I’ve been wanting to take over writing about NXT for awhile especially after not being able to continue writing about Smackdown, but the Gods of whatever it is that decide my fate have not been so kind to me. I intend for that to end now. I love watching NXT and getting the opportunity to discuss what’s going on there is something I am happy to do. Starting with their big live Special Event to end the year seems as good a time as any. This should be great.
Finn Balor and Hideo Itami vs The Ascension
They’re obviously bringing The Ascension up to the main roster. They’re going to have a vignette running on Smackdown to prove it, and really – it’s about time. I’m not a huge fan of The Ascension but they have the look that WWE would want in a tag team. Big, mean, stupid. They really should have brought them up while they were still champions and had them stripped of the belt so they just kept on looking super strong as they transitioned to the main roster, but they didn’t and now they’re here having them fight their brand new big names. This is where Itami and Balor are going to prove whether or not they can stand on the roster if they have to fight on Live events. It doesn’t always translate well for people as we’ve seen in the past, but I have high hopes. They are saying that Balor will come out with his trademark body paint which will be exciting for us all to see, and it seems pretty cut and dry that The Ascension will go out here with a loss.
Here’s my bold should happen though – I think Balor’s whole demeanor is that of a villain. I’m not someone who is very familiar with his work prior to NXT, but watching how he acts just strikes me as someone who could be incredibly conniving and vicious. My original thought was going to be that instead of The Ascension going out with a loss, Balor turns on Itami and costs them both the match effectively starting a feud between the two of them. I don’t think they’re here to shine as a tag team, so you have to pull them out of that now. I do have doubts this will happen especially with the impending Kevin Owens debut and the potential for him to have a hand in the outcome of a match, but it is what I think should happen.
Alas Winners: Finn Balor and Hideo Itami
NXT Tag Team Championship
Lucha Dragons (c) vs The Vaudevillains
I get a lot of heat for not being a big fan of luchadors anymore, but really I just hate Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. I have enjoyed Kalisto and Sin Cara as an exciting tag team, and I think they give the WWE what they wanted when they signed Sin Cara in the first place – people who can make the kiddies happy. I enjoy the Vaudevillains and they DID bring in midget wrestlers which gives them the “we’ll do anything to look like assholes here” advantage so that definitely gives them an edge. I also am not sure that NXT has the heel tag teams available to continue with this Kalisto/Sin Cara title reign. They obviously could just redo this match a bunch more times, but I think they could have a nice run for the Vaudevillains, or at least hand them over to Enzo Amore and Big Cass who everyone seems to love.
Winners: The Vaudevillains
Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks
A little over a year ago I watched Charlotte wrestle and thought for sure I would never be impressed by her. Then I saw her fight Natalya for the NXT women’s title and learned that people really can get better by consistently working their ass off. I’ve seen a lot of people get better slowly over the years, but Charlotte must have been putting in some non stop work to turn herself into someone who may be the most impressive Diva on the roster. Her BFF storyline with Summer Rae and Sasha Banks was tired and used before, but she’s worked to really make a name for herself. Her former ally Sasha has obviously taken exception to Charlotte becoming the female face of NXT and also allying herself with people Sasha finds unappealing (ie Bayley). So of course, as always happens, former best friends collide over a belt. Don’t be best friends in wrestling is the story here. Sasha may be the weaker wrestler here, but I think she’s definitely worked on her skills as well. Recently I’ve taken notice to the reaction she gets from the crowd and am a little excited to see if she could translate well to TV. If you’ve watched you’ve heard the crowd yelling “Sasha’s ratchet!”, but the telling thing to me is the response of the other half of the crowd, mostly male, yelling “No she’s not!” I may not be the best person to ask about who could get over on a bigger stage, but if you can get a crowd divided not on if they think you’re boring or not, but if they REALLY like you or REALLY hate you, I think you’ve got a genuine shot.
