Weekly Wednesday: Volume 1 Episode 3
Welcome to TJF’s Weekly Wednesday, a recap of all things NXT and CWC on the WWE network.
First things first, if you tuned into Smack Down, now on Tuesday nights, you may have seen a familiar face in the form of ECW legend Rhyno. Last time we saw him was on NXT last week when he lost to Samoa Joe. A level up indeed, as he is now a permanent addition to the Smack Down roster!
In other news some new contract signings have been announced. As I mentioned last week Ibushi signed an NXT level contract and made his NXT debut tonight. As well, rumor has it TJ Perkins, Akira Tozawa, Noah Dar and someone I’m super stoked about Cedric Alexander; have all signed long term contracts with WWE after the CWC comes to a close, and will likely roster up in September or October. Also Zack Sabre Jr was offered a long term contract which he turned down for now due to personal matters. But it’s said he will sign sometime next year. Also being booked as the largest international signing in NXT history, Hideo Itami is signing longterm in NXT, and if you watched his first round CWC match you know why without a doubt.
Also just in case you didn’t see the WWE Battleground event this past Sunday, Bayley made her WWE mainstream debut as Sasha Banks’ mystery tag partner against WWE Woman’s Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke. A good showing it was too, with The Boss and The Hugger raising their hands with the win in the end. Rumor is WWE may already be working towards booking Sasha Banks vs Bayley for Wrestlemania 33.
Tonight NXT had a strong program, with the opening match on the card being the King of Strong Style, Shinske Nakamura, going one on one with one half of the previous tag team champs, Blake and Murphy, Wesley Blake.
In a promo for tonight’s NXT Blake claimed he carried his ex-tag team during their run in a conversation with Murphy, and would prove it by beating Nakamura. So what did Murphy have to say about that? He begged to differ actually, and said he was the better of the two, and would prove it by challenging and beating one of the most dangerous strikers in the game, Kota Abushi. Despite the B level promo cut, it at least brought some humor to the NXT fans out there, based on it’s ridiculous delusions of grandeur on the part of the previous tag team partners. As well, before the action started NXT GM William Regal set a match between NXT Champion Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura for NXT Takeover Brooklyn.
If you get an opportunity, don’t pass.
As far as the match between Nakamura and Blake, the two worked really well in the ring together at certain points, and put on a heck of a showing . They both brought their ring showboating A-game which Nakamura is known for. Blake blew kisses at Nakamura at one point. Nakamura made a point that they stunk due to Blake’s breath after catching them. Then crushed them under foot on the ring floor. I swear they could only get away with this and be taken seriously in a Nakamura match.
After a good bit of back and forths, and Nakamura taking a good amount of offensive maneuvering from Blake, he turned it around with an Inverted Exploder into the Kinshasa and took the match in the end, showing Blake a better wrestler in tag team competition ultimately. A great opening match for tonight’s NXT, indeed.
Next on the card was a women’s competition between Billy Kay, a newcomer to NXT who had her debut on Smack Down against Dana Brooke, and Santana Garrett who has come and gone occassionally on NXT always stepping her game up a bit more with every return.
The Showdown was pretty evenly matched between the two competitors with Kay taking the win in the end. Something which probably won’t help with her alleged growing ego. It really seemed like Garrett was going to win this one, until a kick from Kay that was powerful enough to get her the 3 count. Boo.
Shortly afterwards another NXT Takeover Brooklyn match was announced in the form of Asuka against her challenger, hoping for a second title reign, Bayley. A super exciting announcement all in all.
Up next we had the fan favorite tag team, TM61, consisting of Shane Thorne and Nick Miller; locking up with Rob Ryzin and Adrian Nailz, their second match as a tag team in NXT; as they do not tag full time. Unfortunately it was also their second loss in NXT with TM61 winning in the end.
It was said TM61’s main inspiration comes in the form of the Dudley Boyz, except TM61 believes in “quality over quantity”. I assume alluding to the insanely high among of times the Dudelys have held the tag team championships. Either way those are big shoes to fill with everything their idols have done in the business, across countries and companies.
After the match we got a promo showing off No Way Jose and leading up to everything that went down with Austin Aries over the past few weeks. Afterward No Way Jose came out and made extremely short work of Steve Cutler. I mean insanely short work. One minute the bell rings. The next minute it’s over, with No Way Jose finishing it in the form of a Spinning Full Nelson Slam. Apparently Steve Cutler has been absent and angry as of late, accusing NXT GM Regal of giving too many opportunities that should have been his to other wrestlers in the company. If the ex-marine was trying to prove his point against No Way Jose, I have to sadly report to any possible fans of his out there, that he failed miserably.
After the match No Way Jose called out Austin Aries for disrespecting him and his good nature, saying Aries is the biggest coward in NXT and made a promise to “Whoop his ass!”
