THIS WEEK: NXT Helping or Hurting WWE, MITB Fallout, and the Return of Podcast/Classic Match of the Week!
1. OPINION: Is NXT Helping or Hurting WWE?
NXT Takeover Chicago II was the talking point of a LOT of fans this past weekend. The entire card featured matches that likely exceeded expectations. If you haven’t had the chance to see it, it’s definitely worth a watch, but the question I can’t help but ask is, “where do they go from here?”
I want to preface that I am LOVING what everything these girls and guys do, but Velveteen Dream and Ricochet epitomized this thought. Great false finishes, stealing each others’ moves, and no wasted motion… but after watching this match, I couldn’t help but see these guys falling into some sort of “mutual respect” storyline after that match. Maybe next time they just throw each other off of some buildings… for a two count.
Follow that with the Gargano/Ciampa Chicago Street Fight… where there is still, unbelievably, room for this rivalry to grow. Again, if you haven’t watched the show, this was a match that took the main event spot – following the NXT Championship Match, and deserved to. These two may have introduced the first match to justify NXT’s journey into the Hell in a Cell, or at least a Steel Cage match. There has to be a line, right?
NXT is undoubtedly the “mature fan’s” WWE Product. Quick, meaningful shows, with rivalries that remain uncomplicated but captivating. Time and time again, critics will say that the “NXT show out-did the main brand shows”. Unpopular as this will be, I disagree. While it’s true that a lot of the NXT shows draw just as big of crowds for events like Takeover, NXT satisfies the taste of NXT fans. WWE is a global brand, which has the unbelievably difficult job of trying to cater to everyone. NXT’s fan base is loyal, and passionate about hard-hitting, uncomplicated action. In short, it’s great at what it does.
Is NXT better than WWE’s two big brands? To NXT fans it is – NXT fans who subscribe to the WWE Network to watch it, which in the end, makes it good for WWE. With the announcement of NXT UK, they essentially split the brand, and take advantage of a passionate audience on the other side of the world, who haven’t had their own brand… until now.
2. Mike’s MITB Picks: 8/10! MY BEST RESULTS EVER!
I’ve never been this close with picks in my life. Either I’m extremely lucky, or perhaps the writing was on the wall in some cases. Either way, the only two matches I didn’t predict were the Men’s MITB Match and Sami Zayn v. Bobby Lashley.
As for surprises, while I didn’t see her cashing in that night, Alexa Bliss’ win of the MITB Briefcase and the WWE Raw Women’s Championship make a lot of sense. Considering it gave Ronda the reason to really bust out of her shell the next night on Raw, the women’s division on the red brand is one of the most interesting things to watch on weekly TV.
Plus, I know I'm not the only one who was stoked to see James Ellsworth back... right? RIGHT?!?!
Post your likes/dislikes from MITB in the comments below!
3. PODCAST OF THE WEEK: Everything Is Wrestling with Yukon
I owe my good pal Yukon an apology, as it has taken me much longer than it should have to check out his podcast, “Everything is Wrestling”. That said, I think the only episode of rINgSIDE Radio he ever listened to was the one he was on ? - and he got a T-shirt out of the deal!
Yukon is the broadcaster I grew up wanting to be – even though he is only a couple years ahead of me in the industry. His success is a credit to bosses who believed in him, and his own natural talent to steal the show and make audio captivating.
Listening to his podcast, it’s great to hear Yukon talking to wrestlers, promoters, and fans, in a way that while not condescending, reminds us not to take this stuff so seriously. Wrestling is supposed to be fun, an escape, and a chance to live vicariously through the characters we watch in the squared circle.
“I was thinkin… about wrestling…” is a hilarious feature – the only ones I’ve heard are about 5 seconds long each, but they’re great interludes between some fantastic, positive content. Hit that subscribe button!
4. Classic Match of the Week: Johnny Saint v. Mick McManus - World of Sport
Let's just get the elephant out of the room right now. If you have never watched any World of Sport wrestling, this is going to seem completely chaotic to you. Wrestling matches in rounds, 2 falls to a finish, and moves that kinda look like wrestling, but also look like something completely different.
World of Sport was professional wrestling in the UK when there was no other kind like it in the world. With the appointing of World of Sport legend Johnny Saint as the GM for NXT UK, as well as a revived interest in professional wrestling "across the pond", I thought it might be fun to look back on two of the greatest in UK History.
McManus was the classic heel - burly and mean, cowardly yet confident. In this showing, the newly crowned light-heavyweight champion Saint, would face off against the established veteran.
World of Sport had a rich, beloved tradition. William Regal often spoke fondly of watching it for years, labelling these two, as well as the cartoonish Catweazle (seriously, look for McManus v. Catweazle for a laugh) as early influences.
This match doesn't go the full scheduled 8 rounds, but it is a great trip back in time for any wrestling fan.
That's it for this week! As always, thanks for reading, and feedback is always welcome!