After yesterday’s terrible news, I was honestly afraid to wake up and find what was waiting for me this morning. But NXT gave me quite the surprise as Samoa Joe captured the title from Finn Balor. This is good for multiple reasons.

First, it creates a surprise factor that shakes things up and make the audience feel like anything can happen at any time. This helps sell live event tickets and create intrigue to see NXT when it comes to town. People have wanted WWE proper to do this on their live events every once in a while to make people want to come out to venues instead of watching WWE Network. Once you create a sense of anything is possible then fans can’t miss being at the show. Because they are always thinking about cost of gas, parking, and live event expenses.

The second reason this is great it continues to differentiate NXT from the main WWE product. The company has been really smart in marketing to separate audiences. The main roster events are established for the family audience while NXT is more for the 18 to 34 demographic. They are touring with rock festivals in smaller music clubs and venues close to college campuses. This is similar to what WWF did in the Attitude Era market to the college audience and the smart fan. Not only does this give you a place to cultivate new stars but it also gives you a chance to reestablish a relationship with the fans that could carry over to see the favorite people go to the main roster. I know there was some trepidation on stars going from NXT to the WWE main roster, but it seems like the current crop talent is being kept strong.

Going beyond the NXT brand, WWE has done well cultivating an outside audience with things like Total Divas. Take for sample, my sister and a few other women I know watch that show only without following the rest of the television that the company produces. Say what you want about the content of the show, but it shows you how WWE markets itself outside of the wrestling bubble.

I watch the show every week and it’s interesting how they tell their history of events. If you watch WWE every week then you can see the magic tricks used to tell the story. But if you are not tuned into the WWE then you have a different experience. The women are likable, and give you a sense of the craziness regarding WWE’s schedule. Think about this. If The Bellas never returned “Total Divas” might not have happened which wouldn’t have given the women a focal point at all on WWE TV. Which means we still could’ve been getting three-minute matches for no reason with The Butterfly Belt in tow. So without one that might not be a great women’s division focus that we have now.

Also with the WWE Network, WWE seems to now understand how they need to create content with a lot more wink wink nudge nudge to the Internet scuttlebutt. The Edge and Christian Show, Ride Along, Table for Three, Legends with JBL all talk about things that the WWE itself doesn’t reference. They understand who they are and what they do and It seems to be continuing with future content like Global Cruiserweight Series, Camp WWE and Holy Foley they seem to know where the bread is buttered the days.

Branding means a lot. Just ask Impact Wrestling/TNA. No matter what they seem to do or they bring in they don’t seem to move the needle. That brand has been through so much and has been damaged in the process. No matter how much you say the company is in a good spot right now fans are turned off by past misgivings.

Many have said that the company needs to think about a new name. And I don’t disagree. Having personal experience in rebranding something when you have that much baggage associated with the name it’s best to start from scratch. Will people forget what you once were? No you can’t expect everyone to give you a chance. But it will open up the opportunity for those who may have a negative connotation to your brand a chance to sample your product without prejudice . It’s really the only thing that will save the company from slow oblivion.

William Shakespeare once said “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Well, there’s definitely a difference in the perception of TNA and NXT. One seems to be smelling like a rose and the other seems to be dying on the vine slowly rotting away.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.