Posts Tagged ‘NXT’

There are said to be a lot of WWE talents who are counting the days until they can get out of their WWE contracts, according to Wrestling Observer Radio.

There have been rumors of WWE talents wanting to leave for months, but Dave Meltzer noted on WOR that AEWputting on a successful show with Double Or Nothing has really changed things.

On a related note, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was in Orlando this week for a business luncheon. She also visited the WWE Performance Center and Wednesday’s WWE NXT TV tapings at Full Sail University. As seen in the video above, Stephanie held a talent meeting before Wednesday’s tapings, which was described as a pep talk.

Stephanie reportedly pushed how great everything is with the company, and how talents get to be their own brands in the company. Stephanie also pushed social media in a big way. Her presentation included a big screen that showed how Forbes recently listed WWE and WrestleMania as one of the top 10 most powerful brands on social media, among other points.

It was also noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE is trying to convince talents that their careers are over if they leave. Talents have believed this in previous years, but most aren’t buying it these days and a lot of wrestlers who leave are happy that they made the decision. Meltzer noted how it appears as if WWE is trying to convince the fans that it’s WWE or nothing, and that wrestlers are jokes if they aren’t with WWE. Meltzer pointed to the enhancement talents with the YOLO County Tag Team Titles on Tuesday’s SmackDown, which were featured in the angle with Heavy Machinery and SmackDown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan.

British indie talent Millie McKenzie turned down an offer to sign with WWE earlier this year, according to a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

McKenzie, a star of PROGRESS, DEFIANT and Pro Wrestling: EVE, apparently rejected overtures to work with WWE’s NXT:UK brand, instead opting to continue her association with Japan’s Sendai Girls promotion.

The youngster is no stranger to the bright lights of WWE, having made three appearances for NXT UK last year, including a Women’s Tournament defeat to Jinny. She was just 17 at the time – and we’re sure more opportunities will arise as she hones her craft.

Jon Moxley is arguably the most polarizing pro wrestler at the moment. After setting fire to the internet with his Talk Is Jericho and Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcastappearances, Moxley continues to dish out details of the current state of pro wrestling.

In a recent interview with 25 Years Later, Moxley showed the divide between the public and controversial departure of former WWE superstar CM Punk against himself.

“A bridge is never burnt in WWE Vince [McMahon] would have me back tomorrow and would love it if I came crawling back to him,” Moxley said. “I think Punk had a lot more personal animosity towards WWE and specific people. I don’t know every detail of his story and I haven’t spoken to him since he left WWE. His experience drove him to not like wrestling anymore, I think. For me, I wanted to exact opposite. I just got pro wrestling back after losing it years ago. I’m like “Whoa, I’m back in the game, here we go!”

“I wanted to make sure that people knew that there’s no bitterness and that my love of wrestling and my desire to perform for the fans, my desire to meet and exceed their expectations and my love for the fans has only gotten bigger… That’s probably the biggest difference between my interview and the Punk interview. He was basically saying f*ck pro wrestling, and I was saying that I got my love of pro wrestling back.” 

As numerous former WWE superstars have eventually jumped ship to AEW, many fans have followed suit. Moxley said that his loyal fanbase from WWE, as well as other WWE fans, have now put feelers on the AEW product.

“They have stayed with me through thick and thin and they’re going to follow me wherever I go,” Moxley said. “Now they’re AEW fans. They can still be WWE fans but they’re AEW fans too. Not trying to come off as arrogant but that’s a lot of fans that are now following AEW. We’re garnering a huge fan base and we’ve only done one show. It just so happens that the one show we’ve done was f***ing awesome. Even if this whole thing goes t*ts up and we never run another show, that was one helluva show. But we’re going to run more shows, a lot more shows.

“The sum of wrestling outside of WWE is bigger than WWE. I feel like myself, the entire AEW roster and all of the fans are the same team, reaching for the same goal, to make wrestling awesome. To not be embarrassed to tel people you’re a wrestling fan because they’d say to you ‘oh that show with fart jokes and they poop on each other or whatever the f**k happens over there anymore’. If you’re a wrestling fan and you show someone some things from WWE, you’d be embarrassed. You’d want to bust out old VHS tapes to show them why you’re a wrestling fan because this isn’t it. I want people to be wearing an AEW shirt and have someone say ‘Oh, you’re a wrestling fan, f**k yeah, me too’. When I was standing on that poker chip at the end of Double Or Nothing, I didn’t know when we were going off the air. I stayed up there but for some reason, I just wanted to take a f***ing victory lap. Security did not appreciate it but I took a giant victory lap around the arena off the air, and I felt like I was with 12,000 teammates. We are all AEW. We have that common bond.” 

