If you read my NXT 2.0 recap from this past Tuesday, you will see that at one point well into the show, I note that there was quite a bit of chaos and foul language being used on the episode. The show opened with a donnybrook brawl that spanned from inside the ring with the brand's top stars all the way to the backstage area where a number of the female stars started throwing fists as well. It was fun and definitely a shot of unpredictable excitement that the entire WWE product has been missing for quite a while. But most of all, it felt very familiar to the scene in the then WWF about 20 years ago and according to reports, that might have been the idea.
According to a report from Fightful Select, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon himself has introduced a vision for NXT 2.0 to become an edgier product that would appeal more to the 18 – 34-year-old demographic that helped the WWF win the "Monday Night Wars" with WCW back in the late-90s/early 00s.
So where exactly would NXT 2.0 be implementing this new edginess? It's said that it would impact everything from the aggression of characters and their using more harsh and foul language (definitely something we saw this past Tuesday) to their actual in-ring work, which may mean more brawling and turning up the violence a bit.
While WWE went full-PG about a decade ago as a result of a number of things, including the Chris Benoit tragedy, Mattel buying into the company, and Linda McMahon's failed attempts at getting elected as a moral conservative, fans have been begging ever since for the company to return to the more adult-focused form of storytelling that helped lead them to their biggest boom period in history.
And though it might seem like the TV networks would be opposed to a WWE product leaning back into their old "Attitude Era" ways, it's said in the report that USA Network officials are actually very supportive of the new direction for NXT. And why not? WWF Raw Is War brought the network its highest ratings ever from 1997-2001 and they might be more comfortable with a brand like NXT being the more adult and rowdy product, while WWE proper like Raw remains tamer.
There's no word on when WWE will really hit the throttle on a full implementation of an Attitude Era 2.0 on NXT 2.0, but looking at this past week's show, I'd say they're already dipping their toes in the water.