We love a good slam poetry jam or modern dance performance as much as the next gal, but sometimes we want more flavor on our cultural palate, and NXT never fails to deliver. As the minor league branch of the WWE universe, NXT is where independent wrestlers hoping to be signed and make their way to superstardom start out – giving the audience a chance to see how wrestlers develop their character and storyline, as well as the fun bloopers that happen along the way. Wrestling gets a lot of flak for being “scripted” and not enough credit for the performers’ athleticism and creativity – it’s more accurate to think of it as professional stunt men and women working within a storyline than calling it a fake sport. The acrobatics are impressive and the crowd’s energy at a live taping is contagious, but what keeps us coming back are the scenes involving the stars’ management. At first we were bewildered: Why would a high-energy live performance cut away from the action for extended conversations between wrestlers and their agents? Why do 20-minute arguments over contract signings need to take place in front of an audience? Why are video feeds of backstage disagreements over the wrestler’s next career move playing on a Jumbotron? Professional wrestling repeatedly body-slams an imaginary fourth wall, and if we went looking for a highbrow art event that pulls that off as well as NXT, we’d end up tapping out.
7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 | CFE Arena, 12777 N. Gemini Blvd. | 407-823-6006 | cfearena.com