The mini-crisis that affected TLC 2017 extracted a dream match from a potential career-killer of a farce. The Survivor Series of that same year was vastly improved by Vince McMahon's rare recognition of the state of things. The Survivor Series of the following year was vastly improved by the realisation that an uninspiring rematch was imminent, in addition to the butterfly effect catalysed by the injury inflicted upon by Becky Lynch by Nia Jax. From disaster history bloomed; the deft replacement match informed the main event of WrestleMania 35.
Even in 2019, a stunningly awful year in WWE canon, 24 hours after a particularly wretched show in Crown Jewel, WWE had to rewrite the following night's SmackDown with NXT personnel flown in at the last second. The show was largely excellent and headlined by Adam Cole's shocking victory over Daniel Bryan. With no choice, WWE committed, heavily, to putting NXT over as a force at least equal to the main roster. This decision didn't affected the overall quality of the build - it degenerated into the endless, unconvincing brawls typical of every November - but it did positively affect NXT's momentum in the war on Wednesday nights.
Is it dormant, and not dead, that elusive creativity? Does WWE just need to be placed into a reactive situation to unleash it?
WWE's response to this empty arena era suggests otherwise.
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