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Chairshot Classic: NWA-TNA, The Asylum Years Episode 1: Total Nonstop Talking

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I’ll admit, that I didn’t watch TNA in the beginning. I was living on my own and was struggling to pay rent and utilities and didn’t have cable. Plus, paying for a PPV every week was not something my parents would’ve been into, so I missed the first few years of TNA until it was available on free TV and enjoyed it for the most part, though I haven’t watched in a long time. So, when the Global Wrestling Network came out, I was quite excited to get a look at TNA’s early years.

I will preface this with a warning: I have never seen these shows before, so this article is my real-time reactions to what’s going on. Things in parenthesis is my color commentary.

The opening mimics and calls back the opening of the old wrestling shows of the territories. It’s got the old statue of two men wrestling and clips of the old NWA territories (I think). This promotion actually starts in the summer of 2002, over a year after the fall of WCW and ECW, so I’m assuming that none of these clips are of promotions owned by WWE. The TNA logo literally explodes out of this nostalgia, signaling that ‘Yes, this is the NWA, but we’re updating it and are more edgy’.

This actually looks a little like an opening to an 80s WCW show, to be honest, but the crowd seems hot, so let’s do this. Don West is introduced, he’s wearing an ugly shirt that could be Hawaiian and a pseudo-mullet from the 80s. He introduces Ed Ferrara, the person who took part in the mocking of JR back during the Monday Night Wars. Unsurprisingly, Ed, who is wearing dreadlocks for some reason, is not nearly as popular as Don West, but he gets crowd going. He says he’s all about T-n-A, and not just Total Nonstop Action (ew).  Ed introduces Mike Tenay as ‘The Professor of Vanilla’.

Tenay, the least sleazy looking one of the bunch, thanks us for joining the show and says that tonight’s show revolves around history, respecting it and making it. They brag about all the NWA legends being there and say that there will be a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion crowned that night. We get the rules for the Gauntlet for the Gold, which is basically the Royal Rumble until we get down to the final two, which will be fought as a straight fall match.

Jeremy Borash, with overly-frosted hair, introduces the legends that are in attendance: Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr, Jackie Fargo (Memphis legend, trained Jerry Lawler), ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong (Road Dogg’s father), Corsica Joe and Sarah Lee (no idea who they are), Bill Berhens (VP of the NWA), Ricky Steamboat, who is carrying the NWA Heavyweight Championship. The crowd loves this and is going nuts.

I really don’t like Ed Ferrara, I hope he doesn’t stay long because he is getting on my last nerve with his commentary.

Steamboat thanks everyone for coming, reminds them of his feud with Ric Flair, which is one of the best ever and says that winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt meant more to him than any other victory in his career.

(Okay, Tenay’s starting to annoy me too.)

Steamboat compares being NWA World Heavyweight Champion to the World Series and Wimbledon. He says Gauntlet for the Gold will consist of twenty guys, which I’m guessing is basically the TNA locker room, but giving a number sounds better.  Steamboat also says that he will be the special guest referee for the final part of the Gauntlet for the Gold.

Scratch that, the entire commentary team annoys me.

We are interrupted by Jeff Jarrett, who is the actual co-owner of this circus. Jarrett makes it clear that he thinks the whole Gauntlet thing is stupid, pointing out that Steamboat didn’t win the belt in a Battle Royal. He won by beating Ric Flair one on one (should I point out that Ric Flair won the WWE Championship in a Royal Rumble?). He then proceeds to insult the legends while making the point that none of them won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a battle royal. He then starts having words with Jackie Fargo, who tells him to kiss his ass. Fargo’s a little tough to understand but he’s chewing Jarrett out.

To be honest, I hope Jarrett beats some of these guys up, just to get them out of the ring.

Fargo then tells Jarrett that he (Jarrett) will the first entry into the Gauntlet for the Gold. Which means that Jarrett will have to outlast eighteen other men and win the one-on-one finish to be NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Jarrett accepts and predicts that he’ll win, which I’m pretty sure is the plan here. Some music hits and out comes Ken Shamrock, former WWF Intercontinental Champion.  I’m not sure what’s going on with Shamrock’s facial hair, but it looks really silly.

Shamrock agrees with Jarrett about the Gauntlet for the Gold, but indicates that he’s #20 in this match, which means Jarrett’s got to survive the Gauntlet match, including a fresh Ken Shamrock.

