Posts Tagged ‘NXT’

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Though Lars Sullivan remains locked in limbo between NXT and WWE’s main roster, there’s some good news on the big man’s situation in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Per Dave Meltzer, WWE are “handling it about as well as could be possible,” and have given Lars “the option to return whenever he is ready,” adding that management are “very supportive of him.”

This is encouraging, as news of Lars’ Raw anxiety attack and subsequent SmackDown no-show led to speculation that he might be hit with punishment booking upon finally making his main roster debut. Thankfully, this seems to be unfounded. Meltzer’s report gives the impression that WWE are looking after their man and his delicate mental health situation, giving him exactly the right level of sensitivity required.

Recent reports had Sullivan debuting at the Royal Rumble on 27 January, then moving into a WrestleMania 35 programme with John Cena. Both could still come to pass, but his health obviously takes precedent, and it doesn’t sound like WWE are going to rush him back to television before he’s reading.

All the best to Lars in his ongoing recovery. Let’s hope he’s well enough to return soon.

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Charlotte Flair recently spoke with SportBible while at the WWE UK Performance Center launch earlier this month. The full interview is at this link and below are highlights:

Why she watches her matches back:

“I talked to my dad about this because he never watched his matches back, so I go, ‘Well I wonder why it’s so beneficial for me’ because I kind of take everything he says to heart. But I can still critique every moment in my match, whether it helps me get better or if it’s just learning as you go along. I think it’s very helpful, especially because the performance centre has all the technology to do that – even with your promos that you can watch back.”

WWE possibly running a major pay-per-view in the UK:

“I think so, 100 per cent. [It has to be] the right story, why are we going to the UK – but I definitely see it in the future.”

How WWE developmental molded her into a professional wrestler from nothing:

“Truly that’s why I am here celebrating today because I am NXT homegrown. I know my dad’s Ric Flair but when I showed up at FCW/NXT, I didn’t know anything about wrestling – I didn’t watch it, I didn’t study it, I didn’t know the history of it – I just knew I liked my dad and he was a wrestler. If you take a clean slate like me, even though I played division one volleyball, the performance centre molded me. Yes, I had the last name but I wasn’t allowed to woo, I wasn’t allowed to chop and I couldn’t do the figure four. I couldn’t do anything like my dad, and I think they were like, ‘Wow she’s got the it factor, maybe she can carry the name’. They’ve molded a professional wrestler from nothing is how I look at it.”

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As we reported over the weekend, Lars Sullivan missed several scheduled WWE shows last week, including a dark match prior to Monday Night Raw. There have been conflicting reports regarding his absence since, with several sources claiming Sullivan flew back to his home in Colorado after suffering an anxiety attack.

It’s believed that since discussing his issues with WWE, Lars has not spoken to his employers at all. As a consequence, several major plans for the latest NXT call-up have been put on ice.

Supposedly, WWE were preparing a big angle which would have positioned Sullivan opposite John Cena at WrestleMania 35. That seems unlikely to happen now.

According to Rajah.com, the wheels were already in motion on the programme. On last night’s Raw, a taped beatdown of Cena from the debutant had been pencilled into the agenda, set to air on next week’s episode. It seems these intentions are now up in the air.

As we said when the story first broke, if Sullivan is suffering from legitimate mental health issues, then WWE need to offer him the appropriate support. Scrapping the Cena programme as punishment is not appropriate – but withdrawing him from such a big angle as he overcomes his personal problems may be for the best.

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Triple H was in London celebrating the grand opening of the new WWEPerformance Center UK. Inside The Ropes attended the event and caught an in-depth interview with Triple H where they asked him about his future aspirations concerning the NXT and NXT UK talent. Triple H confirmed that certain NXT UK stars will indeed make the eventual transition to RAW or SmackDown, but along with that, certain stars will begin to rotate back through the various developmental territories they continue to establish.

“There are some talent here, that you might see come from the UK, that might move straight to RAW or SmackDown,” Triple H explained. “I think right now there’s sort of this perceived system of where it’s kinda – 1. RAW, 2. SmackDown, 3. NXT, 4. NXT UK. I don’t believe that, I believe that talent are talent and I believe they will sit where they sit, and I believe you’ll see talent over the next few years start coming up to Raw and SmackDown. And I think you’ll see them move back over in to NXT, or come back in to the NXT UK system. I think talent will begin to evolve and rotate through territories, so to speak.”

Triple H believes that some performers have reached their plateau of success rotating through the NXT developmental territories, and hopes to give those individuals successful, meaningful careers without them ever having to transition to the cable network programs.

“I think there will be some talent that will be incredibly successful, will be global names, will be global, household names,” Triple H said, “that will probably never leave that NXT system because that’s their home base and that’s where they fit, and they’ll have incredibly successful, meaningful careers. And probably over those careers they’ll gravitate through different locations within the globe, maybe without never being on RAW or SmackDown, but that not being any lesser to their careers.”

