Posts Tagged ‘NXT’

NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler spoke with Rock Sins when NXT worked at the Download Festival over the weekend. Here are some of the highlights:

How the transition from MMA to pro wrestling has been:

“It’s been smoother I think because I’m a catch wrestler, I’ve been a catch wrestler in MMA, Josh Barnett my main head coach for like 12 years he is a professional wrestler as well as a fighter. Bill Robinson would teach us for mixed martial arts as well as sports entertainment, this is what I’ve been in for a while so I think I have a leg up on people that are like ‘I fight MMA, I think I like this so I’m gonna try it’ I’ve been involved in this a lot longer than people realize as far as the training and the working for it too.”

Working in front of a British crowd and a Download Festival crowd who may not all be wrestling fans:

“Yeah, I think you have to work a little bit to show who you are because they don’t just know, but that’s the stuff I did in MMA, so it’s not unfamiliar to me to let people know who I am. It’s also interesting because a British crowd is different to an American crowd, so that aspect has been more mind-blowing to me than the fact that it’s at a music festival and not a traditional wrestling show.”

Wanting to eventually work with the other MMA Four Horsewomen in WWE:

“It’s a little of both. I’m not going to sidetrack off of my path and the things I’m doing and what I want to accomplish, but who doesn’t want their friends with them at work every day, so it’s awesome, and it’s what we’ve done, once we were living together and training together and we clicked the four of us after the Ultimate Fighter. It’s like when Ronda was UFC Champion and Jess was in Invicta and we were all kind of doing our own thing in MMA as well as supporting so it’s kind of the same thing just on the other side of the coin.”

Baszler also discussed being a metal fan. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

Advertisements

Ricochet is a three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and his arrival in NXT got a lot of people talking. His name is apparently helping to sell a lot of tickets as well.

Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio how he has heard Ricochet’s involvement in NXT has boosted ticket sales for live shows.

“Ricochet may be strong anyway all things considered,” Meltzer said. “I know that the house shows from what I understand it always feels like [he’s a top babyface]. I’ve heard people tell me that a lot of the shows are drawing a lot better because of Ricochet. Even though Ricochet’s not even on the shows, they’re drawing better. That’s kinda like the feeling.”

The One And Only became a two-time Lucha Underground Champion as Prince Puma, but he also made a name for himself as Ricochet before coming to WWE. He gained much notoriety after his match against Will Ospreay during NJPW’s 2016 Battle Of The Super Juniors.

Ricochet’s transition into the WWE Performance Center was a smooth one which he spoke about along with his career goals during an interview with WWE.comshortly after NXT TakeOver: New Orleans.

“[The transition has] really not been difficult at all,” Ricochet said. “Maybe because everyone at the WWE Performance Center, from the talent to the coaches, have been super cool and have helped me with everything. I can’t thank them enough.

“Honestly, when I first started, I never thought I’d make it to the WWE. So now that I am here, my only goal is to become the best performer I can be and try to be an inspiration for my son and anyone, really, who doesn’t think their dreams are possible because of where they’re from or their circumstances. If I can inspire even one person to follow their dreams, then it will all be worth it!”

The 29-year-old professional wrestler joined a packed developmental system with names like EC3, Shayna Baszler, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa requiring a spotlight. Ricochet has excelled in TakeOver encounters so far and he will have another chance as he faces Adam Cole for the NXT North American Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 on August 18.

According to a source close to the family, Brian Lawler has passed away, but the family is not ready to release a statement yet.

Competing in the WWE as Brian Christopher, Lawler popularized himself in the Light Heavyweight Division as “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher after being a staple for the USWA promotion, following the footsteps of his father Jerry Lawler. Christopher ditched his cocky character before donning a hip-hop style persona as Grandmaster Sexay. Christopher started teaming with Scott Taylor as Too Much, and the change in character also gave them a new team name, Too Cool. The success of the team led them to a reign as WWE Tag Team Champions in 2000.

Since his release in 2001, Christopher has mostly competed for independent promotions, but made a short appearance with Taylor (Scotty 2 Hotty) in 2014 in an attempt to win the NXT Tag Team Championships.

Christopher was hospitalized after hanging himself in jail last night, and he was not expected to recover.

Christopher was 46 years old.

