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NXT: Welcome Four Horsewomen’s Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir

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Mixed martial arts fans who have followed the Four Horsewomen – Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir and Shayna Baszler – had some good news this week.

WWE announced they had signed Duke and Shafir and they will report to the Performance Center. Fans who have followed Duke and Shafir know their combat sports journeys – “The Gun,” was a castmate on “The Ultimate Fighter 18” and has fought in Invicta Fighting Championship and UFC. Shafir comes from an accomplished judo background and competed in mixed martial arts. 

Both Rousey and Baszler are currently signed to WWE. Rousey made her debut at Wrestlemania, teaming up with Raw General Manager to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. She is currently on the Raw roster.

Baszler is competing in NXT and currently rules the women’s division as its champion.

As someone who has followed the careers of these four athletes, it’s cool to see all of them in WWE at the same time. The group has a strong fan base and all four women are accomplished athletes in their own right.

Fans and critics have speculated a Four Horsewomen reunion for quite some time, all the way back to when they confronted the Four Horsewomen of NXT during the Mae Young Classic.

The stars point to an eight-woman tag team match between the two groups, which could be a lot of fun, especially in the build up.

That said, fans shouldn’t be upset if WWE doesn’t team them all together right off the bat. If may be some time before the Universe sees all of them competing alongside each other. And before any 4HW fans get upset, the original Four Horsemen didn’t start out together, they were thrown together for a tag team promo because of time constraints.

With Duke and Shafir reporting to the Performance Center, it appears they will go to NXT before they move to the main roster – and contrary to what critics and fans may believe, it is not a demotion and anyone who watches NXT will tell you that.

Although NXT is a developmental territory, it has the best wrestling program on WWE TV – especially given that it has had three five-star matches so far in 2018.

NXT will be a great start for both Duke and Shafir as they will have a lot of time to learn the ropes – pun intended – and develop their craft. There is a mix of veteran and upcoming talent they could face as they work their way up the division.

There are different ways NXT creative could bring them onto the stage.

NXT fans already know Shafir as the future Mrs. Roderick Strong, bhat doesn’t mean she has to be the Elizabeth to his Macho Man. Say the Undisputed Era decides they want to add the NXT Women’s Championship to their trophy case and Strong says he knows this “badass woman who could dominate the division” and in walks in Marina Shafir.

Down the road if fans see Strong vs. Johnny Gargano, they could witness Shafir take on Candice LeRae.

For Duke, she starts out competing in the 2018 Mae Young Classic and works her way to the top. She finds herself in a program against Kairi Sane, saying she’ll actually make something of the Mae Young Classic.  

Eventually both Duke and Shafir challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship – they could potentially face Baszler or each other.

Again, these are only a couple of scenarios and I understand that they have the end game of Shafir or Duke taking on Baszler for the NXT Women’s title. Some fans are thinking “You’re out of your mind, they’ll never fight each other.”

The point is, both Duke and Shafir have the potential to go far in NXT and make it on their own merits.

It will be interesting to see how both Duke and Shafir progress in their new journey.

New Japan Pro Wrestling

WWE Reportedly Interested In KUSHIDA

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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.

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Matt Riddle Talks About Joining WWE/NXT

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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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NXT UK Premiers on WWE Network October 17

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WWE has officially announced the premier of NXT UK on the WWE Network, in a Twitter post that appeared on Wednesday morning.

Per the announcement, the UK division of the NXT brand will debut on October 17th at 8pm BST and will air weekly, featuring male and female wrestlers in the UK.

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