I bet you didn’t realize there was a Network-exclusive pay-per…, err, Special Event this week, did you? I remembered by sheer luck, and, as usual, I’ll be watching with Nick. You should be watching, too –even if this event feels far less important and “must-see” than the first NXT special, Arrival.
Before I get into the card, allow me to air a grievance, would you? WWE invested A LOT of time and money into NXT. It shows in the production quality, and the talent of the workers assigned to the brand. But if NXT really is the future it’s pegged to be, then WWE needs to start embracing it.
I watched all three hours of Raw, and I couldn’t tell you if WWE mentioned the show once. I’m pretty sure they did, but it wasn’t memorable. That’s a problem.
For all the time WWE needs to fill on its programs every week (including 3 hours of Raw, and 2 of Smackdown), there is definitely room for a weekly NXT plug. “And now, the (insert sponsor name here) (insert sponsor-related pun-name here) of the week,” followed by some awesome highlight featuring guys like Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, The Ascension, Tyler Breeze… the list goes on. Your three-man announce team has something to vamp about, before getting back to whatever Kane is up to.
Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd
This match is for the NXT Championship, but there is much, much more on the line. Tyson Kidd has to prove that he’s more than Natalya’s sidekick husband, and that he deserved that micro-push he received leading into Money in the Bank. Shining here could land him back on the main roster. Neville, on the other hand, is making his first big defense since winning the title at NXT Arrival, and has to prove he’s as “top guy” as he’s made out to be. Also, he has to live up to his super-clever moniker, which if you don’t know, you should .
I’ll be angry if: This match goes short, or is overshadowed by some silly gimmick. That includes Total Divas nonsense. Also, I won’t be too happy if Tyson jobs out, then pulls a “oh yeah? Well I’m on the main roster, so this doesn’t matter.” Put Neville, NXT, and the championship OVER.
I’ll keep my cool if: These guys get a good 15-20 minutes to do their thing, starting with solid technical work with some flash peppered in… moving into a showcase for both of their innovative and exciting offenses. I’ll be even happier if ANY of it is mentioned on Raw.
Charlotte vs. Natalya
This match is for the NXT Womens title, which was vacated when Paige debuted on the main roster and won the Divas title. By that logic, Natalya can’t win… but logic and pro wrestling are often mutually-exclusive concepts. Seeing Ric Flair and (as advertised, but not expected) Bret Hart at ringside should be equal parts cool and horribly depressing.
I’ll be angry if: The legendary relatives overshadow the super-talented women in the ring. Either woman is made to look stupid. Natty has had a rollercoaster ride in WWE, and Charlotte’s is just beginning… Stupid stories or lame angles, on what’s supposed to be a huge show, could derail either woman (or both) for good
I’ll keep my cool if: Charlotte wins the title in a hard-fought, competitive match, that leaves the door open for a rematch or two. OR, if Natty wins the same. OR, if Charlotte absolutely annihilates Natalya, and gets to be a dominant, cocky champion. You know, the kind of champion you’d expect her to be, considering she’s RIC FLAIR’S DAUGHTER, and apparently, Ric’s only kid to inherit his skill. Sorry, David, but I’m not sorry.
The Ascension vs. Kalisto & El Local
Don’t get me started on the El Local thing. I’m pretty sure we all know who’s under the hood… if you want to use him as a masked wrestler, that’s FINE. But to quite literally name him “The Local?” NYWC is proof that you can repackage someone under a mask, and with 10 minutes of thought, come up with a way better, more logical gimmick for someone…and have it be a big improvement. So much for my not getting started…
This one is for the NXT Tag titles. The Ascension is a cool gimmick and look, and one that I don’t have much hope for on the main roster. Kalisto was tons of fun on the indies as Samuray del Sol. I haven’t seen any of his work in NXT, but he should be a can’t-miss prospect.
I’ll be angry if: Kalisto is chumped out, by associating with a joke gimmick. He’s too talented to be brushed aside for the sake of a cheap laugh. He’s what Sin Cara should have been – the cool, talented, charismatic Hispanic superstar who can take over for Rey Mysterio. He should be treated better than the real Rey Mysterio, who is to me what RVD is to Nick.
I’ll keep my cool if: Kalisto, and to an extent, El Local, are allowed to look competitive and competent, whether in victory or defeat. The Ascension either needs competition or a promotion; so hopefully, they’ll get one or the other here. If not, this match will serve as little more than filler.
Sami Zayn vs Tyler Breeze
The number one contenders match for the NXT Championship could, and very well should, steal the show. Zayn is one of the most talented workers in the world (year, I said it). Breeze is talented in his own right, and has put a modern spin on the pretty-boy gimmick. These guys should be can’t-miss. Should be.
I’ll be angry if: This match goes short, or either guy looks stupid. Honestly, considering how much I love both of these guys, I’d bet good money this won’t make me angry at all.
I’ll keep my cool if: These guys get 15 minutes to go out there and do what they do best. Whoever wins, we’re guaranteed a great NXT Championship match at the next big event.
Adam Rose vs Camacho
Hey, did you know Camacho was still on the roster? This match doesn’t feel so big, even if Rose has made his way to the main roster. I have a feeling this will be more of an angle than a match, so with that said…
I’ll be angry if: This goes long. What this needs to be is a quick showcase for Rose. Full entrance, couple of big moves, his “Party Foul” snapmare driver, and a 3-count. MAYBE a little bit of selling into a comeback, but not much. This match is all about what happens after the bell…
I’ll keep my cool if: This ends in about three minutes, followed by the entrance of our favorite Real Americans. Jack Swagger beats the hell out of Rose, while Zeb Colter runs him down on the mic. You could even have him challenge Rose to a match at Payback, which happens to air this Sunday on the WWE Network. Wrestling 101, kids.
That’s it…for now, at least. There are some notable names missing from the card, including almost all the women, Mojo Rawley, CJ Parker, Big Cass, Corey Graves, Aiden English…the list goes on. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bonus match or two added to the card.
That’s all for now, folks. I’ll be back Sunday with my Payback preview. I’ve got a few other things in the works, including a look at Jim Ross’ boxing debut, and a new weekly gimmick that will hopefully amuse you as much as it does me. Not to mention the pending return of the (patent-pending) Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of the Week series. Get excited.