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.
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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