And they gripe about WWE being predictable, I’ve never seen this show before and I’m already sure Jarret’s winning.

Music hits again and it’s Scott Hall coming from the crowd (were they that strapped for talent?). Scott Hall also agrees that the Gauntlet match stinks. Hall doesn’t remember how many people are in this match, but he tells them to focus on beating one man: Scott Hall.

How much longer is this segment going to take?

Jarrett’s had about enough of this nonsense and tells everyone, Shamrock, Hall, and the Legends to stick it before warning Fargo that he’s going to regret this day as long as he lives before leaving and, thankfully, ending this segment.

We go backstage and a lady who says her name is Goldilocks who says the action is backstage and she’s got the action right here before introducing The Psycho Dwarf who says that the first match is going to be midgets (his words, not mine) because midgets are the true stars of the show. He cuts a very crude promo and Goldilocks looks like she’s torn between being disturbed and laughing, but she seems to be trying to take this seriously. The promo is interrupted by Jarrett throwing a tantrum.

We come back to scantily clad women dancing in cages, which I suspect Russo and/or Ferrara had something to do with, and our first match: A six-man tag team match.

X-Division Match: AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn vs The Flying Elvises (Sonny Siaki, Jorge Estrada, and Jimmy Yang).

Styles, Low Ki, and Lynn come out to huge pops and we’re told that this is an X-Division match and are told what that means: Extreme wrestling and there isn’t a specific weight class, despite all six guys qualifying as cruiserweights. We cut to the Legends and they’re laughing and/or confused by the Elvises.

The teams exchange words before the Elvises get the jump on Styles and company.

No matter what Tenay says X-Division means, this is a cruiserweight match and is very hard to follow. However, all six guys are amazing competitors and this match is fun to watch.  I’m not really sold on Low Ki, for some reason, but the rest of the competitors are great. This match quickly devolves into chaos.

(can someone turn off Ferrara’s mic, please?)

Results: The Flying Elvises by pinfall after Yang pins Styles.

Highlights: A.J Styles is amazing to watch, even at the start of his career.

Comments: I really enjoyed this.

Midget Match (their words): Teo vs Hollywood.

The competitors get okay pops but this one is hard to follow, though there are midget jokes aplenty from the commentators. This match is sloppy in a lot of places, but these guys have plenty of fight. Scott Armstrong has his hands full with these two.

(Seriously, can we shut up Ed Ferrara? Don West is annoying enough, but Ferrara is unbearable).

Result: Teo by pinfall after a twisting Swanton.

Comments: Uh…yeah.

We’re getting an in-ring segment with Don and Ferrara, which means the sound’s going off because I’ve had just about enough of Ferrara and the show’s not half over yet.

We’re being introduced to the ladies who will be wrestling to be crowned Miss TNA, which seems to be a rough prototype for the Knockouts Division, though if Russo is involved, most of these women weren’t picked for their wrestling skills. To no one’s surprise, the Miss TNA match is a lingerie match, rather than an actual wrestling contest. However, we do see a very young Mickie James working as Alexis Laree. Francine (ECW’s Queen of Extreme) has had enough of West, Ferrara, and this whole set up and says that none of the women there deserve to be in the ring because they don’t compare to her. Never mind that Francine was never known for her wrestling prowess. The ladies take exception to Francine’s mouth and her claims of superiority over them.

Elektra (another ECW alum) grabs the mic and calls out Francine, points out that TNA doesn’t have ‘Extreme’ in the title and asks if Francine is ashamed because she singlehandedly bankrupted another company (ECW). Francine take exception to this, and I don’t blame her and the fight’s on. Francine rips Elektra’s top off and leaves, vowing to do the same to the other women.

West and Ferrara are having too much fun holding Elektra back, which makes this even creepier.

Backstage, Goldilocks is interviewing some dude called Mortimer Plumtree. Plumtree says his life has been full of torment which lead him to power. Apparently, he’s the manager of a tag team consisting of guys who used to torment him. Goldilocks looks really wigged out and I’m with her, this guy is creepy. He says his team does what he wants when he wants and don’t speak unless he allows them to, which probably isn’t often since he talks enough for three people.  His team is: The Johnsons.

