Last weekend, the NXT Takeover event: War Games II only featured five matches on the card, but showed off a large number of talents and made statements about several players who were ordered at the event.
A Matt Riddle / Kassius Ohno impromptu match occurred, with Riddle hitting the flying knee just seconds to the match for a flash KO victory. I think this will be used to make a feud between the two, and I don't think it will take anything from Ohno because of the way it is presented. In many ways, Ohno has established his status at NXT as a very valuable asset in the coach-player role and can be a useful tool in developing young stars. Don't get me wrong about that, it's no coincidence that Riddle paired up with ex-Hero Chris for his initial appearance under the NXT banner. Ohno doesn't appear on the radar from the main list, and there's nothing wrong with that, given that he can have a successful run on NXT as a ring-mentor to others on the brand, which is an important part of the puzzle for developing new talent .
For Matt Riddle, I was initially skeptical when I heard that he started pursuing professional wrestling a few years ago after a career in mixed martial arts, especially because you never knew how an athlete would make the transition to take their bumps or ability to sell. That said, Riddle is naturally in a square circle and has made the transition to sports entertainment as smooth as anyone. Riddle has a unique charisma that cannot be scripted or created, which is another key to great success in this industry. At the same time, he has genuine enthusiasm for the business that can be contacted by the audience, another aspect that allows an athlete to overcome the crowd. Even though it is too early to really predict the specifications of his WWE career, the initial indication is that Riddle has all the skills to become the main star on NXT.
Shayna Baszler / Kairi Sane two of the three matches fell solid, but were too rushed based on the conditions of the match. Perhaps the interference from Jessamyn Duke and Shafir Marina will be used to tag the final six people, but three falls are not needed to lead to that. Duke and Shafir are new recruits for the brand, and I believe their athletic background will be very helpful in the training process, but their experience shows with careless interference points. Shayna retains the title, a decision that might be the right call to avoid titles that are too often exchanged and thus hamper her interests. Although only three years as a professional wrestler, the former UFC fighter is very skilled in the squared circle. In fact, it talked a lot about his ability that he had reached this level in a relatively short time in sports. He brings authenticity and confidence to his persona which adds a lot to his match. The only downside for Baszler is that at 38, he might have a shorter time frame to really maximize the peak of his wrestling career. It looks like the pair is almost natural which at some point, Baszler might transition to the main list as a heel to clash with Ronda Rousey. Obviously, the Ronda needs to get more experience before that, but it will be a stark contrast to the former MMA fighters to challenge the Ronda for the Women's championship.
Kairi Sane is very talented and very compatible with the NXT brand. On the other hand, I'm not sure that the "Pirate Princess" persona will translate to ordinary fans from the main list. Maybe, that means Sane will remain on the NXT list, but only at 30, you will think that Raw or Smackdown is in the future at some point. However, given the track record of most of NXT's success after they debuted in the main list, Sane's unique character could be lost in the shuffle if the general public did not understand the gimmick. Although not having fluent English should not be a big obstacle, it is very possible that the writing team will not make Sane long-term corner scripts in the main stream based on perceived language barriers. It will be very interesting to see the path Sane took and if / how he finally transitioned to the main list.
The fight of Johnny Gargano / Aleister Black is extraordinary and has the quality of the main event contest anywhere. Permenci Gargano / Ciampa proves that Gargano can effectively sell and work as a classic babyface. On the surface, the heel turned for him might be a dubious decision, but he once again proved the caliber of his players, and worked very well. Black won here and when the time was right, he would undoubtedly be a great addition to the Raw or Smackdown list. With as many NXT transitions producing diverse results, Aleister Black has all the skills to become the main star on WWE TV. Aleister Black is a unique commodity and if ordered correctly, it brings a large amount of potential to the table for the main list.
NXT's title match shows off the capabilities of Velveteen Dream, but it proves how difficult the champions have been. Tommaso Ciampa is outstanding in his role as the heel of maniacs and arguments can be made that he is the best heel in business today. Even though the persona is striking and entertaining, Velveteen is only 23 with only a few years of experience in the ring so don't get me wrong, part of the reason for this NXT battle title is the best fight of his career so far because he works with top athletes like Ciampa. That said, Velveteen Dream almost certainly has a bright future, especially considering Raw and Smackdown will use their characters in front of their speaking abilities, at least for the possibility of debuting on the brand. Ciampa is a great heel that gets tremendous heat while still being very entertaining with its amazing wrestling abilities so you almost want to say that she stays on NXT as long as possible because of her extraordinary running as a champion.
There are too many actions to review in War Games matches, but very important general statements can be made about this contest. All participants in this match have the ability to become players who can build companies for any brand. With athletes like this under contract, WWE's future is very safe and it will be very interesting to see how their careers develop on WWE. More specifically, while there is only one Shawn Michaels, I have said before and I will say it again, Adam Cole has the ability to become Shawn Michaels this generation if he is given the opportunity on the main stage.
Just like this Takeover event, the potential and progress of these stellar athletes can be debated if they don't order correctly in the next phase of their careers. The right presentation is the more important key to success when such star athletes will work at the peak of their careers on the WWE list.
what do you think? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and other things that arise.
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