One of the last things many fans thought former WWE CEO Vince McMahon had a hand in was the complete overhaul of Triple H’s NXT. Not only were there mass releases and walkouts from those such as Adam Cole, Timothy Thatcher, and others, but also the change in presentation from the black and gold NXT to NXT 2.0.
Some thought McMahon and Bruce Prichard wanted to make NXT feel more like the main roster. NXT 2.0 had a brighter look and focused less on independent talent and more on bringing in sports athletes to fill the roster. Although it may seem like McMahon had his fingerprints over the reimagining of NXT, one person has suggested that he didn’t play much of a role.
Speaking with Graham “GSM” Matthews of Bleacher Report, current NXT trainer and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels discussed the development of NXT 2.0. According to HBK, McMahon didn’t have much of a hand in the show’s creative process.
When Hunter first left, it became all me, and certainly from a television standpoint. Matt Bloom is the head coach and takes care of everything from the PC training standpoint, but when it came to NXT 2.0 television, that’s something myself and my team took over creatively. I know a lot of people thought Vince and Bruce were doing that. I can promise you, they did not have the time to do NXT television. If it’s good or if it’s bad, that’s on me.
It’s been a huge joy to run that show and work with these talents. Again, everyone was put in a real tough position, we all were, but that’s where you learn to do things in WWE. That, to me, is a form of talent development, which is understanding that things can always change … around here and you have to adjust to that. The show always goes on. It was trial by fire for a lot of us, but it’s been an absolutely fantastic experience.
Of course, now that McMahon retired, there is speculation on whether WWE would go back to using known independent talent to fill out the NXT roster. Triple H is now in charge of Head of Creative for the main roster, but there is still question on if his influence and decision-making will affect those on the third brand.
NXT was moved from its former Wednesday slot on the USA Network to Tuesdays after losing the ratings war to AEW. An offshoot of the show, NXT Level Up, airs on Fridays on Peacock.
What do you make of Vince McMahon not having much of an creative hand in NXT 2.0? Sound off in the comments section below.