of course they are not the same they were 3-4 years ago. nor am I expecting them to be. and it's not about "sports entertainment" or "wrestling" oriented really. It's the fact that their first and foremost role isn't developemntal anymore. the format changed when they stopped shooting a month in advance, and when they went 2 hours. so with that, you run the show completely differently. the main difference what still sets NXT from SD/RAW is that the shows aren't just filler shit from one PPV to the next, which RAW and SD really are.
But ok, back to comparing the "wrestling" and "sports entertainment" aspect. I'm not saying that it's not true at all what you are saying, it is to a degree. but it was always going to be that way with them getting bigger and going live. I'm not saying I like it either. but you have taken some examples, where there are good examples also of aspects that were in the past 2 years give or take, more wrestling oriented. Let's say it was a mix. Especially whole Finns run. But yeah, is Kross with his shit an example of what the new "era" will look like? Possibly, and I don't like it. Hopefully it's just him and they move on from him, cus I don't see any other main stars on the show that follows the same formula.
I think you are overreacting with: "a barrage of bad formulaic matches". I mean yeah, the wrestling surely wasn't up to the standard that they've set for them, but it was always really really high, especially what we saw on TOs where they pushed the envelope with every show, which was unreal. But on the weekly show... yeah, I get what you are saying, but it's not like there weren't there before. In fact maybe there wasn't, beacuse it was half the size production in terms of show lenght and talent available.
In terms of characters you've mentioned... can't call myself a big of all of those. But Garganno did all there was to do in NXT, so comedic gimmick was the only way he could go, other than the RAW/SD where he would have no chance. Austin Theory, nothing that stood out about him, other than his "athletic ability", so I'm fine with him getting some stuff to do there, as he was moved from RAW due to allegations most likely. Shotzi, The Way, Grimes, can't say I find it funny or cool, but I understand why they are doing it. Dexter Lumis, was not a fan due to boring ring work but he is starting to grow on me. Tyler Rust, lol notsure what you can do with that guy yet. New star? Come on. LA Knight, hope we never have to take him seriously tbh.
As for Priest... not sure how NXT botched it. He was never NXT title type material. he lingered a bit too long with Garganno sure, but they obviously wanted him to move on to RAW for whatever reason. but could have he been bigger in NXT? Eh, not sure he would take a loss to Finn or Kross and that's it.
Sorry for the long post, since I don't post often I kinda got into it lol Not saying I completely disagree with you on things, but just trying to give some perspective. Cus I can't say it's just THAT bad, even though it's obviously worse. I see how they are trying to do with SD something... but it's just seems like a lot of creative heabutts from different sides and some compromises that are going nowhere. NXT s obviously a mix that wants to balance things out but they are struggling. It's still the only show that's watchable for me at least.