Friday, February 28, 2014

NXT Goes Primetime on WWE Network

While the current WWE has a lot of people feeling depressed and blue assuming they don’t screw it up the future looks bright for the WWE. That might not include the WWE Network that failed its first test at a live event with NXT Arrival. At first I thought it was my bootlegged feed in Canada but after checking on Twitter realized this was a problem for more than just people outside of U.S scrambling to find a way to watch this. The network hit a major hiccup right before the main event ladder match for the NXT Title. This happens at Wrestlemania 30 and the WWE Network may not be able to get off the ground.

That said, NXT went to primetime sort of to the U.S audience in a PPV kind of feel event that was the first of its kind for the WWE Developmental system based in Orlando at Full Sail University. They kicked this show off with a bang with a re-match of what many were calling match of the year last year between Sami Zayn and Antonio Csearo. The two former Indy stars that both worked in ROH and many other places found a way to exceed that epic two out of three falls contest. One of the highlights of this epic contest featured a new twist on an awesome spot from the original match.

Zayn in the original match dove through the corner robes and landed a diving attack on an unsuspecting Csearo on the other side. This time the same dive was met with a vicious upper-cut shot from Csearo. Imagine that in storyline of wrestling a guy actually scouted a previous match and had an answer for it. That is some rare and very seldom utilized story telling. In the end Zayn playing off the injured knee that they had made evident heading into the match fought hard as Csearo would pound on that weak point. Again this was great storytelling. Zayn despite his efforts and battling through the pain that Csearo dished out on that injured knee could not over come. The end would come with a big uppercut and a neutralizer for the three count.

A 30 minute classic that ended with a dejected Sami Zayn in the corner who Csearo offered his hand too and helped to his feet and the two embraced. How good was the match? COO of the WWE and the guy who runs the shows at NXT HHH, had to take a moment to tweet to the world a picture of the two in the ring immediately after it concluded.on his screen back in back where he was running things. He proclaimed it to be an awesome match. Which by everyone’s accounts it was. It actually was even better than the original 2 out 3 falls contest.

This proved a couple things the first being that Csearo is ready for his push and eventual baby face turn. While Sami Zayn has gotten all he can from NXT and is clearly ready to make the leap to the WWE Main Roster. People seeing this feud return on the main roster will be in for an absolute treat. This match will be better than many that will be on the actual Wrestlemania card. In fact other than the match that Daniel Bryan eventual ends up in it might be better than everything else. It was that good.

To be honest nothing else on this show would match this match on the show. Nothing would even come close to be honest. You can understand why it led off the show though as a way to hook the audience and sell the NXT brand to a new audience. It did that in spades.

We go from the good of the future to the very bad of the future. Mojo Rawley is someone the WWE is high on and when you know his football background and his massive size you get why they are. But his gimmick as a guy that has had 10 too many red bulls and runs around like a much lesser version of the Ultimate Warrior is doomed to fail on the main roster should it remain. He beat an equally troubling talent in C.J Parker who until recently was playing a baby face hippy character that was not getting over so they flipped the gimmick heel. To early to tell if this will save it but early signs are it could. No shock the Rawley went over with his finisher which is basically the male version of the ‘Rear View.”  Rawley is just terrible and is no where near ready but given his look likely he sees the main roster long before he is truly ready. I don’t think any amount of time could make me love that gimmick.

We got to see Xavier Wood and Tyler Breeze end up getting squashed before a match could take place by Alexander Rusev who has been getting a ton of push with promos since his debut in the Royal Rumble. Rusev has had his gimmick slightly tweaked but is looking like he could see a major push once he hit’s the main roster in ring. Woods has had a pretty unsuccessful run since going to the main roster being paired with R-Truth and basically replacing Brodus Clay with a bad dancing gimmick. Breeze has the best gimmick going in NXT and I expect him to get the call to the main roster soon. He should be able to get this whole modernization of the old Rick “The Model” Martel gimmick over on the main roster.

Speaking of bad pushes on main roster and awful dancing gimmicks we have Emma taking on the NXT Women’s Champion Paige. This match was an attempt to re-habilitate Emma as she dominated the offensive portion of this match. I have not been a fan of Emma’s work but I admit this was her best in ring performance to date. In the end Paige would come out on top and retain her title and it led to are second hugging it out finish to a match on this card. Paige it has been rumoured has been held back on the NXT roster based on her young age. Make no mistake about it there is a great feud to happen between A.J Lee and Paige in the future and with no real challenger for A.J it might make sense to do it sooner rather than later but they look like they are heading to a Lee vs. Snuka Mania match for Divas title if it even makes the Mania card.

The final match which people saw to varying amounts saw Bo Dallas the longest reigning NXT Champion fought Adrian Neville for the title in the first ladder match in history of NXT for the title. The shame is I saw very little of this match but from what I did it was a pretty low risk ladder match in which we saw the title change hands. This likely indicates that Bo Dallas maybe getting his second shot at the main roster with no longer having his title tying him to the NXT brand. Neville while he is a breath taking high flyer is one of the worst talkers on the WWE roster. If this guy is ever to debut on the main roster he needs a manger mouth piece badly. Perhaps some foreshadowing from the pre-show in which Paul Heyman stated that whoever won the title match was someone he would consider as a client. Did he mean that literally I guess time will tell but that would mean Neville would need to go heel and he has a move set that screams baby face. Yet when was the last time we have seen a baby face with a manger in WWE. It has been a long time I am thinking.

The best thing NXT has going for it is that this is essentially Paul Levesque’s (HHH) pride and joy and next too his three actual daughter his baby more or less. Prior to the even HHH did a conference call in which he spoke about the future of NXT and said as much? You can go to Between the Ropes and hear yourself the glowing terms Paul talks about the NXT brand and the WWE Performance Center.

NXT is going to be the path to the WWE main roster and you will have to go through there to get to the big show no pun intended. It has had its share of home runs with Wyatt Family and Shield but had its fair share of strikeouts with Woods and Emma. Where some others talents fall somewhere in the middle like Big E Langston and Summer Rae on the main roster. The trick will be knowing who to keep as is and bring them to main roster and who they need to give something new too heading to the main roster. That will become trickier to do with NXT now so available to everyone including folks in the U.S

While the current product seems to be a rather bad fitting jig-saw puzzle the WWE in build a large stable of other pieces they can draw from to plug into the mix. If you’re a talent on the main roster it is safe to say if you reside in the lower mid-card or bottom of the card to off T.V you really need to watch your back because the list of guys and gals chomping at the bit to take your place on the main roster is growing. The WWE in terms of depth may never be as strong as it is right now. The key will be can that use that depth to create the next generation of top level talents the likes of Cena, Orton, Bryan, Punk and others. That remains to be seen.