The NXT Universe saw the return of one of the hottest tag teams on the brand today – TM-61 and they have their eyes set on NXT tag team gold.
On the Jan. 31 episode of NXT, which was taped prior to NXT Takeover: Philadelphia, TM61 – Shane Thorne and Nick Miller returned to the ring to defeat the Ealy Brothers. Also on the episode, Roderick Strong defeated Tyler Bate to earn a shot at the WWE U.K. Championship and Nikki Cross picked up a win against Lacey Evans.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) February 1, 2018
For the NXT Universe, it was a joyous occasion to see TM-61 return to the ring as it was the first time the duo wrestled on an NXT broadcast in almost a year.
Last January, Shane Thorne suffered a knee injury after a match with The Revival. The injury would not only scrap the feud between TM-61 and The Top Guys, but Thorne was also sidelined for eight months.
Miller worked several NXT live events as a singles competitor, but he was kept off the broadcast while his partner recovered from the injury. Throne returned to action in September where he and Miller started competing in live events.
This is good news for the NXT Universe. Fans had a taste of TM-61 when the duo debuted in 2016. Miller and Thorne made a splash in the tag team scene and made it to the finals of the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, where they lost to the Authors of Pain in the finals.
Miller and Throne came to NXT with a full resume. Known as The Mighty Don’t Kneel, they made a name for themselves in Pro Wrestling Noah where they won the GHC Tag Team titles on two separate occasions. Both wrestlers also found tag team and singles success in the United States and Australia as well.
In preparation for Miller and Throne’s return to the broadcasts, NXT produced two lengthy videos detailing the backstory of TM-61, how they met and grew as a tag team.
TM-61 has the experience and in-ring style that NXT fans love, and they bring their own flavor to the division. That said, the video packages were a good way to bring new fans up to speed on the duo’s time in Japan and tidbits about their career, including their relationship with former NWA World Heavyweight champion and WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race, which is something most fans probably didn’t know.
The landscape of NXT’s tag team division has changed since TM-61 has been away.
During their path to the NXT tag team titles, TM-61 could encounter rivals, Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli, SanITy and Authors of Pain. There are new faces for the duo to face like the Street Profits, and Heavy Machinery, as well as new signees War Machine. At the top of the mountain sits current tag team champions Kylie O’Reilly and Bobby Fish of the Undisputed Era.
All of the aforementioned tag teams would make good opponents for TM-61. Their return to the NXT broadcast is potentially the first step in what could be a successful run in NXT.
Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Successful Surgery
Ciampa is expected to miss 3-6 months as he recovers from the surgery.
Ricochet to be Featured on RAW and SmackDown for Time Being
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.”
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 18, 2019
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.
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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