(*slow clap*)

The Johnsons (with Mortimer Plumtree) vs Psychosis and Outlaw James Storm.

The Johnsons are two guys that are covered from head to foot in beige, including their masks. One of the commentators says that people were dissing the Johnsons without seeing what they can do first and that we should wait until after the match is over to diss them. (Fair enough)

Psychosis (without his mask) comes out with James Storm, who has, apparently, had the same gimmick since 2002.

The Johnsons aren’t great, but Psychosis and Storm are pretty good as a team.

Alicia (Ryan Shamrock for WWE fans, Symphony for WCW Fans) comes out and seems to be assessing the situation.

Back to the ring, Plumtree is berating his team to do better, but that might be a tall order.

(is Alicia going to do anything or is she just going to stand there?)

This match is bleh to say the least. Storm and Psychosis are okay, but the Johnsons need some work.

Results: The Johnsons by pinfall. The crowd isn’t having it. Alicia has a conversation with the ref and is paid some money by him. Okay.

Highlights: It ended.

Comments: Doing some research, I found that The Johnsons, aka The Shane Twins, aka Gymini, didn’t last long in TNA and were released after a few shows and I can see why.

Backstage, Goldilocks is catcalled by two hillbilly looking guys who are really gross. One of them looks familiar, but I’m not placing him.

(Some research has revealed that the guy doing most of the talking is a young Trevor Murdoch, who would be a WWE Tag champion during the first Brand Split with the late Lance Cade)

Goldilocks is trying to leave to film something, but the hillbillies seem to know what she’s going to film and come with her. In the locker room, we find a young lady dressed like an adult film version of Daisy Duke. According to Trevor, this lovely lady is his girlfriend and/or a cousin (oh dear). The Duke wannabes try to crack open some beers but a backstage person tells them that it’s not allowed because TNA doesn’t want intoxicated wrestlers in the ring.

(I wonder if that has something to do with a story Kevin Nash told about WCW’s party culture where the beer was on ice when they got to the arena)

Their lady…friend (according to Wikipedia, her name is Fluff Dupp) comments that there are a lot of sissies in TNA. Trevor and the other guy scoff at the idea of getting drunk on beer.

Goldilocks has had enough and excuses herself.

eremy Borash introduces Hervey Sadler (1993 Busch Series Rookie of the Year) and Sterling Marlin (the then points leader for the Winston Cup)

What? They are in Tennessee.

Tenay just said Marlin is the NWA World Heavyweight Champion of NASCAR. Yeah…no.

Sadler and Marlin get a good pop, but why they’re here is a mystery to me. Borash does an interview and the crowd is being very raucous.

Seriously, what are they doing here?

We’re saved from more of this by K-Krush (R-Truth, who had just been released by WWE, where he’d been wrestling as K-Kwik). Krush says he’s sick of racecar driving, which doesn’t go well with the crowd, and says that this is professional wrestling. He also said racecar drivers aren’t athletes. Krush says that he is an athlete, as are his ‘kind’ (I’m not sure if he means wrestlers or African Americans) and that Marlin’s ‘kind’ (NASCAR drivers or white people) drive a car around in a circle.

Never mind, this promo gets racial very quickly and Sadler steps in and asks how Krush expects anyone to take him seriously considering out he’s dressed. Things get nasty quickly as Krush gets a hold of Sadler, but Sadler is saved by Brian Christopher (Grandmaster Sexay of Too Cool), who starts fighting Krush.

Gotta say, the image of three white guys teaming up against one black guy while a mostly white crowd cheers them on is very disturbing.

Brian Christopher cuts a promo on Krush and challenges him to a match Krush’s ‘kind’ vs Christopher and the NASCAR guys.

Krush accepts the challenge and is dragged from the ringside area by some ‘security guards’.

We go backstage to find Jarrett assaulting Jackie Fargo (don’t think that’s a wise move Jeff) while the refs try to separate them. Jarrett says he wants Fargo to remember this night.

Back to the ring, it’s time for our next match, and it’s a tag team match!

Christian York and Joey Matthews (Joey Mercury) vs The Dupps (with Fluff)

York and Matthews are amazingly over! The Dupps are our hillbilly friends from earlier and aren’t quite as over, well Fluff might be.

Fluff scolds York and Matthews letting the Dupps get the jump on them, but York and Matthews quickly rally.