Moxley discussed the flow from indy wrestling to WWE main roster status. Moxley believes that products like Triple H’s NXT might not necessarily be the best development process for talent. He references Daniel Bryan and CM Punk as two superstars who have partaken in massive WWE moments without the aid of NXT. Moxley also compared Triple H buying up all the indy talent to Vince McMahon buying up all the wrestling territories in the past.

“I thought it was a bad idea when Hunter started buying the indys,” Moxley confessed. “You had Seth and me, along with Joey Mercury and we were able to sneak in a few key guys like Luke Harper, Neville, Cesaro. Once I was on the main roster and NXT started, which I wasn’t a part of, every week Triple H was taking an Instagram selfie with some indie guy. I don’t know if he was trying to make himself look cool and get some indy cred or what, or make NXT cool. He basically started buying the Indys. I remember thinking that it might not be a good idea. Then where are all of these good ideas going to come from? If they signed Daniel Bryan at 21, he never would’ve become Bryan Danielson and you never wouldn’t had WrestleMania 30. If they signed Punk before he really became CM Punk, he never would’ve done what he did. If they signed me as 21, I never would’ve become anything good. I had to develop first before getting brought in.

“Buying up all the indy scene was the same as Vince buying all the territories back in the day. There’s nobody left to cherry pick for talent. It’s amazing that even though they bought up the indys that it has repopulated itself stronger than ever. Makes you very optimistic about the future of pro wrestling…I want to wrestle everyone. Let’s drop all the bridges, get all the companies together and have a super show that sells out a stadium right now.”

Moxley is set to face Shota Umino at NJPW Dominion this weekend. Moxley’s in ring debut for AEW is scheduled for June 29th, 2019 against Joey Janela at AEW Fyter Fest in Daytona Beach, FL.

Even though he’s just 30 years old, Ricochet wrestled on the indies for 15 years before signing with WWE. The independent scene is entirely different than WWE as each promotion asks for something different from its wrestlers.

Ricochet talked about the difficulties in transitioning from the indies to WWE when he joined the State of Combat podcast.

“That was actually one of the things that I was looking forward to the most when I was getting signed was to come to the Performance Center to work on some of the parts that I wasn’t really the best at,” stated Ricochet. “I was learning from guys like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Terry Taylor, Norman Smiley as far as character and promos, they would say things that are so obvious but I just wouldn’t think about it. I was like, oh dude, you are totally right, and I felt like it really helped me out. Not even with promos and characters, even in the ring stuff that I thought I had ironed out they would tell me things that would make it even better and I would think how they made my process so much better and how I wasn’t sure why I never thought about it. I have no complaints for my time at the Performance Center. It was great.”

Some consider NXT to really be the crown jewel of WWE and say it’s the best thing going under the entire WWE umbrella. In addition to meeting his girlfriend Kacy Catanzaro there, Ricochet talked about what makes NXT a special place to work.

“I will be honest with you, before I even signed with NXT I was like dude, NXT is the place to be right now. It only grew and grew. That 2018 year I personally always take the time and reflect and take in what is going on in the moment. At a time I could really feel the buzz and the fan support just grow and grow. We all felt that, which is why we wanted to go after those TakeOvers and do the best we can because we could feel the emotion and energy from the fans. That is why we really grew because we gave the energy right back, they gave it back to us and we gave it right back, so we definitely could feel that movement happening,” said Ricochet.

“We would get our matches and we would wish each other the best of luck. We would say that our match would be the best of the night but you guys would be at a good second. We would say that to each other. We would joke around obviously, but then everyone would go out and try to kill it. I feel like you can take any match on an NXT TakeOver and flip it around and it would still be in the best order. But it was good, a lot of friendly competition, a lot of love. We all knew each other a long time before we got here so it is a new company and would want to grow it as much as possible and try to give it everything we got and help it grow.” 

Current NXT Champions Adam Cole and Shayna Baszler could be among WWE’s next batch of main roster call-ups.

