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NXT: EC3, War Raiders Make Television Debut

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After WWE’s Backlash event left a terrible taste in the mouths of the WWE Universe, fans have the opportunity to savor the best wrestling in World Wrestling Entertainment – NXT.

On the May 9 edition, fans saw the Full Sail debut of the War Raiders – formerly War Machine – as well as the NXT television debut of EC3.

EC3 vs. Raul Mendoza was a quick, showcase for the 1 percenter. Mendoza threw some offense, but it was EC3’s greatest hits. He also delivered a good post-match promo using impressive vernacular and solidifying himself as the “Top 1 percent of the industry.”

Dakota Kai defeated Vanessa Borne in a good match that saw Kai come back to get the win.

Kai’s victory was short as NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler came out and beat up Borne.

NXT has done a great job with the angle of having Kai be scared of Baszler and making the NXT Women’s Champion a competitor to be feared. This went to the back where after being confronted by Baszler, Kai found a laughing Nikki Cross. 

Part of me hopes this leads to an angle or a moment where Kai finds the courage to face Baszler and the two have a competitive match.

War Raiders made quick work of Heavy Machinery. Simialr to EC 3 vs. Mendoza, both Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic got in some offense, but it was Hanson’s and Rowe’s time to shine.

In the main event, Tomasso Ciampa faced Kassius Ohno. Ciampa is perhaps the best heel in wrestling – the fans hate him and he was met with a chorus of boos on the way to the ring.

This was a hard-hitting contest that looked like a fight between two bitter enemies. The icing on the cake was how Ciampa and Ohno talked trash to each other – as well as commentators Percy Watson and Mauro Ranallo calling the action and how devastated they were when Ciampa won the match.

After the bout, Ciampa soaked in all of the hatred from the crowd before he attacked Ohno.

In addition to the matches, fans witnessed a battle of words between Ricochet and Velveteen Dream.

Ricochet opened the episode by setting his sights of NXT gold, Dream berated the high flyer for his moves and told the One and Only he should “go to the back of the line.”

Ricochet looked confident as he delivered his promo and Dream always delivers.

The two took their back-and-forth from social media and brought it to the stage in a promo that turned a banter between one of the best character-driven sports entertainers and one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet.

If these two have a match at Takeover, it’s going to be incredible.

There was also a promo from the Street Profits, saying they want the NXT Tag Team Championships. It was a fun vignette, but it will be interesting to see who they face on their way to a title shot. The Profits are coming off a loss to TM-61.

One other thought I had regarding tonight’s episode:

In regards to War Raiders and EC3, I know fans are nitpicking saying “They’re War Machine” or “He’s Ethan Carter III.” Look I know we may think those names are dumb right now, but I’m sure many members of the WWE and NXT Universes thought the same thing in regards to Finn Balor and Kevin Owens. There are probably some fans who are still upset that Daniel Bryan had to switch his name when he came to WWE.   

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Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Successful Surgery

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NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa has undergone successful neck surgery this past Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, according to WWE.

Ciampa is expected to miss 3-6 months as he recovers from the surgery.

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Ricochet to be Featured on RAW and SmackDown for Time Being

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NXT superstar Ricochet made his surprising main roster debut last week during RAW and his debut on SmackDown the following night, and at least until after WrestleMania 35, he will be featured on both shows.

“I will be on RAW and SmackDown going forward,” Ricochet said, according to WPSD Local 6. “At least until after ‘Mania. After ‘Mania it’s gonna be one or the other, I’m assuming, I don’t know. But, that’s what I’m assuming. But yes, going forward, I am now an official member of RAW and/or SmackDown.”

In celebration of his ascension to the main roster, over 60 of his friends and family held a surprise party to commemorate the milestone.

“This [surprise party] was beyond amazing, It was awesome, Ricochet recalled.

“I got to see family, friends, people I haven’t seen in a long time. I was honestly surprised when I walked in, this was great. It just makes you happy to see that many people care. Whether it is close friends you have known since you were three years old, or people maybe you have never met, it is just cool that you can inspire so many people. Doesn’t matter where you are from, you can live your dream.”

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 18, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, they opened the show by saying that a bunch of NXT superstars will make their debuts on the show. This list included Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, Tomasso Ciampa, and Ricochet. While Gargano, Ciampa, and Ricochet all made their debuts through tag matches, Aleister Black got his singles debut against Elias. It was a solid match which Black won, and helped establish him as a threat for the future.

For Smackdown, we got to see Ricochet’s singles debut and it was great. He defeated Eric Young in a few minutes. His athleticism and high flying ability is entertaining to watch from start to beginning. Hopefully, he makes his way up to the top quickly because he is one the best things going forward for WWE.

The Bad

For Raw, the segment between Lacey Evans and Heavy Machinery felt like a waste of time. During an interview with Heavy Machinery, Evans came out, walked up and down the entrance aisle, then made Heavy Machinery do it. They did so and then the segment ended. This literally felt like WWE just threw that in there to kill time for their show.

For Smackdown, while we finally got to see Asuka on Smackdown since the Royal Rumble, we still have yet to see R-Truth for the past few weeks. It really feels like WWE just flat out doesn’t care about the United States Championship at all.

The Final Verdict

With Elimination Chamber done and Fastlane the next PPV up, WWE needed to ramp the focus to that. With the sudden announcement of NXT superstars making their debuts this week, there was some confusion within WWE’s storytelling. For example, Bobby Lashley for some reason helped out Baron Corbin in his match against Braun Strowman at Elimination Chamber. But, when it came to Corbin’s tables match against Strowman to start Raw, he was nowhere to be found. With that said, I will have to say that Smackdown had the better show this week too. We got build up for Fastlane main event as well as other matches on that PPV. While Raw, still is trying to figure out what to do for that show.

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