As for who wins, I was firmly thinking before Monday that Charlotte would win, but with her having an appearance on Raw Monday I’m less convinced. I was disappointed in her loss because presenting a new Diva to the crowd that you’re potentially hoping to bring up, and having them lose in a match that should have been good but was not is never something I can stand behind. While I think that giving Sasha the belt opens up new opportunities for new opponents, I have to stick with my original pick and say that I think Charlotte still goes over here.
NXT Title vs Career
Adrian Neville vs Sami Zayn
If NXT were the main show I genuinely believe that everyone would be talking about Sami Zayn. He has had epic matches all year, and while he hasn’t always come out on top – he puts on a show that brings everybody over to his side. He’s the good guy I just can’t help but love when I generally only cheer for the bad. I’m not even trying to take anything away from Adrian Neville by saying that. When I first watched Neville I was of course impressed by his high flying arsenal, but was unsure if he could actually turn that into interesting storyline. This is the storyline he needed to prove to me that he could. His subtle turn into the guy who will do anything to keep his title, up to and including ruining the confidence of one of his best friends, has been great. His actions aren’t necessarily something a champion shouldn’t do – keeping the title by any means necessary – but having him do it against the ultimate NXT good guy, who also happens to be his friend and another crowd favorite, has done wonders to make the fans question the integrity of Neville. Which is good! He’s still a great wrestler, but if you can’t dig down and do what you need to do to win, you’ll never make it to the top. Unless you’re John Cena, but we don’t have to worry about him here.
If you missed their match a few weeks ago on NXT I strongly suggest you watch it. Neville using an injury to tug on the niceness of Zayn only to pull off the win was great. While I questioned the actions of the ref stopping a pinfall from the challenger, it makes this story that much stronger. I don’t see this one ending fairly, as an appearance by newly arrived Kevin Owens (formerly Steen) is imminent, but they way it happens should really lead these guys down a brand new bright shiny path. I’m not saying it will, but it should. If Zayn actually loses and has to give up his “career” in NXT I see him either moving to the main roster quickly, or being cost the title by Owens and struggling to make his way back in for awhile.
At the last live special Fatal 4Way Zayn and Neville were involved with Tyler Breeze and Tyson Kidd in what may be my match of the year, but let’s hope this one can at least challenge for it.
Winner: Adrian Neville through some smarmy tactics by himself or Owens.
I would like to point out that this is only four matches for a two hour live event. I am fine with this as the action in most of these should be incredible. I do have to mention however that no matter what my prediction for him is going to be, Kevin Owens is going to arrive tonight and I do genuinely believe it’s going to be “best for business”. The smart thing would be to have him cut a promo or do an in ring interview early on in the show before inserting himself in the main event later on in the evening because if you don’t that is exactly where everyone expects him to be. While I have already made my prediction for the main event, and I do think Owens will be involved, my best case scenario is for him to attack not only Sami Zayn but also Adrian Neville and have the match end in a no contest. Now I generally do not like no contests, but I think it could be a strong debut. He says he’s there to fight. Prove it. I think he will in one way or another.
Another “interesting” storyline to look into is the growing animosity with Bull Dempsey and Baron Corbin. Both guys have the same shtick which is to come out, destroy their opponent, leave, which has obviously started to annoy each of them. I think there will be some confrontation tonight as in the past I’ve seen NXT add a throw away match to make sure the universe has their eyes on the guys they want them to. I think it’ll be Corbin or Dempsey in one of their squash matches with the other coming out to attack after, setting up an ongoing feud. Will it be good? I don’t have high hopes. But it’ll happen.
Well here they are. My NXT R Evolution predictions. This should be a great show that everyone who watches WWE should tune into. This is the wrestling I’ve been looking for and I am so lucky to have the network for the low price of $9.99 so I can watch it. Even better that I can watch it anytime as I’ll be unlucky enough to miss the live show. You should not though. If you’re reading this, watch. Tomorrow I should have the rundown of what went down and what was great and what was kind of lame.
Any feedback or questions find me below or at the ever-present:
Follow Me on Twitter @hm_pufnstuf