WWE’s NXT brand descends on Richmond with all-time great superstars & astonishing athleticism

by | Oct 7, 2016 | POLITICS

Richmond is still reeling from last month’s historic BackLash event and thankfully, the thousands of wrestling fans in town won’t have to wait too long for WWE to return as their NXT brand comes to the Altria Theater tonight for a special live event featuring some of the most talented superstars not just of today, but perhaps all time.

Richmond is still reeling from last month’s historic BackLash event and thankfully, the thousands of wrestling fans in town won’t have to wait too long for WWE to return as their NXT brand comes to the Altria Theater tonight for a special live event featuring some of the most talented superstars not just of today, but perhaps all time.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit though. For starters, what is NXT? Well, basically, it is WWE’s developmental territory from Florida that features up-and-coming superstars, many of which have gone on to make a big impact on WWE such as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Charlotte, Kevin Owens, and Sasha Banks. Though it is a “developmental” territory, NXT exists as WWE’s third brand alongside RAW and SmackDown as it tours the world, puts on its own weekly show, and holds several major events throughout the year. The only difference is that NXT shows are all exclusive to the WWE Network, something that does limit its reach compared to the millions who watch RAW and SmackDown every week, but also fuels the impressive, cult-like following NXT has gained over the last few years. That following continues to grow today and has made NXT one of the hottest products in wrestling today with some shows that even rival well-known heavyweights like SummerSlam in terms of quality and attendance. This past August alone, for the second year in a row, NXT sold-out the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with over 15,000 fervent fans witnessing a showcase of the best wrestling has to offer, from colorful characters down to innovative maneuvers that many believe outshined WWE’s own SummerSlam the following night.

NXT was first founded back in 2012 as it arose from the ashes of WWE’s previous developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, and it wouldn’t be long before it surpassed its predecessor and even began to rival the esteemed Ohio Valley Wrestling in its ability to host the best up-and-coming wrestlers the world has to offer. With the highly touted Performance Center as their base and Full Sail University hosting their events, NXT gained some strong word-of-mouth early on featuring future WWE superstars like Seth Rollins, Paige, Sami Zayn, Enzo Amore, Neville, and Big E Langston. With the arrival of the WWE Network in early 2014, NXT was given a chance to grow significantly with a weekly programming slot and a chance for major quarterly supercards, which have become known as NXT TakeOver events. The storylines and in-ring ability began to improve dramatically after this, with NXT rivaling many major shows from WWE in some areas, while flat-out overpowering them in others such as their robust Women’s Division. As superstars “graduated” to the main roster, their slots were quickly filled with equally impressive performers and before long, NXT had amassed one of the best rosters around with world-renowned wrestlers such as Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch, and Hideo Itami, many of which would be ranked as some of the best of the modern era, if not all time.

The rise in NXT‘s popularity and quality has directly affected WWE as well. Most prominently, the respect and adulation NXT‘s women superstars earned led to WWE drastically overhauling the way their female competitors were presented, and even labelled. In August of 2014, NXT competitors Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch made their main roster debut with WWE and heralded in the much-discussed “Women’s Revolution” which led to the eradication of the polarizing Divas Division and cemented the fact that women wrestlers could perform at the same level as men, if not better in some cases. Franchise superstars Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins both spent time in NXT, with Rollins being the first ever NXT Champion, and memorable characters like Bray Wyatt and Enzo Amore were first created in the modest halls of Full Sail University before headlining arenas with thousands of fans. Currently, NXT‘s influence is at an all-time high in WWE with both RAW and SmackDown prominently featuring dozens of former NXT champions and superstars, which has resulted in an invigorated WWE product across the board, pleasing fans worldwide.

So what of NXT today? Well, despite losing some of its core roster to the main roster earlier this year, NXT still holds some of the world’s best wrestlers putting on some of the best matches and storylines around. Current NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura is a legendary performer still climbing the all-time ranks. Renowned for his storied career in Japan and equally adored for his captivating mannerisms and performances, he has become the cornerstone of NXT with many calling him a future WrestleMania headliner. His current adversary Samoa Joe matches Nakamura’s resume as well with a career that helped put Indy wrestling on the map in the mid-2000s and a style that’s brutally amazing. Current NXT Women’s Champion Asuka might be the best female wrestler today and the division she reigns over has many up-and-coming superstars that will one-day dominate WWE programming like Charlotte and Sasha Banks have this year in WWE. Tag Team wrestling is alive and well within the brand as well with teams like the current champions, The Revival, providing crowds with exciting bouts full of hard-hitting action and breath-taking athleticism. There are even more colorful characters like the comedic No Way Jose, and some who combine both character and wrestler perfectly such as Bobby Roode with his unforgettable entrance.

All of these superstars will perform in Richmond tonight at the Altria for a night of wrestling the city hasn’t seen… well, maybe ever. It’s a lofty statement, especially knowing the legendary bouts wrestlers like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat put on in town, but for those who have seen anY NXT show over the last few years, you’ll know it’s justified. Tonight is a perfect chance to see the future of WWE in person as well perhaps the hottest brand in wrestling today, with several wrestlers performing at their absolute best and plenty of other solid competitors who continue to improve night by night.

This is your chance to see wrestlers on the cusp of becoming household names in an intimate setting providing a night of extraordinary action and unforgettable entertainment. Take it from us — don’t miss it.

NXT superstars compete at the Altria Theater tonight with several exciting single and tag-team wrestling. Tickets start at $22 with the doors opening at 7:30 PM. For more information on the show and where to buy tickets, click here.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for RVAMag.com from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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