WWE’s NXT coming to Royal Oak

NXT to make its first-ever stop in Michigan

By: Thomas Franz | Madison - Park News | Published January 22, 2016


ROYAL OAK — A new breed of talent from World Wrestling Entertainment is set to invade Royal Oak Jan. 30.

NXT is the newest brand of WWE and was founded in 2012 to serve as the main brand’s developmental arm.

Although it largely remains developmental in nature, NXT has recently begun to travel across the globe for shows much like those of the WWE.

“I look at NXT now as its own brand; it’s getting to that level with the travel,” said Apollo Crews, who will be one of the wrestlers performing at the Royal Oak show.

Up until early 2015, NXT primarily held shows throughout Florida, near its base at Full Sail University in Orlando. Most recently, NXT has visited several cities across the Midwest, and it also held a show in London this past December.

On Jan. 30, NXT will hold a show in Michigan for the first time, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.

“It’s so cool because not a lot of people outside of Florida get to see NXT live, so when we get to these places the crowds are crazy,” Crews said. “They enjoy themselves so much from the beginning of the show all the way to the end. We feel it through them.”

If ticket sales are an indication for crowd excitement, then the fact that tickets for the show sold out in less than 30 minutes should make for a raucous environment.

“It’s amazing to see a building sell out in such a short amount of time,” Crews said. “For me, it makes me want to perform the best I can and leave everything in the ring. I don’t want to short them in any way.”

The Detroit area has long been a popular stop for WWE, with Joe Louis Arena being its primary destination for shows. NXT, however, often holds shows in more intimate venues, which WWE officials said are ideal to create more interaction between fans and the performers.

Nick Trentacost, a marketing coordinator for the Royal Oak Music Theatre, said the theatre knew midway through this past fall that hosting NXT might be a possibility.

Although Trentacost said the theater hasn’t hosted any WWE events before, it has hosted other professional wrestling and boxing promotions, thereby making it easy to show what the theater could offer to NXT.

“When they approached us, it was really easy to show WWE our setup for this type of event, and that we’ve done numerous successful events with this same type of setup,” Trentacost said.

The rapid ticket sales came as no surprise to the music theater.

“The demand and the following for this style of event, this particular section of WWE, is very strong, and has very high demand, so we were prepared for it and anticipated it to sell very well,” Trentacost said. “From here, it’s just making sure it goes off without a hitch.”

In addition to Crews, WWE’s website shows that NXT champion Finn Balor, NXT women’s champion Bayley, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin, among others, are scheduled to appear at the Royal Oak show.

WWE’s main roster will be returning to the Detroit area for a Monday Night Raw show at Joe Louis Arena Feb. 22.