In 2015, it really did feel like the future was now.
In what is a grand irony, casting a glance towards the toxicity of the Wednesday Night Wars, everything AEW fans feel about that product in 2021, they felt for NXT in 2015. The NXT of that era wasn't just critically acclaimed, boasting electric in-ring action thrillingly removed, in the case of the Revival's phenomenal southern tag style update, from the passé and overbearing norm. The product didn't merely introduce new faces, in American Alpha and the Four Horsewomen. Nor did it rely entirely on the super-indie imports in a cynical quest for the inflated currency of critical acclaim. NXT was the feel-good alternative that rewarded investment. It felt like the long-overdue paradigm shift needed to superkick the cobwebs off the face of what became known, pejoratively, as the "main roster". The imposition of John Cena and Roman Reigns and the ridicule directed towards your support of Daniel Bryan felt like it was being dismantled before you.
The man wielding the sledgehammer, Triple H, was greeted by the same hardcore fan community that had once despised him as a saviour figure. This was it. Triple H was going to assume Vince McMahon's role as the boss, and he was going to do it in direct opposition to the mentality with which Vince had created such a void of despair. The contrast between NXT and WWE was so stark that it was as if Triple H was orchestrating this plan in secret.
Of course, NXT functioned to inform the main roster, and in a grim premonition of the events to come, the system immediately revealed itself to be dysfunctional.
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