Pro Wrestling

9 Takeaways From This Week’s NXT Source:

This week’s NXT show featured matches that were taped just before the live Takeover special which aired on Saturday, and if you haven’t seen that yet, you have really missed out.  But while this secondary show didn’t have the big matches of Saturday’s special, it did have some fun bouts and a whole lot of fallout from Takeover, with an eye to the future now that some of NXT’s biggest talents have moved to the main roster.  Plus, it was thirty minutes longer than the show usually runs, and you hadn’t watched enough wrestling this week, right?

9. Enzo and Big Cass Should Graduate From NXT

Quite simply, Enzo and Cass are ready for the big stage.  If the Dudleyz hadn’t shown up on Raw, odds were good that the Realest Guys in the Room would have been the ones attacking The New Day in their hometown.  The fan reaction would have probably almost matched that of Bubba Ray and D’von, too, because people clearly love those two goofballs.  They might not be the best wrestlers on the planet, but they’ve stolen liberally from one of the most popular tag teams of all time, The New Age Outlaws.  Almost their entire act is catchphrases, ones designed to get the crowd to interact with them, and they make sure that the crowd is right with them every time.  The fact that every successful catchphrase they come up with is another one that can be slapped on a T-shirt doesn’t hurt, either.  The interaction doesn’t stop when the match begins, either, and ensures that the audience is always paying attention, rather than silently watching.  From initiating a “SAWFT” chant before delivering a big move to searching for Enzo and yelling at him to “Go up top!” to deliver their Rocket Launcher finisher, this team knows how to keep the spotlight on them, and it’s an act that deserves a chance to shine on Raw. Source:

8. Chad Gable Is The Future

Ever since Kurt Angle left WWE, the search has been on for his replacement.  How hard can it be to find a successful amateur wrestling champion who seamlessly transitions into pro wrestling, who can flip between an All-American goofball and an intense wrestling machine at the drop of a hat?  Pretty difficult, actually, as years of attempting to fit former amateur wrestlers like Sylvester Terkay, Shelton Benjamin and Jack Swagger into similar gimmicks failed to find anywhere near as much success as they had found with Angle.  However, while it’s still early yet, they may have finally found a suitable replacement in Chad Gable.  He may not have any gold medals, but he did wrestle at an Olympics, and if his start in NXT is any indication, he’s definitely trying to hit that target of “goofy, oblivious guy who can still outwrestle you badly”.  It’s an act that play as a good guy or bad guy depending on whether fans love his goofiness or find him annoying, but it’s his wrestling skills that will truly give him the necessary staying power.  During last night’s 8-man tag match, he did the lion’s share of the work for his team and looked good in a losing cause. Source:

7. Eva Marie Still Sucks

All right, she’s bad.  She is never going to start her own Divas Revolution on the strength of her very limited wrestling skill.  Putting her in the ring against an equally limited Carmella probably wasn’t the best move on WWE’s part, either.  However, for those all too ready to dump on her lack of ability, you may be forgetting how truly horrible she was before she went back to NXT to actually train to be a wrestler.  She was laughable on offense and couldn’t take a bump to save her life.  She’s not anywhere close to good now, but at least she has an aura of someone who at least knows what she’s doing now.  Besides, the crowd already hates her with a fiery passion, and as a heel, you can’t buy that kind of credibility.  Given that she’s been teaming with the soon-to-debut Nia Jax at live events, one would suspect she won’t be forced to carry the wrestling part of her act for much longer anyway. Source:

6. Bull Dempsey Got Bull-Fit

Something about a smiling, happy Bull Dempsey just doesn’t sit well.  And if he’s lost weight, then it doesn’t really show.  But he seems so upbeat, it’s hard not to believe that he actually did, and that’s the trick.  If The Big Show can get his head shaved and have announcers lower his weight by 30 pounds, then it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that Bull could have slimmed down a little, even if he hasn’t.  But the real fun is that they took the incredibly vulgar chant being thrown at Bull when he was a boring heel and turned it into something that an entire arena of people can yell and still remain a PG environment, and they got a New York crowd to play along.  Bull still doesn’t seem like a wrestler who will amount to much outside of NXT, but by showing a willingness to change into and embrace a really goofy gimmick, he showed that there’s a better chance than there was when he was the snooze-worthy “Last of a Dying Breed”.;jsessionid=C8DCC8E75C0C53907C2D9C49F0CFE900?r30_r1_r1:page=32 Source:

5. “The Drifter” Elias Samson

Now this is a guy we should want to know more about.  Mostly used as enhancement talent for television, Samson suddenly came out in front of the Brooklyn crowd billing himself as “The Drifter”, which apparently means he carries a guitar and wears cowboy boots and a bandanna around his neck.  But it’s the mystery that’s intriguing.  Does this new character have any depth beyond the name?  Is he planning to open a chain of chicken restaurants?  Can he actually play that guitar, or is he just going to hit people with it?  After all, Jeff Jarrett turned that into a solid career option.  This represents one of the best things about NXT: On any given day, someone who’s been around for months, probably even been on TV, can suddenly appear in a completely new persona, and because it’s developmental, they don’t have to explain it, or write a complicated story behind their sudden transformation, it’s literally “Here’s a new thing for them to try out and see if it catches on”.  This applies to Tye Dillinger’s “Perfect 10” act, as well. Source:

4. Bayley’s Family

It wasn’t enough that Bayley got to deliver a backstage speech after her title win, where she instantly became even more lovable (if such a thing were possible) by celebrating her massive victory after two years of trying, while simultaneously breaking our hearts with a plaintive and completely real “I wish I were going with them” in reference to her 4 Horsewomen compatriots, who are off to the main roster after this week.  No, she had to go and bring her family into the shot for a big group hug.  In a world where professional wrestling is still seen as a questionable career path for anyone, it was heart-warming to see an entire family supporting Bayley in her decision to follow her dream of becoming a wrestler. Source:

3. Jushin “Thunder” Liger Will Return

While he didn’t appear on last night’s show, Liger was mentioned in Breeze’s post-loss promo, who suggested that their whole feud might not be over quite yet.  And it appears that the Gorgeous One might be correct, as Liger has been informing people that he will be working more dates with WWE in the near future.  It may have taken 50 years to get Jushin Liger into a WWE ring, but it looks like he won’t be leaving it after just one match.  And while it probably wouldn’t be the best for Liger to become a continuous wrestling presence on NXT (the novelty would likely wear off quickly), he would be an effective means of introducing a new, younger wrestler that he could mentor in a feud against Prince Pretty. Source:

2. Becky Lynch

While Charlotte has her heritage going for her as a character and Sasha Banks is The Boss and possibly the best female wrestler on the roster right now, it’s been hard to pin down Becky Lynch’s persona.  She is Irish, but Sheamus pretty much has that gimmick completely locked down, so there has been some worry that she might end up being the forgotten one in the whole Divas Revolution.  Well, if the Brooklyn crowd’s response to Becky is any indication, she’s already won the fans over by virtue of her entrance theme being really easy to sing along with.  And she does puns!  Actually, she’s done puns for a long time on her official WWE Twitter account, but it appears to have translated into her on-screen character as well, notably when she spent part of her pre-match promo with Charlotte comparing Emma to an Australian sheepdog (because they’re both “rough”, you see).  A crazy redhead who dresses like a steampunk reject and enjoys ridiculous puns?  That’ll put some butts in the seats. Source:

1. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

While it was announced last week, we got a little more information about the tournament set up in memory of Dusty Rhodes, and, from the sound of things, his second-greatest contribution to Pay-Per-View (the first being War Games), the BattleBowl.  Okay, it’s not going to be quite that complicated, but few things were crazier than an entire PPV booked around tag teams chosen “at random” and forced to fight each other, with the winners ending up in a battle royal at the end of the show.  Actually, if that were the format of the Dusty Classic (we still don’t actually know, we’re just assuming it’s a tournament), with the winner of the battle royal becoming the #1 contender to the NXT Title or something, that wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.  Nevertheless, we now know at least some of the participants, as Neville entered himself (no word on his partner), and Baron Corbin, despite being billed as the “Lone Wolf”, will be involved with his partner Rhino, who was chosen by William Regal.  That team will face The Ascension in the first match of the Classic next week on NXT.  Maybe they can call themselves “The Lone Wolves” to maximize the irony. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.