For the last match of the night it was the forementioned bout between Kota Ibushi and Buddy Murphy of Blake and Murphy. Why Murphy would ever request a match with Ibushi tells me he may have a screw loose, but either way he actually made a decent showing, attempting to use his size and weight advantage against the most dangerous striker in the game.
Murphy literally attempted to outmuscle Ibushi most of the match, but Ibushi turned it around at many points with beautiful technical maneuvering and strikes that could be heard throughout the entire arena. Despite Murphy’s size advantage his multiple covers never succeeded, and despite Ibushi taking Murphy’s offensive assaults most of the match, very little offensive was needed to beat Murphy in the end with a Senton Power Bomb out of the corner. Apparently when it comes to Murphy, it was stated, “if it can’t go wrong it has gone wrong as of late.”
After all that Samoa Joe entered the ring and protested Regal’s decision concerning his upcoming title match at Takeover Brooklyn. Regal’s response was fight or forfeit the title, to which Joe said he would fight Nakamura at Takeover, but Nakamura might not make it there if Joe sees him around first. At which point Nakamura came out and showboated next to Regal while Joe stood in the ring and fumed.
It was also announced we should be expecting Bobby Roode’s official showcase at NXT next week, a great competitor and powerhouse, who was recently drafted from TNA.
CWC Bracketology so you can keep up.
As far as CWC is concerned it could be considered a great program just on the first bout alone. Also that guy I mentioned WWE is trying to sign, Zack Sabre Jr; it’s very apparent why he’s in this match when he goes toe to toe and comes out hand in the air with Tyson Dux.
Both competitors were nothing less than top notch, Tysons Dux representing Canada with much more of a hard hitting, text book technical wrestling style. Zack Sabre Jr, the so called Master of Escapology, representing England and favorite to win the CWC by many, is much more of a reactionary wrestler. He doesn’t power his way out of holds, he escapes from any knot he may be put into. It’s a style unlike anything I have ever seen worked by itself throughout a full match and he has developed it well. He did not win the match through his escapism style though, Sabre won by wrenching back the fingers of Dux while he was reaching for the ropes during a submission. The wrenching of the fingers took him just out of reach of the ropes and forced Dux to submit. Ouch!
This match alone, there was so much technical work, one beautifully crafted lock being worked into another and another. Something that we have seen in so many of these CWC match ups. If this is what the future of wrestling holds for WWE fans style wise, we have a bright future to look forward to.
The second match on the CWC card was Drew Gulak of Philly and Harv Sihra aka the “Bollywood Don”, one half of the well-known Bollywood Boyz representing India.
Drew is known for being the kind of wrestler that prefers to take it to the mat and submit his opponents, known to not be a fan of the prettier styles, much preferring raw brutality. His wrestling philosophy seemed to work well making Sihra tap out quickly to a Dragon Sleeper locked in with a Body Scissors for insurance. Sihra was a seriously impressive wrestler with an arsenal that would level many experienced wrestlers, unfortunately tonight wasn’t Sihra’s night.
Up next we had two wrestlers that both represent the United States, Anthony “The Kid That Don’t Play” Bennett, who went one on one with Tony “The Premier” Nese.
Tony Nese was trained by ECW veteran Mikey Whipwreck, who by the way was trained by Mick Foley. As well Nese comes to the ring with 11 years of in-ring experience under his belt and is known for a more technical arsenal. Anthony Bennett prefers a technical style as well. Unfortunately that really didn’t even out the match by much. Bennett delivered more than expected and showed he is more than a questional gimmick, known by friends as the ‘World’s Smallest Monster’ graduating from the Monster Factory training grounds out of South Jersey.
By the end Nese walked away the victor, with Bennett having a possible shoulder seperation, or some other kind of injury which almost stopped the match. Nese got the three count immediately afterwards. Both athletes displayed great technical abilities and Nese is one match closer to his goal of being “the biggest name involved by the end of the tournament”.
Last up for the night we had Raul Mendoza ‘The Luchador Without A Mask’ representing Mexico, lacing up to go one on one against WWE Veteran Brian Kendrick representing the US. Kendrick trained with Daniel Bryan at the Shawn Michaels Training Academy. As well Kendrick and Bryan both had their first professional matches with one another.
I felt like Mendoza was more of a grand stander choosing to showoff his acrobatic abilities and showboat inside the ring, rather than take a shot at a open and downed Kendrick outside the ring when he had the chance. Kendrick later put Mendoza’s head through a turnbuckle and Mendoza returned with a mouth full of pouring blood due to his braces.
Kendrick made Mendoza tap very quickly shortly after, taking an outstanding maneuver from Shawn Michael’s playbook, a reverse headlock into a hip throw into a bully choke. I highly recommend checking out this match if no other reason than to see the technical lockup before the tap.
Did you all catch this week’s NXT or CWC? What did you think? Will Bryan’s hope to win? Will Kendrick make it to the end of the CWC tournament? Do you think Bayley is ready for a second title run?