Former Impact Knockouts Champion Chelsea Green (Laurel Van Ness) recently spoke with The Orlando Sentinel. The full interview is at this link and below are highlights:

Going into her recent WWE Performance Center tryout not seeing WWE as a make-or-break moment for her career:

“That’s why I went in there so confident. I’m going to give it my all, but I’m also going to know my worth, know that I have options, and that’s the best feeling in the world.”

How this WWE tryout was different from her 2015 tryout:

“This was grueling in a different way. It included skill, agility, mental toughness, and things you really need to be a wrestler. I like that change.”

“They’ve kind of perfected this tryout. It starts out with skills that if you don’t pick them up quickly, maybe wrestling isn’t for you. In this situation, it was very much sink or swim.”

“They have so many amazing trainers. On top of that, some of the NXT talent was coming in and helping, and some of the main roster would come give little pep talks. Mark Henry was there. It was such a cool atmosphere.”

Dining at Disney’s exclusive Club 33 with boyfriend Zack Ryder:

“We actually almost got kicked out because I wasn’t up to the dress code. I thought my outfit was really cute, but my shirt – this is so embarrassing – my shirt was too sheer, you could see my bra through the back of it. That’s what they told me, but really I think it was my pink hair. They took one look at me and said, ‘Girl, you do not belong here with your pink hair.’ I could tell they were very stuck up about it. I had to wear a silly brown scarf around my shoulders, but we got in. Once we got in, our waiter was amazing, our food was amazing. The experience, without sounding too cheesy, it was so magical. It’s somewhere everybody dreams of going and it was such a beautiful night.”

WWE possibly signing her after the tryout:

“I don’t know if anyone can say, oh, I know I’m going to get signed. You don’t know what they’re looking for. You might have excelled in-ring but you might not have excelled at promos. It’s about giving it 110 percent, and then having NXT want you in their family. If they don’t want me, I am still happy with the performance that I gave. That’s all you can ask for.”

Source: Orlando Sentinel

As noted, NXT’s EC3 was recently a guest on E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness. Among many other things, EC3 talked about getting his start in WWE’s developmental system and his eventual release from WWE.

EC3 recalled that he first came to WWE’s attention after attending a pro wrestling training seminar conducted by hardcore legend Tommy Dreamer.

“I started pretty humbly on the indies.” EC3 said, “my independent training was pretty good. I wasn’t ripped off or exploited. I got a pretty good learning experience from that. I kind of did local indies. I was never like the supposed guy who hit as many towns for $20 and stuff like that, so I had to work to support myself at the time and I worked in the service industry, bartending and waiting tables on the weekends or whenever I had to pick and choose my spots. What got me in the system was meeting Tommy Dreamer at an indie and he did a seminar prior to the show. And that’s what kind of… I had a decent look and could work a little bit, athletic.”

Through Dreamer, EC3 got work as an extra on WWE TV and even got squashed by Big Vis. Shortly thereafter, EC3 tore his ACL and he fell of WWE’s radar. EC3 shared that he went to a paid tryout at FCW just to work his way back to WWE.

“I got a call about being an extra at this one gig, but I was three months out of a six-month recovery for ACL surgery and I said, ‘I can’t do it,’ so I was probably completely written off the system.” EC3 remembered, “and, at the same time, somebody, the next person they called from the Cleveland area to do the extra thing, did get signed, Michael Tarver. So I’m like, ‘all is lost!’ I finally recover enough where I… FCW had a paid tryout, so you had to pay money and get to Tampa, Florida and you’d get a look, but I was so far out of the system, Dreamer wasn’t there anymore. Nobody I called, or texted, or emailed returned anything, so I paid $1,000, bought a plane ticket to Tampa, tried out at Steve Kern’s FCW, and I got signed out of that. That was about 2009, I believe I started with FCW.”

During the podcast, EC3 divulged that he was upset when he was released by WWE in 2013, but it was the best thing that could have happened to him.

“As much as that sucked at the time, it was the best thing that could happen to me for a numerous amount of reasons.” EC3 continued, “and, like, what a better time, what a better opportunity than now? I don’t believe in, ‘ah, everything happens for a reason’. I believe in that in a sense, but the way that everything panned out, played out, worked out, damn, I couldn’t be happier or more excited about what’s to come and where it’s going.”

