Since the rebranding of the former black and gold brand, it seems like the identity of NXT 2.0 is straying away from the old indie wrestling hub to a more developmental hub for their next breakout squad.
Throughout the years prior we’ve seen the brand carried by the likes of the Undisputed Era, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Bobby Roode, Andrade Almas, Kevin Owens, and Finn Balor to name a few. A lot of the primary stories and main events were headlined by the men.
Nothing against the Horsewomen, Paige, Shayna Baszler, and Asuka, they did get their time to shine on the main stage, but those individuals would be more elevated (to a lesser extent Baszler) onto the main roster with most main eventing premium live events.
Currently, with the way NXT 2.0 is currently at, it seems to the consensus that the multi-colored brand is being carried by the women.
Here’s a special edition of the three count, with NXT 2.0.
The Women of NXT 2.0
1.) The Most Compelling NXT 2.0 Stories are by Women
Over the past several months, we’ve seen the likes of the rise of Cora Jade, as the plucky, punk rocker climbing in the ranks as the next challenger poised to go against NXT Women’s Champion, Mandy Rose and her empire that is Toxic Attraction. Starting with War Games 2021 alongside Raquel Rodriguez (Gonzales), Io Shirai & Alva Fyre (Kay Lee Ray), Jade has been trying to prove themselves as a viable opponent, with moments of respect being shown by her peers and as recent shown by future WWE Hall of Fame inductee, Nattie Neidhart. In a similar vein to main roster star Liv Morgan, despite their failures, Jade is still endearing to the audience for their never give up attitude and consistency in getting better in the ring.
It also helps that the breakout tournament for NXT this time around is more focused on the women’s side. Plus with the ladies in Toxic Attraction, Jacy Jayne, and Gigi Dolan (the former Priscilla Kelly) as the Tag Team Champions, the titles are treated more valuable than the main roster tag titles.
In addition to more men/women being integrated into roster storylines, the Dexter Lumis/ Indie Hartwell love angle, Legado Del Fantasma & Diamond Mine having a strong female presence in their respective factions, it seems like the women do have more of a bigger presence in the brand.
2.) The Focus on a Female Fatale Faction
WWE for the first time in a very long time has a faction of all women who have been the primary focus of NXT television.
One of the first notable NXT Women Stables was the Beautiful Fierce Females, consisting of Summer Rae, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, which was rather short-lived but they were a prominent fixture for the 1st real era of NXT.
Now, during the 2.0 Era, the Mandy Rose led Toxic Attraction is indeed one of them. I’d note the primary draw of the multicolored brand with their combined “appeal” and look. Toxic Attraction has two things working for it.
1.) Mandy is a natural heel
To many, Mandy defeating Raquel for the NXT Women’s Title seemed like a fluke due to the Dakota Kai/Raquel rivalry. There seems to be resentment for someone who made it through WWE in a nontraditional way. It called back to the Diva era that some may say plagued the mid-aughts into the mid-10s of the decade. It goes double due to the fact that she was a member of the ill-fated Tough Enough cast.
The resentment of Rose for her being a nontraditionalist wrestler, and the vain nature of her character as the unobtainable eleven out of ten that’s a femme fatale that makes her easy to root against.
2.) The “Sex Sells” Theory
Let’s be honest, despite the times drastically changing in society and what WWE was able to get away back in the late 90s to the mid-aughts, the “sex sells” theory is still prevalent in Wrestling, and the vain nature of Toxic Attraction and their combined appeal to cater to the more male audience makes it work ten times more. Although we’ve seen the IMPACT Wrestling faction of The Beautiful People do it and succeed with it, fifteen years ago, Toxic Attractions shows it still works.
How does it appeal to being a good heel group? It’s simple? Vanity, narcissism, and mean girl’s aesthetic you basically have a group likely to dominate.
3.) The Continuing of Creating New Stars
The one thing that the men have a great disadvantage with on the NXT roster, is that for every main roster potential guy like a Bron Breakker, Solo Sikoa, and possibly Carmelo Hayes or Santos Escobar. There are plenty of guys on the men’s side of the roster folks can easily see getting released.
Most of the men on the roster are rather, bland or they are really good but may not fit the current vision of WWE. Some are really connecting with the crowd like a Breakker, Sikoa, Hayes, Andre Chase, and Cameron Grimes.
There are others who are really not cutting it or not compelling enough to keep interest or we’ve seen a better version of their characters done by someone in the past (I.E. Grayson Waller, Joe Gacy & Tony D’Angelo)
The Woman of NXT 2.0 in Conclusion
With NXT. The women have characters and surprisingly a focus and being highlighted better. Jade as mentioned before, is the underdog, Toxic Attraction being the stable establishing their dominance through underhanded tactics as well as securing the gold, Wendy Choo being more so a child in an adult’s body, but can seriously go in the ring. Ivy Nile being the workhorse and hard worker, being the only woman in a male-dominated faction of Diamond Mine.
Then there are the likes of Nikkita Lyons who’s a renaissance woman with talents inside and outside the ring, Sarray & Io Shirai who are Joshi Royalty. Tiffany Stratton, the ultra-athletic talent with the “I’m better than you, and you know it” attitude, Lash Legend who is showing consistent promise and continues to get better in the ring, and the aforementioned highlighting of newer wrestlers in the Women’s Breakout Tournament.
Sure a lot of the stars may be months away from really setting their feet as workers but there’s identity, investment, and giving folks a reason to care, which unfortunately two-thirds of the men don’t have enough interest in the overall picture of the product.
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