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NXT Takeover: Kassius Ohno vs. Velveteen Dream Could Steal Show

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A fifth match was added to this Saturday’s NXT Takeover: Philadelphia event. During a media call, Triple H announced that hard-hitting Kassius Ohno will square off against the Velveteen Dream on the event’s live broadcast.  

Ohno vs. Dream joins an already action packed NXT Takeover: Philadelphia event. Also on the card is the NXT championship match between Johnny Gargano and Andrade “Cien” Almas and the NXT Women’s title tilt with Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler. The Undisputed Era will be in action as Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly will defend the NXT Tag Team Championships against former titleholders the Authors of Pain while Adam Cole faces Aleister Black in an Extreme Rules match.

Triple H also revealed the preliminary portion of NXT Takeover: Philadelphia will feature the return of TM-61, as well appearances from Roderick Strong and Nikki Cross.

Like every NXT Takeover event, the Philadelphia card appears to be a high quality wrestling event that will leave fans on the edge of their seats.

However, the upcoming contest between Ohno and Dream seemingly came out of nowhere. There has been no build to this match and Ohno and Dream haven’t interacted with each other prior to the announcement. The two were originally going to face off on the Dec. 6 episode of NXT in a match to qualify for a fatal four-way No. 1 contender’s match. Dream was not medically cleared to compete and Gargano took his place.

Dream has been absent from much of NXT since his loss to Black at NXT Takeover: War Games. He made his return to NXT television on January to confront Gargano, who had just become the No. 1 contender for the NXT title, about his opportunity and how he didn’t deserve it.

On the Jan. 24 episode of NXT, Dream faced Gargano with the opportunity to challenge for the NXT Championship in a losing effort.

That said, fans shouldn’t be disappointed that this match is being added to the Takeover card. Ohno versus Dream has the capability of stealing the show at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia.  

Ohno has been one of NXT’s popular stars since he returned to the brand in January 2017. He had some classic matches with the likes of Gargano, Bobby Roode and Hideo Itami.

Then there’s Dream, who is coming into the match with a ton of momentum. He gave the best performance of his wrestling career against Black in their match at War Games. Fans are also praising his match with Gargano on the NXT Takeover go home show.

Fans enjoy the work of both wrestlers – Ohno has a high attack offense and striking that will leave opponents in the dust while Dream can dish out his own punishment. Dream can also resort to psychological mind games like he has in the past.

Critics can bash NXT for delivering a match with no build up and no consequences, but sometimes it’s fun to see two talented wrestlers compete in the ring for no reason other than to see who is better between the two. The narrative of this match can simply be “whoever wins is one step closer to an NXT Championship match.”

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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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