If there was an overarching lesson or theme I took away from Wednesday’s NXT: Takeover special, it was that there’s a distinct difference between the “have’s” and the “have nots”, the “WWE ready” and the “Still Developing”. While that’s not a major issue in the grand scheme of things, it could potentially cause a problem down the road. . .If it hasn’t already.
Having worked through a good chunk of the WWE roster, its time to take our eyes to Full Sail University, home of NXT. The world has been focused far more of WWE’s developmental as of late, what with the ESPN piece (which was quite good and should be watched by one and all) and more importantly, with the news that we may have lost both Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami until 2016 due to injuries.
Today, we’ll look at 3 NXT talents who are (for the most part) in need of new finishers. Remember, I give each talent a pair of moves to end their match, almost always from the categories of Power, Strike, Aerial, or Submission.
We begin, as you knew we would, with one of my favorite NXT talents, and most certainly a polarizing figure. .
There are, as always, a lot of directions one could go when reflecting back on last night’s NXT. I could discuss the debut of one Solomon Crowe, which I liked a whole lot more than my compatriots Jason and Liam did. (Obviously Crowe isn’t big enough to take over the whole show, but he’s starting with Parker, just like Owens did, so that’s something.)
I could also spend my time in mourning over the way my favorite NXT tandem, the Vaudevillains, have become so much of an afterthought that they were, for all intents and purposes, squashed by Enzo and Cass, a duo I don’t like as much as many of you do.
Instead, I will choose to spend the majority of my time talking about an NXT talent who honestly is likely not going to be spending much more time at Full Sail University. I speak, of course, of Adrian Neville.
They say that you’re only as old as you feel. I’m not sure if that is entirely true, since I feel pretty good for my 31 years, but considering my sleep schedule, I’m either a radio host for early morning drive-time or an octogenarian. Based on my slightly stammering performance on my first (and hopefully not last) appearance on NAIpod, I think we can all safely say I’m no radio host.
The point I’m trying to make is that I started falling asleep during the Zayn / Owens main event on Wednesday’s NXT:Rival. I know, I know, that’s shameful, but its true. It wasn’t that the match was bad – far from it, though I do think the number of reverse chinlocks might have had something to do with it. Besides, its not like this is the first time. Ask Doc Manson (@DocManson); I’ve been falling asleep during wrestling shows for close to a decade now.
Like I said… I’m an old man.
So this morning, at the bright eyed and bushy tailed hour of 5 AM (which is when my body naturally woke up, I’ll have you know), I decided to re-watch NXT. Not just the Owens and Zayn match, which I still hadn’t seen the end to, but the entire card. NXT is that good.
I also wanted to WATCH it. The first time I was live tweeting it, and as any of you who have done that knows, you’re not really watching wrestling when live tweeting. You’re listening to it while typing, which is perhaps why Michael Cole is so reviled among the NAIWC – most of the time during RAW we’re only hearing his voice.
So replacing my Chromebook with an actual looseleaf notebook, I sat down to record an NXT version of DC’s Network Diaries. As always, this isn’t a review or a recap. This is simply a few of my thoughts. I’ll share a Highlight, a Lowlight and a So What?, a takeaway from the match. All set? Onwards, then!
On this week’s NXT, Tyler Breeze lost to Hideo Itami in the opening round of the NXT title tournament. Prince Pretty has been essentially an afterthought since the new wave of talents have entered NXT, and that’s really not that surprising.
Tyler Breeze should have been gone from NXT months ago.
One of the hot button topics of the last few months has been “What should WWE do with the growing popularity of NXT?” Thanks to the influx of new talent and the success of R-Evolution, people can’t seem to get enough debate over how WWE should capitalize on it.
There are many out there, Jason and Liam included, who seem to think that doing nothing makes the most sense. These folks, and they’re not wrong, mind you, don’t want to mess with a good thing. The dangers of overexposure and what not. Like I said, they’re not wrong, and I can totally see their points, but I’m a greedy type of person, and I want more, damnit.
Others, and I’ve subscribed to this theory now and again, suggest that NXT becomes its own brand, taking over Smackdown. This would cut down on the overexposure of WWE stars, increase TV time for the young guys, and everybody is happy. Again, not an idea I’m totally against, though it also has its faults. Putting NXT on SyFy (Smackdown) means they now have to answer to corporate masters, so the quality of the program might suffer. For those rabid NXT fans (much like the ECW fans of the mid 90’s), this just can’t be.
Today I’m going to offer a third alternative, my vision for WWE and NXT in 2015. It is just a vision, and I invite you to point out faults or offer alternatives in the discussion below or on Twitter. Much like a Reese’s, there’s no wrong way to plan this out.
In many ways, the current WWE product is tailor made for the age of social media. . . Quick matches, a LOT of commercial breaks, plenty of time to live-Tweet, poke fun, and as the New Age Insiders proclaim, to Be Heard.
Last night’s NXT extravaganza, Takeover: R-Evolution was not, by definition, “current WWE product.”
By name and by definition, NXT is THE place to go if a WWE fan wants to see the next generation of professional wrestling talent. As we close out 2014, we few fans of NXT (a topic I’ll cover in a future column) are abuzz with the names Balor, Neville and Zayn. We are on pins and needles waiting for the debut of one Kevin Owens and adore counting the seconds of Baron Corbin’s matches. We fully expect that by this name next year, a good portion of these stars will have been “called up” to RAW and Smackdown.
Which begs the question… Who’s “NXT”? Who will the breakout stars of 2015 be down at Full Sail University. As always, I have some thoughts.
It’s no secret that the WWE’s “minor league” system is my current favorite hour of wrestling a week, and while my first few editions had WAYYY too much bias in them, I’d like to think I’ve sorted that out a bit.
It’s OK, Bull Dempsey. . . I still love you. . .
Anyway, I base my top ten rankings on a number of factors. Current storyline, ability to connect with fans and most importantly, WWE potential. Please remember that this is my own rankings. You’re more than welcome to post your own below.