WWE‘s Royal Rumble weekend is a few days away, which means the Road to Wrestlemania is about to begin. While many fans are excited for the annual 30 man over the top battle royal – as well as the first women’s Royal Rumble match – there are folks who are looking forward to this weekend’s NXT Takeover: Philadelphia event.
This Saturday’s NXT Takeover, which takes place the night before the Royal Rumble in the Wells Fargo Center, features five matches on the main broadcast, one being the NXT Championship bout between Andrade “Cien” Almas and challenger Johnny Gargano.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 25, 2018
Also on tap is the NXT women’s title match between Ember Moon and challenger Shayna Baszler and the tag team championship bout with titleholders The Undisputed Era – Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly – facing former champions The Authors of Pain.
There are two non-title matches on the card. Adam Cole will face Aleister Black. Although Black and Cole are not fighting for NXT gold, they will no doubt beat the tar out of each other as their match is under Extreme Rules.
Rounding out the card is Kassius Ohno, who will face off against the Velveteen Dream in a match announced by Triple H in a media call.
WWE has made a tradition of holding NXT Takeover events on the night before bigger pay per view events. While the WWE and NXT Universes get to devour two nights of wrestling, there are some fans who will watch and enjoy NXT, then are exhausted the next day.
There are also multiple wrestling events happening this weekend, such as New Japan Pro Wrestling’s New Beginning of Sapporo events on Saturday and Sunday.
Even though it seems like there is too much wrestling for a person to consume in the course of two days, wrestling fans should at least carve a little bit of time of time during the weekend – at least 2-3 hours – to watch NXT Takeover: Philadelphia.
One reason is fans will appreciate the quality of wrestling put on by the performers at the event.
For being designated as WWE’s developmental brand, NXT has some of the best wrestling in the world. This is a credit to the performers – both experienced and new – who sign with the company and the trainers at the WWE Performance Center.
But the performances are turned up to 11 at Takeover events. Every NXT Takeover event in the last year has produced a “Match of the Year,” candidate from non-title matches like Velveteen Dream vs. Black at NXT Takeover: Houston to the WWE United Kingdom title bout between Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate at NXT Takeover: Chicago.
The NXT championship match between Gargano and Almas has the potential to be the match of the year. Their bout at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III set the bar to an unattainable height that evening. Their rematch on an October episode of NXT also delivered.
The other three contests have the potential to steal the show. Fans can expect Bazler to turn up the intensity when she faces Moon for the title, while Cole v. Black will be a memorable slugfest.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) January 25, 2018
Fans will also be in store for an entertaining match between the Authors of Pain and the former reDRagon. Can O’Reilly and Fish use their speed and technical skills to out match and out class AOP?
There’s also the possibility that Ohno and Dream could be a breakaway. Even though this match came out of nowhere, both wrestlers have the capability of putting on great matches.
Viewers at home not only have the opportunity to watch good wrestling, they can listen as NXT’s commentary team – Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson – shine as they put over the matches and the talent.
— Kyle O'Reilly (@KORcombat) January 21, 2018
Besides seeing the popular NXT superstars, there are usually cameos from NXT alumni and WWE superstars, as well as the on-screen debuts of new wrestlers. One example is Bobby Roode, who was a face in the crowd at NXT Takeover: Dallas. Drew McIntyre was sitting in the front row at NXT Takeover: Orlando – the next day he announced he would be wrestling on the NXT brand.
WWE recently announced the signings of popular talents Ricochet, Candice LeRae and War Machine and there is a chance we could one or all four of them at Takeover.
Fans may even see LeRae stand in the ring and celebrate with Gargano if he wins the NXT Championship.
NXT Takeover: Philadelphia brings an air of uncertainty when it comes to the men’s and women’s championship bouts.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 18, 2018
Although Almas is 2-0 against Gargano, there is a chance “Johnny Wrestling” could usurp him as the NXT champion. Fans who have watch Gargano struggle to make it to the top of the NXT mountain will finally see him win the big one.
NXT Takeover: Philadelphia may only have four matches at this point, but the brand will pack a lot into the show that fans will enjoy and be talking about until the next Takeover event, which is scheduled for April 7 in New Orleans.
Donovan Dijak Suffers Injury at NXT Vengeance Day
NXT Vengeance Day was a rousing success for WWE on Saturday which saw a number of headlines come out of the event that was well-received by fans, including an injury suffered by Donovan Dijak during his match with Wes Lee for the North American Championship.
Dijak suffered an apparent broken finger during the match, which was seen on camera and shared on social media.
Following the event NXT general manager Shawn Michaels provided an update on Dijak, stating he did not suffer a broken finger – “Yeah, everybody is good” Michaels said. “I announced it at gorilla, it’s got to be a miracle, It’s not broken.
“We got him x-ray, they said it’s not broken and so yeah, I guess what you do is you kind of numb it and put it back in place and that’s what’s happening now. But it is, again, a modern miracle because we all saw it, it was pretty gnarly looking. But, apparently, he’s going to be okay, which is obviously fantastic news for us and him.”
William Regal’s New Title in WWE Return
William Regal has made his return to WWE following his brief stint with AEW and now has a new title that is much different than what he had prior to his release from WWE during budget cuts last year.
Regal was Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting prior to his release. Regal was also the former General Manager for NXT and also had an on-screen role before he made his way to AEW.
According to PWInsider, Regal is now the Vice President, Global Talent Development for WWE.
Ahead of his return to WWE and amid his exit from AEW, Regal issued the following on social media:
“Yesterday was my last official day with @AEW. I’d like to thank @TonyKhan, Megha and all the hard working crew. Contrary to people who’ve never spoken to me or have their information from people who don’t know me or are trying to make themselves noticed, I had a lovely time working there and had a great time. Lots of talented Wrestlers, and lovely people to work for. To my fellow BCC members, it was a special, albeit brief few months but it cemented our already strong friendship. To everyone there, thank you for welcoming me. Best wishes.”
Ex-NJPW Star Karl Fredericks Signs with WWE
Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Karl Fredericks has officially signed with WWE following the conclusion of his four-year tenure with NJPW. Fredericks announced on social media back in summer 2022 that he would not re-sign with NJPW.
Fredericks was initially linked to WWE last September, when he was reportedly spotted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
According to PW Insider, Fredericks has officially signed with WWE and will be a part of the NXT brand initially.
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