Last night, WWE’s NXT again set the tone of the big weekend with a solid show consisting of strong matches that both kept fans entertained and intrigued.
Here are 5 big Takeaways from last night’s event:
Ember Moon Is Not Good In NXT Women’s Champion Role
Last night we saw NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon take on newcomer Shayna Baszler and the match was supposed to be a message-sending event for the ex-UFC star Baszler.
Instead, while Baszler seemed to be confident, comfortable and oozing with charisma inside the ring, she was knocked back a few notches by the average Ember Moon.
Baszler losing the match, even by pinfall, isn’t the issue here. The message was supposed to be sent that Baszler was a badass, capable of inflicting severe damage and the match was supposed to set the tone for Baszler who is being molded in the same light as a Brock Lesnar.
However, Moon’s comical over-selling of an arm injury and her ridiculous attempts to make the arm look injured took away from Baszler and the match’s intentions.
Forget her botched moves, forget the fact Moon doesn’t seem to resonate with the fans and forget the fact that her constant vampire-esque poses and expressions during a match look both out of place and hollow, Moon’s job was to help establish Baszler as a top heel.
Moon, didn’t do much in that department, but fortunately Baszler’s natural heel persona was enough to weather the storm of ridiculousness.
Moon winning the title was fine. But, unlike prior NXT title holders, she fails to make anyone look good, or better for being in the ring with her such as Asuka did and Charlotte Flair did so well.
Hopefully Moon drops the strap sooner rather than later, and to someone who can help keep title matches memorable because Moon’s matches aren’t and that’s not a good thing for the NXT women’s championship.
Velveteen Dream Is A Star
WWE has a star in the making with Velveteen Dream but he may be best staying in NXT for 2018.
Because he is so good that it’s took risky to send him to either RAW or Smackdown and risk having him fall into a comedy act such as Breezango.
Velveteen Dream has Intercontinental Champion written all over him and he would be perfect in a long, Mr.Perfect-type run with the strap.
But his character needs to remain the way it has been in NXT; uninterrupted by silly booking and storylines.
Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black Setting The Bar High In 2018
Not many can challenge Aleister Black’s standing as the MVP of NXT over the past year as he has had match-of-the-year quality matches over and over again.
Last night was no difference.
Adam Cole looks like a performer capable of reaching Chris Jericho heights and his instant chemistry with Black was evident within seconds of the bell ringing.
This match may win NXT Match of the Year but WWE has struck gold with the Undisputed Era and Black, who may be due a Smackdown call-up soon.
Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa Is Going To Be The Best Rivalry of 2018
Despite the show-stealing match that Gargano and Andrade “Cien” Almas put on in the main event (and would have been match of the night if not for Black/Cole), the attack from Ciampa on Gargano as the show closed will be what is remembered most and that speaks volumes to the potential this rivalry has.
The storyline is perfect, has plenty of buildup and makes everyone feel like they need to get ready as a clash between these two, presumably at WrestleMania weekend, will be something special.
NXT Showing TNA How To Properly Use Their Talent
EC3 made his expected appearance on WWE television at NXT: TakeOver and you can already get a sense that he is going to win breakout star of the year in 2018.
It also proves that TNA is the perfect development ground for NXT (think about that). TNA can take underutilized WWE talent, help develop their names/brand and re-establish their standing.
Unfortunately, TNA (or Impact Wrestling) superstars hit a wall after the initial boost and eventually depart for a new opportunity in NXT where WWE takes them to the next level and that level is often times huge.
EC3 will be the latest example.
NXT Takeover: Blackpool Card
WWE is preparing for their upcoming NXT event, NXT Takeover: Blackpool, and after the airing of this week’s NXT, the full card is now in focus.
NXT UK’s first Takeover event hits the WWE Network, live from Blackpool, England, this Saturday.
Here is the card, at the time of this writing:
NXT UK Women’s Championship Match – Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Match – Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
WWE United Kingdom Championship Match – Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey
No DQ Match – Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
WWE Reportedly Interested In KUSHIDA
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA is reportedly drawing interest from WWE, according to a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
KUSHIDA, 35, has been the cornerstone of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s light heavyweight division and one of their most recognized stars, globally.
The report indicates that NXT is the destination if WWE were to lure KUSHIDA from New Japan.
With NXT globalizing, an NXT Japan seems like a natural progression for the brand and KUSHIDA could be in those potential plans moving forward.
Matt Riddle Talks About Joining WWE/NXT
NXT superstar Matt Riddle has been gaining popularity since his landmark signing earlier this year, and during a recent interview with ESPN for their story on the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, Riddle says that he should have been with WWE long before his 2018 signing.
“I moved my family down here, I’ve got three kids and a wife, so it’s nice,” Riddle said.
“I just wrestle in Florida every weekend. We occasionally do tours or TakeOvers, but for the most part, now I get to spend more time with my family. I’m more local, and it’s great. The training here is top-notch,” he continued. “Where I was, I was lucky to even train three times a week, because my schedule was so insane — and I didn’t have the coaches or amenities to do [much more than that].”
“I just feel like I belong here. I felt like I belonged here three-and-a-half years ago when I had my first try out.”
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