WWE’s NXT brand has become the launching pad for some of Sports Entertainment’s greatest careers, and the home of many of the greatest matches in the history of the wrestling business. Now, learn the untold stories behind NXT in this special weekly event from writer Dennis Hopeless (WWE) and artist Jake Elphick (WWE: Wrestlemania 2018 Special).
In the year 2012, Triple H and Dusty Rhodes head to Florida to begin the newest era of WWE.
WWE developmental has come a long way in the last couple decades. Vince McMahon used to send green wrestlers to various independent territories to prove out or wash up. Among others, Deep South Wrestling, Ultimate Pro Wrestling, Heartland Wrestling, Memphis Championship Wrestling, Memphis Power Pro, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Florida Championship Wrestling all had a hand in bringing the McMahon product up to standard.
In the early 2010’s, someone in the back offices had the brilliant idea to take complete control of the process, and NXT was born. Not only could every aspect of training be monitored and fostered, WWE could turn a buck during the process by having a third, completely fresh brand. It was a bold move, and it was brilliant.
WWE: NXT Takeover – The Blueprint #1 throws a well deserved spotlight at The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, who was largely responsible for the success of NXT during the early years until his passing in 2015. If you ask any of the performers who came up through NXT during Dream’s tenure, they’ll tell you he was instrumental in driving their careers. Dusty was one of those rare talents that not only had the “it” factor, he had the ability to bring “it” out in others. This is a fitting tribute to a man who became a legend in all the seasons of his career, and the timing couldn’t be more appropriate.
The American Dream was larger than life. He was cocky and confident, but found ways to use that charisma to elevate everyone around him. Dennis Hopeless gives us a rare glimpse of The Midnight Rider that only the folks behind the curtain ever got the honor of witnessing first hand. The deep and lasting respect shown by Rhodes’ proteges and peers is a testament to the man’s work ethic and his selfless dedication to putting them over, time and again.
The artwork by Jake Elphick is slightly more caricatured than Serg Acuna’s work on the WWE ongoing, but it plays. The action scenes pop, and the likenesses are good. There are a couple scenes where Dusty looks a little too skinny, but Dream’s expressions and dance moves are spot on.
WWE: NXT Takeover – The Blueprint #1 is a fantastic first shot in this four issue weekly mini. It pays respect to an absolute legend, while putting over the generation to whose success he dedicated the twilight of his career.
WWE: NXT Takeover – The Blueprint #1, published by Boom! Studios, released 05 September 2018. Written by Dennis Hopeless, illustrated by Jake Elphick, colored by Doug Garbark, lettered by Jim Campbell, covers available by Lucas Wernick (main), Marco D’Alfonso (subscription variant), and Audrey Mok (Kairi Sane Friendly Neighborhood Comics Variant).