Current SVP of Live Events and former writer ‘Road Dogg’ Brian James has explained how Triple H and Vince McMahon saw ‘Black and Gold’ NXT.
Prior to the September 2021 reboot, NXT was a fan-favourite promotion, featuring top former indie stars.
What started out as a developmental division quickly became a brand known for putting on consistently good wrestling shows.
While the debate still exists now to a degree, fans would often argue whether Black and Gold NXT could be considered a third brand, alongside Raw and SmackDown.
Speaking on his ‘Oh…You Didn’t Know’ podcast, Brian James admitted that AEW’s ratings would determine whether or not he’d call NXT developmental brand.
“Well I’ll tell you what, I used to love to say it was developmental when they (AEW) beat us in the ratings (laughs). What do you mean? You’re beating our third-string team. Good job guys.”
Sharing his serious take on the situation, James said:
“So this is up to me, this is a philosophical question (of whether NXT was a third brand or developmental in late 2019) and I can answer it anyway I want to but it doesn’t matter what I say.
“I always saw it as a… I don’t know that I looked at it as either to be quite honest with you but I’ll tell you who thought about (it), I felt like Hunter thought about it as a third brand and I think once we got that TV deal, that’s a legitimate argument, you know what I mean? This is a third revenue generator.
“So, is it a third brand? And so that’s definitely an argument to be made for that. I think Vince (McMahon) always saw it as developmental. Like oh, it’s small ball and look, I think to his dismay, he did that a little bit but I think there was some professional rivalry… because NXT was young and shiny and all the internet people were talking how great it was and so, I totally understand.
“For me, writing SmackDown, I used to get ticked off because they would bury my show and put over NXT and that was when it was the awesome black and gold and NXT was to be cherished at that time for a true wrestling fan and so, I don’t know.
“It’s a philosophical question and I think one guy’s philosophy was totally different than the other guy’s philosophy and for mine, I think it can be both.
“I think it can be developmental but it also can generate revenue and some of the… it made room for some of the people to come in like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
“Some of the people that are on top of the world now kind of came, filtered through that system, by design and hey, here’s how we do things.
“We do things a little differently here in WWE than you did at OVW, ROH, wherever you used to wrestle, you know? And so, I thought it was a bit of both.
“A little developmental and revenue generator so I don’t know. It’s up to you to see how you like it.”
In September 2021, NXT received a reboot, with the brand opting to showcase younger athletes over indie veterans.
Following Triple H taking over WWE creative in July, the company has been scouting indie talent again, in addition hosting frequent college athlete tryouts.
Transcription via POST Wrestling.
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