WWE, after the hilarious disaster that was the dying days of its in-house developmental system, was finally forced to acknowledge the shrunken world around 2014. The results are at once uplifting (NXT) and utterly depressing (the end result of it).
Red flags waved at the very turn of the decade. The NXT game show was a spiteful defiance of hardcore fan sentiment and a vehicle on which to embarrass the latest generation of talent. The importance of Daniel Bryan's carefree nature cannot be overstated; were it not for his imperviousness to the culture, the revolution he forged may not have been televised. The other independent stalwart WWE attempted to make an example of, Kaval (Low Ki), was unable to stomach it. With the anti-wrestling mentality carefully fostered by Dunn for years, the fruits of his labour ripened.
The main roster creative regime seems to actively resent NXT, which underwent an amazing metamorphosis from joke to cult phenomenon. Sami Zayn is a geek we're fools for believing in. Kevin Owens is a sociopathic heel monster, but he's also fat. Shinsuke Nakamura is comedy fodder for racist-but-not-racist segments. The heel voices the thoughts of the inner sanctum, so apparently that's fine. Cesaro isn't allowed the singles platform on which to grab the brass ring seemingly because people want him to grab it.
"I don't give a d*mn what you people want!" McMahon once roared on RAW. That was Mr. McMahon, but circumstantial evidence suggests that this is an IRL belief.
It's completely backwards, but to the victor go the spoils. We get our guys because some concessions must be made to the audience - but even in 2017, McMahon remains his own primary audience, and Jinder Mahal, the basic, racist, geopolitical heat repellent is his WWE champion.