-2-1 respectively, but they had an incredible show at WarGames. An NXT Takeover being great, of course, comes as no real surprise as there has hardly been a single bad Takeover special in its 5 and a half year history since the first NXT Arrival.
However, this felt like the weekend where the yellow brand truly proved that they’ve long surpassed the “developmental” tag and are now the full-fledged third brand in WWE. It started at WarGames with the women of NXT going to war. Rhea Ripley captained her team against the NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler’s team and it was a fantastic bit of storytelling. Athletically, there’s no doubting the capability of all the women and the match, if nothing else, truly represented the evolution of women’s wrestling in WWE.
Rhea Ripley’s team had to suffer the odds as Dakota Kai turned on Tegan Nox in what was a brilliantly executed heel turn that nobody saw coming. It took two full members out of the equation, leaving Ripley and Candice LeRae to fend for themselves against four elite women. At the end of it, Rhea Ripley looked like the biggest female star of the brand, pinning the champion Shayna Baszler to pick up the win for her team.
Every match on the card delivered, as did the Men’s WarGames match, featuring the Undisputed Era inside the steel structure for the third year in a row. But it was Survivor Series where the NXT brand made the headlines. It was the first time that NXT was involved in the Interbrand War and that alone added a whole new element of interest in Survivor Series.
Though the number of invasions in the build was a bit overdone, that was perhaps only expected when you involve three full rosters. Given their performance this year, it won’t be surprising to see WWE add them to the mix next year as well, especially since they’re now pushing it as the third brand. The next step would be to involve them in the draft as well.
As for the yellow brand, the superstars managed to step up in a big way at the PPV and they knew exactly what was at stake given the spotlight that they had. There’s something about the spirit of the NXT locker room that’s so different from the main roster. Perhaps it’s the fact that the talent is generally younger, but there’s a hunger and desire to succeed that instantly drives the brand to bigger and better things with each passing year.
To have NXT outdo SmackDown and RAW thoroughly was a big decision to make, especially since WWE spent the last 3 years always affirming RAW as the supreme brand. The standout stars of the Survivor Series show were Rhea Ripley, Roderick Strong, Keith Lee, and Adam Cole, with virtually every other star on the brand delivering in a big way.
It was a statement made by WWE to AEW. Had AEW not existed, there’s no way that WWE would have had NXT win so decisively against the two other brands. And that’s another reason why competition is so great for the wrestling business. With NXT’s big push, there’s likely going to be an increased interest in the show and the superstars of the brand which will make more people tune in. It’s good to bring about casual fan interest in the product and we can assure you that with the brand split being more defined after Survivor Series, many things are going to change.
WWE made a statement to AEW by strengthening NXT and giving it the biggest push that it ever has before. This will only amp up the Wednesday Night War and whether you choose to watch NXT or AEW, the biggest winner is the professional wrestling industry. The fact that 1.8-2 million people combined are constantly watching wrestling on Wednesday Nights is a win in our eyes and all we hope to see is two quality products doing the best they can to get our attention.