York and Matthews are great and Trevor is too, but Bo Dupp is a little too goofy, he does a bunny hop before going into a standing splash.

Results: The Dupps win it by pinfall after Fluff causes York to losing his balance that some how went unnoticed by Scott Armstrong, who was on the same side of the ring chastising Matthews and Trevor.

Comment: Oh heavens, what was that?

In what I’m assuming is a nod to the fact that TNA is in Nashville, Tennessee, aka Music City, USA, they do a tribute to the then CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Toby Keith (who, at one point, tried to be a part owner of TNA) and his hit song ‘How Do Ya Like Me Now?’.

Seriously, what the actual f**k?.

Oh, there’s an actual point to the Toby Keith tribute, he’s going to sing before the Gauntlet for the Gold, but instead of the National Anthem, he’s singing ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue’.

Jarrett interrupts the proceedings and Keith is pissed. Jarrett tells Keith to take his ‘Angry American’ ass out and says it’s time for the Main Event.

Gauntlet for the Gold. Winner becomes the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

Okay, this is going to be a little tough to follow. I can tell you that #2 is Buff Bagwell, who is quickly eliminated.

One difference between the Royal Rumble and the Gauntlet for the Gold is that we get a running clock of the full ninety seconds between competitors. Also, once someone is eliminated, the clock resets, no one gets a chance to catch their breath.

Why are there commercial breaks in a PPV?

Okay, Toby Keith is apparently an entrant in this thing and can do a basic suplex.

HOLD THE PHONE! Your humble reviewer has to eat her words. I’ve been thinking that this whole Gauntlet for the Gold was going to lead up to Jarrett being the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, but Jarrett just got eliminated by Scott Hall and Toby Keith.

Okay, eliminating Jarrett seemed to be Keith’s objective and he’s out, but he’s following Jarrett up the ramp.

I don’t know why, but Gangrel has jumped in the ring, apparently, he’s an entrant, or Toby Keith was borrowing his number.

There’s a lot of former WCW and ECW guys in this match.

Okay, we are down to Malice and Ken Shamrock. Steamboat’s in the ring, let’s do this!

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ken Shamrock vs Malice. Special Referee: Ricky Steamboat

This match was pretty rough. Malice has a lot of power, but not a lot of finesse. Shamrock’s history in MMA speaks for itself, plus both guys are pretty tired from the Gauntlet match, especially Malice.

There seems to be a lot focus on whether or not Malice taps out. Apparently, the announcers can’t tell the difference between a slap on the mat from pain and tapping out. Thankfully, Steamboat can, or this match would’ve been over already. Shamrock and Steamboat are having some words over Shamrock not wanting to break the ankle lock.

Results: Ken Shamrock by pinfall, unbelievably. Shamrock enters an exclusive club and unlike Shane Douglas, Shamrock doesn’t throw down the belt. Shamrock is a World Champion, something he never accomplished in WWF/E. The legends come out to congratulate Shamrock. Backstage, Jarrett, Fargo, and Toby Keith are still fighting. Jarrett seems to think Fargo sent Keith out there to screw him out of the title, and that’s probably a safe bet.

Comments: That was interesting.  Lot of filler guys, not enough guys that really seemed to have a chance of being champion. The swerve with Jarrett was interesting.

Jarrett comes out and is still bitching about the Gauntlet for the Gold and actually attacks a couple of the sturdier looking legends, which brings out Fargo, Toby Keith, and some security guards.  There’s a lot of yelling and threatening, and Fargo seems to think that Toby Keith being a good singer means anything in the wrestling business. Fargo also promises that Jarrett will get his ass whipped next week. Jarrett doesn’t want to wait until next week. Apparently, the match is going to be Jeff Jarrett vs Scott Hall. Hall run out from the back and the first TNA episode ends with Jarrett and Hall duking it while the security guards half-heartedly try to stop them.

Overall Thoughts:

So, how was the first episode of TNA? Like most first episodes of anything, it was very awkward. There was a lot of talking, I think the first segment took at least twenty minutes to get through before we got to an actual match.

