A professional wrestling prophecy was fulfilled during the NXT live event in Largo, Florida as Jessamyn Duke made her NXT event debut alongside her Four Horsewomen comrades Shayna Baszler and Marina Shafir.
The trio defeated the team of current NXT Women’s Champion Kairi Sane and 2018 Mae Young Classic competitors Io Shirai and Deonna Purrazzo.
Last nights victory was just the beginning.
— Jessamyn Duke (@jessamynduke) August 26, 2018
It was a good showing Duke’s debut and is the beginning of what could be an impressive run for her. It is also the first step toward the three Horsewomen reuniting with Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey on the main roster.
It has been almost five years since the four first appeared together on “The Ultimate Fighter 18: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate” where Rousey coached Bazler and Duke, and Shafir was an assistant coach. Their time on the show together grew into a friendship that would lead into a mutual love of pro wrestling and life changing experiences. The four started calling themselves the Four Horsewomen as an homage to the famous stable – and even started flashing the four fingers sign like their namesake.
This drew mixed reactions from people, mostly critics would call them out saying “They aren’t the real Horsemen.”
Each member of the Four Horsewomen found a different path to professional wrestling with Baszler competing on the indies and in Japan, and in the 2017 Mae Young Classic where she lost to Sane in the finals. Rousey signed with WWE in 2018 after months of speculation, making her on-screen debut in the Royal Rumble and competing at Wrestlemania 34.
Duke and Shafir signed with WWE back in May and were signed to NXT. Some speculate they will be called up to the main roster with Baszler to reunite with Rousey and kickoff the Four Horsewomen vs. Four Horsewomen feud. While fans are chomping at the bit to see this storyline come to life, they shouldn’t be disappointed if Duke and Shafir stay on NXT for some time.
Both Duke and Shafir are relatively rookies when it comes to professional wrestling. While their lack of experience does not mean they don’t belong in a WWE ring, their time in NXT will help them develop their in-ring abilities, promo skills and persona to prepare them for a main roster run. Being in NXT allows Duke and Shafir an opportunity to learn from some of the best trainers, as well as practice and refine their abilities – all while working in a production system similar to WWE’s main roster.
If they jumped straight to the main roster, they are going to have to grow their skills really fast without that coaching, and in front of a WWE crowd that will eat a performer alive if they feel that person isn’t ready for a main roster run.
An issue with Duke and Shafir being called up to the main roster with little experience, is there’s a chance they could be lost in the shuffle after several months on Raw or Smackdown. They will gain experience and have good matches with the Four Horsewomen storyline, which could last for several months. Where do they go after the angle is done? Do they stay in Rousey’s shadow, or does WWE creative go with the classic break up angle.
WWE has talent on both Raw and Smackdown women’s divisions, but the company’s creative department does not have a great track record when it comes to creating qualitystorylines for wrestlers outside of the competitors in the championship picture.
The Horsewomen will have to face those challenges when they are eventually called up to main, but their time in NXT will have better prepared to adapt to that environment.
If there is a time on the main roster where creative separates the Horsewomen on seperate brands, Duke – who had established herself on NXT – can welcome that challenge and make the most of the opportunity.
Another benefit of training in NXT is Duke and Shafir will have a chance to wrestle some of the best competition from the world. Athletes like Shirai, Sane and Purrazzo are regarded as some of the best in their field, and Duke and Shafir could gain good experience from being in the ring with them.
With WWE establishing the NXT UK brand, Duke and Shafir have some new potential opponents across the pond like Toni Storm, Jinny and Isla Dawn.
NXT is not a dead end for any wrestler, let alone inexperienced talent like Duke and Shafir. It is a place where they can gain a wealth of knowledge and experience that will benefit their professional wrestling journey.
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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