Good evening nerds. Lonestar here, bringing you yet another NXT review and, because the WWE keeps hiring people, it also happens to be time for another…
Developmental Talent Signings Discussion!!!!
Yep, even though I just talked about the latest talent signing rumors the WWE went ahead and created some more. Obviously all of this should be taken with a grain of salt because nothing is official and even if it was any of the people mentioned could suffer an epiphany tomorrow and become a religious hermit. Or they could fail their physical. Either one.
Basically the WWE (probably) contacted people about a recent tryout camp they had a few months back that featured many talents associated with ROH, among other places. The names people are talking about that the WWE is looking to sign (assuming they pass physicals/don’t do anything loud and stupid between now and then) are California-based wrestler Willie Mack and ROH and PWG star Kevin Steen. Willie Mack, if you’re not familiar with him, is an African-American wrestler that sort of resembles Junkyard Dog if Junkyard Dog was shorter and could do a kip-up standing moonsault. Kevin Steen, on the other hand, I think we all know and are therefore wondering how the hell he managed to possibly get signed. Despite the dude’s reputation for profanity, beer guts and piledrivers, he does seem to be getting his house in order, dropping some weight and setting into motion what looks to be a goodbye program in ROH. Does this mean he’s WWE-bound? Who knows, but he’s definitely up to something.
Names that apparently didn’t get signed from said tryout camp include Rocky Romero and ACH. Romero’s got heaps of international experience but probably didn’t stand out enough for his size at 5’ 7” and less than 180 pounds. ACH, while very talented, has just barely started making a name for himself on the national independent scene and, frankly, should spend some more time in that environment before attempting the deeper waters of the WWE.
The last name mentioned in the rumors is Roderick Strong, but nobody knows if they said yes or no to him. But I will be shocked, SHOCKED I say, if the WWE does sign Strong, because unless I have missed some very recent improvement the dude is one of the blandest, most awkward wrestlers I have ever seen pick up a microphone, and his size and wrestling style aren’t helping his case either. He is very, very ROH, in the most negative sense of the word. Sorry Roddie; if they do sign you, more power to you.
With that out the way, here’s this week’s NXT:
Pretty eventful episode, right? I suppose the first thing to mention is that tonight was Bo Dallas’s last chance match against Big E and since he lost it means he’s now leaving NXT. As the announcers talked about the story behind the match and went over when each of the men involved became NXT champion it hit me just how long I’ve been watching this show and how Bo leaving really does mark the end of an era. But before I get nostalgic, we may as well go over…
A Brief History of my feelings toward Bo Dallas
Bo debuted on the very first episode of this version of NXT and even back then he was a cheesy goober whose in-ring prowess was overshadowed by the other wrestlers around him. Thankfully Seth Rollins got the nod to be the first NXT champion, but it wasn’t long before the WWE started shoving Bo down our throats whether we or not we actually liked him. It was Bo that got to face the Big Show in a crappy match on NXT. It was Bo that won the little mini tournament to get a Royal Rumble spot and forgettable follow-up feud with Wade Barrett. Bo, Bo, Bo. And then he beat Big E. Now, I wasn’t happy that Bo won the title (there were better options), but the thing that was infuriating was that he really didn’t turn fully heel until the WWE was absolutely sure they couldn’t salvage his character. Yeah, the dude cheated to win the title, but then he went straight into feuds with established heel characters, the company seemingly thumbing their nose at the fans not accepting their new golden boy.
Eventually they went full in on changing Dallas into the ridiculous, delusional, faux-motivational suck-up we know today and Bo switched from aggravating to humorous and frequently capable in the ring. It was still pretty clear that the WWE didn’t give a damn what we thought, but at least they changed the target of our rage into something appropriate and, dare I say it, entertaining.
Now, after months and months of Bo Dallas as the champion and focal point of the show, I think I’m ready to see him go probably fail again in the big leagues. Because even after all this time I still have no idea what the WWE sees in this jiggly, strange looking, inconsistent Floridian and fail to understand why they continue to put so much effort into making sure that this guy, above anyone else more handsome or charismatic or athletic or talented or ring-savy or whatever, gets chance after chance after chance to succeed. I guess you could say I’m sick of looking at his dumb face.
