NXT will officially make the jump from the WWE Network to the USA Network on Sept. 18. And while the move is a huge step up for the brand and its wrestlers, some of the show's loyal fans have concerns.
Ever since the Yellow and Black Brand became a weekly staple of WWE television via the Network, the show has stood out for its unique production, presentation and creative direction spearheaded by Paul Levesque (Triple H). However with the show now moving to a major cable network — the same network that houses Monday Night Raw each week — many fans are concerned that the show will quickly lose its individuality and become more like the weekly offerings from both Raw and SmackDown.
Adam Cole has a message for those concerned fans — don't worry. The reigning NXT Champion spoke with ComicBook.com on Thursday and said that the things that made NXT so successful won't be going away anytime soon.
"I think an important recipe for NXT success, and I can tell you that our team feels this exact same way, is we need to keep and stay true to what made NXT NXT," Cole said. "Because this move to the USA Network is not a mistake."
"It's not by accident," he continued. "It's because of what NXT brings to the table already. So I think we very much recognize that keeping that formula and doing more of what this brand does better than anybody is how we're going to succeed on the USA Network. Of course, there's going to be some exciting new things happening in NXT, but at the same time, we know what brought us to the dance, and we're going to stay true to that."
Even if the creative direction does stay the same, the show is already gearing up for a few changes. On top of a new network the show will shift from being pretaped to a weekly live event, and will run two hours a week instead of one. But unlike WWE's other brand touring almost constantly, the show will stay put and emanate from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida each week.
Cole also stated that the old tradition of NXT wrestlers being "called up" to the main roster is effectively over now that it's being treated as the third brand alongside Raw and SmackDown.
"I think what this does is this solidifies NXT to what a lot of us have been saying for a long time, and that's that NXT is the third brand, I mean, a legitimate third brand," Cole said. "And we've been saying that time and time again, but now, the proof is right there. You have, Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, all three shows on major television networks, and this just furthers the development of the brand that NXT is growing into. At this point, I would look at it as a move to Raw or SmackDown, not so much a call up with NXT getting this giant move to the USA Network."