EC3 described his firing as surreal and went on to say that the hardest part of the ordeal was calling his loved ones to tell them he was no longer with WWE. Moreover, the second hardest part of being fired for ‘The Top One Percent’ was wrestling for $50 in the gym where he was fired.

“It’s not like I was surprised, but it was kind of still… or no! I’m trying to equate the shock and what it felt like and, like, you don’t know if you’re awake or you’re dreaming. And, all-of-a-sudden, anything that’s drastic, life changing that happens out of nowhere, it was a very bizarre feeling. And the toughest call, it wasn’t tough for me, just knowing the industry and knowing how things were lining up, and I can complain and b—h about people in the past or whatever, but at the same time, I could see it from every perspective. But, like, calling my dad to tell him, calling my girlfriend at the time to tell her, like, that was the hardest part.” EC3 added, “the second hardest part was the building I got fired in when I got the call was a gym, and then, the very first independent show I did post-firing, in front of 73 people for $50, was in the same building, ironically.”

Additionally, EC3 admitted that his complacent attitude was likely the reason WWE fired him.

“‘What do I have to do to do this?’ ‘This, this, and this.’ ‘Yeah, but…’ ‘What do you mean, ‘yeah but’?’ Yeah, but do it or don’t.” EC3 elaborated, “I mean, we’re all guilty, probably, of ‘yeah buts’ in our lifetime too. ‘Yeah buts’ are probably what got me fired in the first place. There was a sense of complacency. There was a sense of ‘yeah, but, like, you know, I’m not going to get this shot because of this’. And then, yeah, you know what? You get fired, you lose it all, your back’s against the wall, you refuse to accept ‘no’ for an answer. You refuse to let anyone else dictate how you’re going to live your life, how you’re going to make your living, or what you’re going to do. Then you go out and you kill it. You just throw that ‘yeah but’ away and you go, ‘yeah, butts!'”

Impact announced today Tessa Blanchard has been signed to a long-term contract with the company. Impact Executive, Scott D’Amore, noted he’s, “Excited to have an elite athlete like Tessa Blanchard [be] part of Impact Wrestling for years to come.”

Previously, Blanchard had made a couple appearances for WWE NXT, including the Mae Young Classic where she lost to Kairi Sane in the first round. Back in April, Blanchard made her debut at Impact Redemption when she joined commentary during a match between Taya Valkyrie and Kiera Hogan. She then went on to have a feud with Hogan, including a No DQ match that Blanchard would win via pinfall. She has since feuded with Madison Rayne.

Blanchard is a third generation wrestler, granddaughter of Joe Blanchard, and daughter of Tully Blanchard.

As noted, Drew McIntrye recently spoke to Planeta Wrestling. Below are some more highlights from the interview:

Having unfinished business with Andrade “Cien” Almas:

“When Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas & Zelina Vega had a game plan that cost me my NXT World Title, it caused me to miss 5 months of my career after tearing my bicep. It was the first time I had time off as a wrestler in over 18 years that I have been performing. I had never had time off more than 6 weeks more than my career, so it was very difficult at first, especially after losing my title when I was working so hard coming back to WWE. I wanted to be part of NXT because I felt that it was a brand that I can help, and we started doing some great things, and for it to be taken away because of Andrade was very disappointing. The goal was to come back [to NXT], and since he took out my arm I wanted to take out his head, which is still the case, but he is on SmackDown Live and I am on Raw, but soon enough our paths will cross and when they do he is going to feel the pain.”

Teaming with Dolph Ziggler:

“Dolph is somebody who I met as soon as I got here. We used to be on the road with The Undertaker, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Christian, and even Ric Flair. When I was 22, Ric Flair was on the roster and we have been on the road with these people for a long time. Undertaker, right up until his last day was working full time constantly, even when he was beat up, had fire in his eyes. If he couldn’t walk, he was flying around and he was The Undertaker in every way. That was such an inspiration.

“Now, these guys haven’t been on the road with those guys and hadn’t had the chance to learn from these people. They may have met them once or twice but they haven’t been on the road, and hadn’t had the chance to look up to these guys the way I had looked up to The Undertaker. Now, we don’t have that anymore, and I feel like I need to be that guy. I am only 32, and have been wrestling for 20 years. You may think that I am in my 40’s because I have been around forever, but now i know that I need to be here and be a good example, not only for me but for the entire business.”