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NXT: Welcome Four Horsewomen’s Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir

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Mixed martial arts fans who have followed the Four Horsewomen – Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir and Shayna Baszler – had some good news this week.

WWE announced they had signed Duke and Shafir and they will report to the Performance Center. Fans who have followed Duke and Shafir know their combat sports journeys – “The Gun,” was a castmate on “The Ultimate Fighter 18” and has fought in Invicta Fighting Championship and UFC. Shafir comes from an accomplished judo background and competed in mixed martial arts. 

Both Rousey and Baszler are currently signed to WWE. Rousey made her debut at Wrestlemania, teaming up with Raw General Manager to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. She is currently on the Raw roster.

Baszler is competing in NXT and currently rules the women’s division as its champion.

As someone who has followed the careers of these four athletes, it’s cool to see all of them in WWE at the same time. The group has a strong fan base and all four women are accomplished athletes in their own right.

Fans and critics have speculated a Four Horsewomen reunion for quite some time, all the way back to when they confronted the Four Horsewomen of NXT during the Mae Young Classic.

The stars point to an eight-woman tag team match between the two groups, which could be a lot of fun, especially in the build up.

That said, fans shouldn’t be upset if WWE doesn’t team them all together right off the bat. If may be some time before the Universe sees all of them competing alongside each other. And before any 4HW fans get upset, the original Four Horsemen didn’t start out together, they were thrown together for a tag team promo because of time constraints.

With Duke and Shafir reporting to the Performance Center, it appears they will go to NXT before they move to the main roster – and contrary to what critics and fans may believe, it is not a demotion and anyone who watches NXT will tell you that.

Although NXT is a developmental territory, it has the best wrestling program on WWE TV – especially given that it has had three five-star matches so far in 2018.

NXT will be a great start for both Duke and Shafir as they will have a lot of time to learn the ropes – pun intended – and develop their craft. There is a mix of veteran and upcoming talent they could face as they work their way up the division.

There are different ways NXT creative could bring them onto the stage.

NXT fans already know Shafir as the future Mrs. Roderick Strong, bhat doesn’t mean she has to be the Elizabeth to his Macho Man. Say the Undisputed Era decides they want to add the NXT Women’s Championship to their trophy case and Strong says he knows this “badass woman who could dominate the division” and in walks in Marina Shafir.

Down the road if fans see Strong vs. Johnny Gargano, they could witness Shafir take on Candice LeRae.

For Duke, she starts out competing in the 2018 Mae Young Classic and works her way to the top. She finds herself in a program against Kairi Sane, saying she’ll actually make something of the Mae Young Classic.  

Eventually both Duke and Shafir challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship – they could potentially face Baszler or each other.

Again, these are only a couple of scenarios and I understand that they have the end game of Shafir or Duke taking on Baszler for the NXT Women’s title. Some fans are thinking “You’re out of your mind, they’ll never fight each other.”

The point is, both Duke and Shafir have the potential to go far in NXT and make it on their own merits.

It will be interesting to see how both Duke and Shafir progress in their new journey.

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NXT UK Premiers on WWE Network October 17

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WWE has officially announced the premier of NXT UK on the WWE Network, in a Twitter post that appeared on Wednesday morning.

Per the announcement, the UK division of the NXT brand will debut on October 17th at 8pm BST and will air weekly, featuring male and female wrestlers in the UK.

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Lita Praises Bianca Belair

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WWE Hall of Famer Lita had some high praise for NXT superstar Bianca Belair, noting her “great attitude” and how “physically gifted” she is, adding that “when I very first saw her she had that intangible star quality that I just want to see more”, during an interview with The Sun.

“Down at the performance center, all the guys at NXT are in the ring every day and in class,” Lita said. “They have everything they need to learn and there is so much talent in regards to physical ability and thinking about their character. But for someone to have that intangible star factor… Bianca Belair, along with some other the others there, is very talented.”

Lita is also impressed with how Blair uses her hair as a weapon.

“It’s crazy, no-one has ever used their hair as a weapon. It’s so cool how she thought of that and how it works. She sure has that star quality and uniqueness.”

 

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Johnny Gargano Talks NXT, Dream Matches

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NXT superstar Johnny Gargano remains one of the most popular superstars on the brand and while his callup to the main roster seems imminent, he prefers to stay on the NXT brand, a brand he takes a lot of pride in.

“I do not see why not, everyone’s dream – and mine too – is to wrestle at WrestleMania, but right now NXT is such a special place” Gargano said of a potential call up, during an interview with the Daily Star.

“We are focused on building something wrestling fans can be proud of, and we are building it together.”

But Gargano, during a recent media session, discussed some dream matches he would want to make a reality when he does make it to the main roster.

“[…] so I’m going up to the main roster…after I win the NXT title and everything’s done. After that, man, I’m gonna say, obviously Daniel Bryan” Gargano said. “That’s a dream match that a lot of people would love to see now.”

“I think I just posted a Tweet recently that the internet went nuts for, and that’s me and Seth Rollins,” Gargano said. “Because, of course, I wore my Captain America Infinity War gear and he just wore the Thanos gear, so you never know what can happen there.”

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