This is according to Dave Meltzer, who, on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, noted that the duo are among the names being discussed.

Both wrestlers were victorious at TakeOver: XXV last Saturday. For Baszler, triumph meant dominating a game Io Shirai en route to retaining her NXT Women’s Championship. Cole, meanwhile, as able to single-handedly defeat Johnny Gargano in a rematch of their acclaimed TakeOver: New York clash, becoming NXT Champion for the first time in the process.

NXT call-ups have become a difficult issue over the past few years. While wrestling fans used to look forward to seeing how their favourite developmental prospects would fare on Raw or SmackDown, a long string of failed “promotions” has changed everything, with many now dreading the day Full Sail’s brightest and best hit the main roster. As such, news that Cole and Baszler could be brought up may inspire dread.

Regardless, these two are easily amongst NXT’s most main roster-ready wrestlers, with ‘The Queen Of Spades’ particularly ready to move on after two long, dominant title runs.

It’s been a year-and-a-half since Enzo Amore appeared on WWE programming, crashing Survivor Series not withstanding. He was formerly one half of one of WWE’s most popular tag teams with Big Cass, but they split in mid-2017 despite many fans not liking the decision.

Enzo talked about the split when he joined the Keeping it 100 with Konnan podcast.

“If you think about it, me and Big Cass at one point were the No. 1 merchandise selling people in the company. In the height of our run we were split up in the No. 1 ratings draw in the company,” revealed Enzo. “If you had kept me and Cass together, or given us the tag titles, or given one of us a push towards the title and the other one pushed towards the title, there was some major super-star potential there, which was a scary thought to those in the higher-ups, or they creatively had a different take.”

Enzo says that wrestling politics played a part in the decision and some backstage in WWE tried to stifle his success. He says his instant popularity when getting called up from NXT had others feeling jealous.

“When I debuted in an arena on television and everyone in the arena introduced me and Cass, from there on up I never went down. I peaked and went out with a title on my waist. So, from the NXT days I was charismatic and over the top with a character, but was very approachable at a mall, or in a store; I never said no to a picture, and the love for me was different than with some other people. So, when I did things, I embraced all of that and I never let, as I make light on a character phrase, I never let a cup of haters dictate my life because I never had to politic,” stated Enzo.

“The first day I was in WWE with Big Cass I debuted in a television segment that I was meant to lose to Mason Ryanand get him over on the microphone. John Cena was backstage by chance, just by chance, and I went with my phrase ‘Realest Guy in the Room, How You Doin?’ Cena invited me in a dark segment with him because at the time the NXT brand was being birthed; we needed John Cena to keep the fans in attendance until the dark segment of the show to keep Cena out.”

Many fans who remember Cena’s Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick can draw parallels between that character and Enzo’s character. Most people could never imagine Enzo becoming the face of WWE, but he explains how a hip hop-versed Cena became the face of the promotion.

“I think if you look back to John Cena, this was my outlook when I got into the business. I don’t think you can sit here and tell me that hip hop, which is the No. 1 trending music in the world and is the cultural shock and wave of all social media, it is all those things and John Cena encompassed that and got it over,” said Enzo. “Then he transcended that gimmick into becoming the face of a company and encouraging people to never give up, but without that he wouldn’t have gotten where he was at. I encompassed those things because I saw that from a distance.”

NXT celebrated its quarter-century of TakeOver specials in Connecticut last night, and the celebrations concluded with a glittering ceremony to crown a brand new champion of the brand.

Adam Cole finally made good on his promise to bring home the gold for the Undisputed Era when, following his failure in New York this April, he was able to defeat Johnny Gargano once and for all in TakeOver XXV’s show-closer.

Just as it was two months ago, the match was another instant classic, ending when Cole – having had his call for backup fall on deaf ears – was forced to slug it out alone, countering Gargano into a Last Shot to snatch victory.

After the match, Cole and his Undisputed Era buddies flocked the ring to celebrate.

Elsewhere on the show, The Street Profits prevailed in a six-man ladder match to earn the NXT Tag Team Championship for the first time. They, and everybody else, withstood the intrusion of a returning Jaxson Ryker.

Velveteen Dream retained his North American Championship against a Tyler Breeze making an NXT comeback, whilst Shayna Baszler once more saw off the challenge of Io Shirai – but not without a little interference from the outside.