Greetings, citizens. We’ve got some stuff to talk about before we get to the weekly NXT review, namely…
Developmental Signing News!
Yes, yes, you might have heard the news/rumors-until-they-actually-show-up already about two big, freshly independent talents getting signed, but since they’ll probably debut on NXT, I get to talk about them as well.
Mother-effing KENTA (that’s in all caps for accuracy and not emphasis) appears to be heading our way this summer. KENTA is probably best known to WWE fans as the originator of the GTS, but he was also a hugely talented Japanese cruiserweight that eventually took the heavyweight spotlight in the NOAH federation through a combination of skill, timing and kicking people really, really hard. He was and still is a massive influence on many independent and formerly independent wrestlers (including Daniel Bryan and C M Punk) and looks to test his abilities in the WWE. I don’t think I have to explain why a shorter Japanese man might not get a fair shake in the company, but KENTA is also probably the most highly regarded and successful Japanese wrestler to sign with WWE since…..well, maybe ever. He would be the equivalent of a Daniel Bryan signing with the biggest Japanese company, so it’s a big deal.
Also a big deal is the rumored signing of Prince Devitt, one of the main stays of the cruiserweight division in New Japan Pro Wrestling and recent main event player there as well. Honestly, I’m surprised it took the WWE this long to snatch him up because the dude is ripped, handsome and, ever since his main-event heel run, works a surprisingly WWE-style heel character anyway.
With the WWE picking up smaller wrestlers with such insane pedigrees, I guess it makes sense that they’re not looking to sign many other people in that size bracket anymore. One of the last smaller dudes to get in before the supposed policy change was Drake Younger, but now that he’s reported to developmental it seems apparent he was hired on as a referee. That news might come as a disappointment to his fans, but I say good for him. Younger has put in years of hard work and deserves the consistent pay, especially with his growing family, and if he really wants to pursue the wrestling thing later his foot will already be in the door of the biggest wrestling company in the world.
Now, on to NXT!
Welp, I stalled and wrote 400 words that have nothing to do with this week’s show, so I might as well stop beating around the bush.
This was a fluffy week.
Look, sometimes NXT hits all the right notes for me and I’m invested in 3/4s of the show or more. Other times it’s mostly stuff I’d fast forward through if I had the power. This week’s show was definitely of the latter variety, which also means I really don’t have anything insightful to say about a lot of what went on. The Ascension is still the Ascension. Mojo is still Mojo. Big Cazz still exists only because of Enzo Amore’s previous work. CJ Parker is still taking up space, despite occasional moments of humor.
Usually NXT succeeds on a weekly basis, despite the snail-like growth of its wacky characters, thanks to support from its women’s division and main-event scene but…
Even the dependable stuff this week was disappointing.
Charlotte vs Alexa Bliss was, on paper, a matchup between two of the least experienced ladies on the roster, and it went about as well you’d expect. Alexa had pretty much no offense beyond pinfall attempts, but even those were awkwardly executed. Charlotte for her part dominated Bliss with extremely repetitive holds, to the point that she began getting “boring” chants from an audience that has somehow managed to find something to do during Ascension squash matches. That’s saying something.
Even the main event, filled with people you’d think would do very well together, was disappointing somehow. Not that it was bad, you just have something in mind when you think of the combination of the three wrestlers involved and for me it didn’t fulfill my expectations. The end result does, however, potentially lead to an interesting storyline…
The eventual Sami Zayn heel turn.
Either by choice or by accident, Sami Zayn has been portrayed as a good wrestler, but not a wrestler good enough to win the big, important match when everything is on the line. Think about it; to a competitive athlete that would be maddening. This week Sami dropped the word “obsession” rather casually in a conversation with the new backstage interviewer about his number one contender’s match and I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t the first seed planted in a slow heel turn, in which Sami eventually embraces the dark side in order to get the NXT title he so deeply desires. Wouldn’t that be interesting though, to see Sami lose his s**t about the fact that Adrian Neville somehow passed him to become NXT champion? I could see that turning into an awesome feud.
What did you think of NXT this week? Are you excited to see what Kalisto can do against the Ascension? Do you think Sami Zayn will turn heel? Would gets to the main roster first, Mojo Rawley or someone with a second setting? Let us know!