It’s time to move NXT’s filming location. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute: Full Sail University is played out. The crowd has become a meme of themselves. WWE Performance Center be damned, we’re scouting locations. Let me know where you would move NXT filming either in the comments or on Twitter @AlexWendland.
As NXT has become more of a touring brand, they’ve stopped in some spectacular venues around the world. On this list we’ll cover some old favorites and a couple of wildcard targets at which to move NXT.
New York City
New York City is as much of a WWE town as there is. There are a number of great venues throughout the city, and the Barclays Center is obviously too big for monthly tapings. Still, in NYC there are literally hundreds of great venues, many of which have proven to be good homes for pro wrestling, but with the size of NXT and the history of WWE (as well as ECW, NXT’s spiritual precursor) in the building, no place in New York is a better fit than the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom.
Historically speaking, Milwaukee is a surprisingly great wrestling town. Turner Hall is the city’s best venue for, well, anything. It’s a popular ROH haunt and the place was absolutely bursting at the seams when NXT came through early this year. Some weeks it feels like one-third of the wrestlers on the show are Milwaukeeans if you catch an episode featuring both Austin Aries and Tommaso Ciampa. Even Kevin Owens lists it as one of his three favorite venues. Milwaukee’s Turner Hall would make for a great dark horse pick to move NXT. And yes, homer pick alert.
Kevin Owens also loves the American Legion Post in Reseda, but that’s just a bit too small. There’s no need to pick some historic theater or ballroom when coming through Los Angeles; WWE could just make a studio fit to suit their own needs. To move NXT to Los Angeles would be a direct shot across the bow of Lucha Underground. Not that WWE cares much what Lucha Underground does, but one of LU’s biggest stars just so happens to be one of Triple H’s biggest fish left to catch.
The NXT shows in Chicago in early 2016 may or may not have been a mess from an organizational standpoint, but Chicago is arguably the best wrestling town in the United States and has a beautiful list of fantastic venues that ROH, AAW and others run with frequency. The legendary Allstate Arena is clearly too big for anything other than a Brooklyn-type Takeover tie-in to a major main roster show, but Chicago has to be near the top of any list (probably just under Milwaukee, like on a map) for places to move NXT.
Sorry about your NHL team, Quebec City. Thought that’d work out for you. Alas, boo until you heart’s content when NXT moves into that fancy new arena you taxpayers have funded. This might even be a better opportunity since it (probably) won’t cost half-a-fucking-billion dollars just to get in the market.
Lame? Maybe. Economical? Obviously. But how great would it be to host NXT in the WWE warehouse? Imagine watching the future of WWE (and Elias Samson) surrounded by all the history and weird stuff floating around in that building. Not only would that look spectacular on camera, but it would create an access point for the WWE fans to see one of the coolest place in all of pro wrestling.
NXT Takeover: London was unquestionably the best crowd NXT has had for a Takeover event, and that show was the best example of just how far off the mark Full Sail crowds have become. I know little and less about both the appetite for consistent shows in the United Kingdom, nor do I know much about the kinds of venues available for NXT to run. But it’s London, and I need to see more of that kind of crowd on my TV.
The ECW Arena (now the 2300 Arena) is still a place, somehow and….oh hell, Philadelphia would be a trainwreck, even if ROH and Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore both still run the building regularly.
Full Sail sucks, but Orlando was never the problem. I hear Universal Studios has an open soundstage these days…