….where was I? Oh, right. So…
Bo Dallas leaving is the end of an era:
Despite the fact that I will probably never truly see the guy as a wise investment of time and resources, Bo’s had some fun moments on NXT and him getting forced off the show was a fitting and enjoyable swan song. His opening little promo kind of gave away the ending but whatever, it established a beginning to work a tantrum off of later.
Some might point out that nobody leaves NXT permanently and therefore “Loser leaves NXT” matches are stupid, but I think people understand that this week’s episode was Bo’s graduation, and just like any graduate he might visit NXT again in the future but it won’t really be the same. He’s moved on, just like Big E, Paige, the Wyatt Family, Emma and the Shield have moved on before him.
Dallas’s departure, along with the likes of Paige, Rusev and Adam Rose, seems as good a time as any to draw an arbitrary line and consider that chapter of NXT closed. There are really not that many wrestlers heavily featured during the show’s beginning that are still running around today and since it will theoretically become harder to graduate with all the other NXT people taking up spots on the main roster, it will be interesting to see who breaks out of the pack and who starts falling under the pressure. Consider the cut-throat second era of the New NXT open for business.
As for the rest of tonight’s show, I enjoyed the efforts of a certain…
I can think of two different timeframes where I viewed Sasha Banks as the least important diva on the show, and if she felt like that was the case recently then having the best two matches of the title tournament was a great way to put her name back out there and prove her worth. For her part, I thought Charlotte did a good job with her in-bubble promo in that it was believable but also planted the seeds for a potential Charlotte/Sasha feud in the future. After watching Banks tear it up with two very different wrestlers in the past month, I’d be very interested to see what Charlotte and Sasha could do together.
Speaking of talented ladies…
More Paige kneeing people on the main roster
Paige’s appeal on NXT was that she was a tough, scrappy, unique, gorgeous wrestler, right? Then why are we still treating her like she’s lucky to be competing with the worst divas on Raw? This is a lady who can believably knee someone in the face and then turn them into a human pretzel. Tonight’s match against Tamina was not great, mostly because Tamina seemed half asleep, but there were still glorious moments of Paige thrashing her opponent. More of that on Raw, less miracle wins against Aksana.
Behold the Steak
Adam Rose vs Camacho was yet another reminder that I will put up with the stupidest gimmicks and characters if they can turn in a good match at the end of the day. The Adam Rose character still doesn’t translate to a great in-ring product, but he’s getting there. I mean, this is the same dude as Leo Kruger so he can wrestle, he’s just still figuring out how much sizzle to put with his steak, to use an old-ass wrestling analogy.
Stars going up, stars going down
….I’m not sure how to talk about this subject in a way that won’t be interpreted by some of you (glares intensely) as an insult.
Tyson Kidd is a very good wrestler. He’s been a very good wrestler for a long time and will continue to be a very good wrestler for years to come. If his only career highlights are his tag team with Davey Boy Jr., his involvement in that one MITB match and a long string of great NXT matches then he’s had a successful career. He’s already in the top 2 or 3 percent of his profession when it comes to supporting himself via the money he’s earned working in his field. Hell, he’s quite probably done better in his line of work than you have in your line of work.
Having said that, Tyson is currently on NXT because what he can contribute to the product is not enough for the major shows. He is very probably on the “downward slope” of his career, unless something very drastic changes in his performance. That’s fine. That’s just what happens in wrestling. You cannot have a spot forever and very often you see people on their way down go against people on their way up. Obviously the person on his way up in the NXT title matchup is Adrian Neville. Tonight’s final in-ring promo confrontation really illustrated that while Neville will have to go through the same difficulties that have shaped Tyson’s career, he might just be improving at a fast enough clip to overcome them. Neither men are natural speakers, that much is obvious, but where Tyson delivered his promo this week like an excitable robot, Neville responded like a believable human being.
Every week Adrian Neville holds that title he gets more confident in his abilities and better at professional wrestling. This is why he’ll retain at NXT:Takeover and why Tyson Kidd will contribute to a great match, but ultimately stay where he is at, which is fine. In fact, it’s something to appreciate Kidd for.
So what did you think of NXT this week? What are your predictions for the NXT not-PPV? Do you really think Camacho has gained muscle mass? Let us know!