Adrian Neville, Bret Hart, Charlotte, Elocal, Kalisto, Natalya, NXT, NXT Takeover, Renee Young, Ric Flair, Ricardo Rodriguez, Rusev, Sami Zayn, The Ascension, Total Divas, Tyler Breeze, Tyson Kidd, WWE
This Thursday, May 29th, the WWE will present it’s second NXT PPV (they’re still PPVs to me dammit) NXT Takeover on available exclusively on the WWE Network. I find myself more geared up for these seemingly bi-monthly NXT events, than the monthly PPVs that the WWE is presenting with their main roster. Going into Thursday’s event, I present to you seven extremely random points of interest, things to look for, and reasons to be excited for NXT Takeover!
7.Less is More
Each week WWE tapes a total of four television shows, totaling seven hours of programming. On a PPV week, that total jumps to ten. The old adage of “less is more” is not something that is usually associated with the WWE.
NXT, still in it’s infancy, has been able to avoid any overexposure thus far. Their weekly TV show is an hour, and maybe partially due to that, is most weeks the best hour of WWE programming all week. The two hour run-time of this PPV gives enough time to spotlight the performers, without leaving too much time to fill with unnecessary and pointless 3MB promos and El Torito matches (or sometimes both).
6. Expect The Unexpected
With the two hour run-time Takeover is scheduled for, and only 5 matches on the card so far, (click here for the full card) we’re bound to get a few unscheduled matches/appearances. At the NXT Arrival event, we were treated to the surprise return of Too Cool in a match against The Ascension. I would expect some sort of surprise appearance here from a former talent in some capacity.
NXT TV regulars Mojo Rawley, CJ Parker, and Aiden English are all without matches for the event, and I would expect to see at least two of them, if not all three in some capacity. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they added a Rusev squash to the show, just to continue to push him as a monster.
It won’t be anything ground-breaking, or front page of the Observer worthy, but we could see something fun that wasn’t advertised coming into the event.
5. The Total Divas Effect
This show has an episode of Total Divas written all over it. Two of the main characters through the duration of the show have been Tyson Kidd and Natalya. They’ve gotten married, been through sex therapy, and survived the attempted proverbial wrench toss-in by Nattie’s “friend” Jaret.
Now, at NXT Takeover, we have the husband and wife duo both competing for titles on the same show. Granted, the fact that it’s an NXT event might be a little too much to explain to the non-wrestling audience that WWE and E! tend to dumb things down for. Either way, it seems like the kind of sub-plot tailor made for a reality TV show. Granted, I don’t see either of them winning their respective title matches on Thursday, but I would give Natalya a slightly better chance than Tyson.
4. Renee Young
Young has been one of the often unsung highlights of the NXT product. The WWE’s backstage announcer is allowed a much larger presence on NXT. In addition to sometimes reprising her WWE role as an interviewer backstage, she has also been afforded the opportunity to do some commentary.
Starting with guest commentator spots during women’s matches on the NXT broadcast, she has since become a full-fledged member of the announce team usually with Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton (with a slew of other announcers cycling through, including Jason Albert (Tensai), Alex Riley, and William Regal).
Renee not only brings a woman’s perspective to the announce team, but it’s also a fresh voice and perspective in an industry where we’re used to hearing the same voices for years and years. With her hosting the Takeover pre-show, I’m not sure if she’ll still be a part of the broadcast team, but here’s to hoping she is!
3. Ricardo Rodriguez
One recent character missing in action on the main roster as of late has been Ricardo Rodriguez. Since his lukewarm (at best) received affiliation with Rob Van Dam, Rodriguez has moved on to take on different responsibilities in the WWE. Along with joining the Spanish announce team for the PPVs, he has also taken some backstage responsibilities.
Still having that wrestling itch though, enter Elocal. Since 2012, Rodriguez has been intermittently donning the hood and wrestling as El Local. He has appeared mainly in NXT, although he did make a few appearances on the short-lived Saturday Morning Slam program. To say that El Local hasn’t had a very successful run though, would be an understatement. Used mainly as an enhancement talent, a recent alliance with former masked wrestler Kalisto seems to have helped him turn the corner.
El Local (now listed as Elocal) picked up his first victory on the May 7th episode of NXT, teaming with Kalisto against Sylvester Lefort and Marcous Louis. Following this, the pair were granted a Tag Team Title match against The Ascension. Elocal also picked up a singles victory over Konnor from The Ascension at a recent NXT house
If you’ve enjoyed Ricardo’s character on TV, give him a look this Thursday. Check out his in-ring abilities, and see what maybe could’ve been had they let Rodriguez progress into an in-ring performer, and not just a ring announcer for del Rio.
2. Wrestling’s Past Makes The Future (Literally)
NXT Takeover is filled with second and even third generation superstars. Camacho is the son of former WWE/WCW veteran Haku/Meng. Charlotte is of course the daughter of one of, if not the greatest wrestler in the history of the business, Ric Flair. Natalya is actually a third generation wrestling, the daughter of former WWE Tag Team Champion, Jim Niedhardt.
WWE has seen fit to capitalize this in the NXT Women’s Championship match. Based on recent advertising, both Natalya’s uncle Bret Hart, and Charlotte’s dad, Ric Flair will be at ringside for this culmination in the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament. Will they factor into the finish of the match? I would assume not, I’m sure they’re simply there to add name value to the event, but either way it’s good to see both of them back on TV in some capacity. WWE & NXT. Then. Now. Forever.
1. Tyson Kidd
Outside of Total Divas, there hasn’t been a whole lot of Tyson Kidd on WWE TV in quite sometime. Recovering from injury for much of 2013, a storyline that was part of the first season of Total Divas, he came back in October, only to be used sporadically at best. He found himself under a hood, wrestling as one of the El Locales (there is a tie-in to this later, stay tuned). Following a brief feud (if you can call it that) with Fandango in late 2013, Kidd has been all but invisible in 2014. He was involved in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where he was one of the final 10 combatants.
While his presence hasn’t been felt on the main roster, Kidd has been quietly amassing victories in the ranks of NXT. With an undefeated streak on NXT television dating back to January of 2013, he has amassed victories over the likes of Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, Leo Kruger (now Adam Rose), Mason Ryan, and former NXT Champion Bo Dallas.
This brings us to the present. Winning a Triple Threat match against Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze, he earned an NXT Championship match against Adrian Neville. Dubbed as “The Man That Gravity Forgot”, Neville is a high-flyer that gained much acclaim as he traveled the indies as Pac. Neville won the title at the first NXT PPV (they’re still PPVs to me, dammit) in February, and although he’s defended the belt against the former champ, Bo Dallas, as well as Brodus Clay, Kidd represents the first true test of his title reign. The two high-flyers were ranked back to back in the 2013 PWI 500, with Tyson taking the 111th spot, and Neville the 112th.
Looking to turn some heads and garner some attention amongst the powers-that-be at WWE, Kidd will surely make a splash this coming Thursday. He last tasted a spotlight like this at Money in the Bank 2012, and while no one thought he would come away with the briefcase, surely turned some heads with a few memorable high spots. I expect both competitors to tear the house down, and hopefully this will see Tyson regain a prominent position on the WWE main roster in 2014. FACT!
What are you looking forward to most this Thursday at NXT Takeover! Leave a comment and let me know! Also, as always, you can follow me on Twitter at @RebookTheFinish!