Triple H also discussed the importance of reinventing a character when the performer feels it’s the necessary action to take, saying that it’s no different than decades ago, when wrestlers would travel to a new territory and present their revamped character to an audience.

“I think it depends on the talent and the moment and I think it’s no different than it was if you go back, 30 – 40 years, into the territory system in the US. No different,” Triple H said. “You left one place, you went someplace else, sometimes you reinvented because you thought, ‘What I’m doing is good, but here, I want to do something different, I want to make it something more.’ And you reinvent, and you become something different.”

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WWE has had plans to do Lars Sullivan vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 35, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. However, that match may not happen due to a situation that came up this week.

Sullivan was scheduled to make his main roster debut at the January 7 RAW from Orlando, likely a dark match. Sullivan either didn’t show up to the arena or did show up, and left the building, apparently due to an anxiety attack.

WWE officials talked with Sullivan and smoothed things over, and everything was fine. Sullivan was then supposed to work a dark match the next night at SmackDown in Jacksonville but he didn’t show up, and apparently flew back home to Colorado. No other details on his status and the match with Cena are known at this time.

Lars had been scheduled for a “monster push” on WWE’s main roster. You could assume that Lars would have won his first big match, against Cena at WrestleMania, but a source noted to The Observer that the win could be premature. While the match was on the books for WrestleMania, officials had not discussed the finish.

It’s believed that the Cena vs. Sullivan feud would have kicked off at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view later this month. We should know more on if the match will happen then.

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November 2018’s news that WWE were considering the option of opening a new Performance Center in the United Kingdom has finally come to life, with Pro Wrestling Sheet reporting that WWE are looking at establishing the facility in the near future.

Per the write-up, the NXT UK Performance Center is 17,000 square feet. It’ll have two full-sized rings, “world-class strength and condition equipment,” and “versatile content creation infrastructure,” with all 30 UK signees expected to train there.

This feels like the next logical step in WWE’s British expansion, and suggests that perhaps the company are more serious about developing the country’s talent than cynics had previously suggested.

NXT UK became a source of mass controversy when details of WWE’s restrictive new contracts claim to light. Signed wrestlers are now greatly restricted to where they can work, though it now looks like they’ll be deeply entrenched in the system, and given similar opportunities to succeed to their US-based developmental counterparts.

There’s currently no word on when, exactly, the NXT UK Performance Center will open, though it’ll surely bring some much-needed sheen and polish to the nascent British brand’s lesser talent, with the likes of Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne still standing out as its only stars.

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AEW Executive Vice Presidents Cody and The Young Bucks had unheard-of WWE opportunities presented to them just months before forging ahead with All Elite Wrestling’s January launch.

As reported in a typically loaded Wrestling Observer by Dave Meltzer, the trio and fellow Elite member Hangman Page had the red carpet rolled out by WWE but rejected incomparable terms to go it alone with their new venture. Meltzer suggested that the ALL IN stars were offered creative dominance on NXT and the main roster, as well as a WWE Network home for the group’s popular Being The Elite vehicle. He said;

“The problem was the success of All In changed the value structure. Paul Levesque worked hard at getting all four into WWE. Page was offered main roster money to work NXT, where he’d have been pushed as one of its top stars. The Bucks & Cody were offered strong deals. The Bucks deal was for money roughly the same as WWE champion A.J. Styles, which would have also included BTE being made a regular weekly show on the WWE Network, as well as something I’ve never heard WWE concede on, which was a six-month window where they could have left their three-year contract if they wanted and weren’t happy with their push.”

Resisting all those dangled carrots, The Elite steered into public knowledge of said discussions with their BTE storyline centred around a mysterious ‘H’ pursuing their signatures. The payoff saw Matt and Nick Jackson superkick the sledgehammer-wielding figure to all but confirm AEW’s formation. Intriguingly, the storyline didn’t damage their perception within WWE, with Meltzer noting that great relations between the crew and ‘The Game’ during negotiations. He noted that;

“Those who work in WWE with knowledge of the deal were certain they wouldn’t turn it down, and outright told me that they would be debuting at the Rumble, and had a Rumble-to-Mania significant storyline. But they had roughly 12 hours of talks with Levesque – who they heavily praised in how he handled everything – in particular seeing the comedy aspect in the skit they did where they superkicked Kazarian dressed up as him over-and-over in what was the public turning down of the offer on BTE.”

All the usual cliches apply here – nothing is forever and never say never in Wrestling, but these offers may be the best The Elite will ever receive. Turning down such favourable terms reflects both the performers’ powerful faith in the eventual success of AEW, and WWE’s own mindfulness of what kind of threat it potentially presents.