The TNA locker room at this time seemed very lackluster. It seemed to consist of a lot of guys that were leftover from the collapse of WCW and ECW and either weren’t signed by WWE or were released after the Invasion angle ended towards the end of 2001. There is some young talent, but a lot of this roster seems to be made up of leftovers, which really isn’t surprising for what is basically a start-up/expansion wrestling promotion. However, there were also a lot of young guys that would become mainstays of the roster: Styles, Storm, and Harris.

The announce team was awful. Mike Tenay is a great source of wrestling information, but he is not a good lead announcer, at least not right now. He really needs a Jim Ross or Tony Schiavone type person to do the actual play-by-play. Don West and Ed Ferrara were both extremely cringe-worthy, though West wasn’t nearly as bad as Ferrara, but some research has assured me that Ferrara won’t be there much longer.

The Gauntlet for the Gold was an interesting match and had a pretty good swerve. I was convinced that Jarrett was going to win, but I wasn’t upset by Shamrock’s win.

The inclusion of NASCAR guys and Toby Keith was pointless, in my opinion, and the segment with the NASCAR guys and Brian Christopher ganging up on K-Krush was disturbing.

One thing I did notice was that, unless Jarrett was on camera, there was almost no mention of the Gauntlet for the Gold, which seems a little surprising considering that they spent the first twenty minutes of the show hyping it.

I will say that, for all the issues and eye-rolling, face-palming, moments, TNA showed a lot of promise. Jarrett showed that he could be a top guy to build a company around, something that really wasn’t evident in WCW. It looks like the Jarretts and company realize what they need to do to not only bring the NWA back into the mainstream, but make it a viable competition for WWE.

Stinkers: Oh, so many. I would have to say The Johnsons vs Storm and Psychosis just for sheer ‘WTF’.

Match of the Night: Gauntlet for the Gold was a surprisingly good match, even with a less than stellar roster.

Final Thoughts: This episode was very rough around the edges, but it showed promise and I did enjoy parts of it.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics

Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14)

“Taking Over” continues as we see how Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14) holds up today!

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WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way Neville Tyson Kidd Tyler Breeze Sami Zayn

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the second NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

Prior editions:

NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Byron Saxton

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Lucha Dragons beat The Ascension to win the championships – A good match, but not great. It’s a far cry from what the Takeover opening tag team match would become. Big pop for the finish, though.
  • Baron Corbin beat CJ Parker – This was back when I hated Baron Corbin. Wait, that was yesterday. Anyway, this is a squash to elevate Baron Corbin, even though we didn’t get a true entrance for Corbin. Corbin’s hair didn’t look terribl ehere, in fact it looked better than CJ’s. According to commentary, this was Corbin’s NXT debut. Huge pop for the End Of Days. In fact, Crbin was crazy over here.
  • Hair vs. Hair Match – Sylvester Lefort vs. Enzo Amore – NXT was definitely more “developmental” at this time, and this match showed it. Both these guys had the personalities to excel, but never pans out. They worked hard and did get the crowd invested, which is job #1.
  • Hideo Itami NXT debut promo – Thi sis where he shifts from KENTA to Hideo Itami, , and he cut most of the promo in Japanese. The Ascension would come out and eventually attack, but Itami got the upperhand in the end. This was an insanely promising start to his WWE career. The visual of him sitting in a chair begging them both to get back in the ring was amazing.
  • Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley – Quick win for Bull Dempsey, who should have been a bigger deal. He’d be a great fit at NXT UK. His theme song is still the most underrated they’ve ever made.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair successfully defended against Bayley – Bayley, just like everyone, was crazy over at Full Sail. Her “childhood dream” gimmick can only go so far, though. Charlotte Flair was the decided heel here, and showed signs of the greatness she’d achieve while also showing how green she was. Charlotte was absolutely ripped here. Charlotte nailed a terrible looking moonsault that the announce team didn’t know how to sell. Charlotte won with Natural Selection, which may have been an audible after the moonsault debacle as you can hear Bayley call for the spot. It’s amazing what Charlotte has become. Sasha Banks attacked Bayley after,and Charlotte
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze – One hell of a match, and I remember how great the build was. Breeze won a #1 contender match but had his title match interrupted by Kidd, Kidd and Zayn were eventually here to make it a Fatal 4-Way. I really thought Breeze would win here, but that was really wishful thinking on my part. This match was one-fall rules. Tyson Kidd’s Sharpshooter is criminally underrated. Neville shows heel tendencies here, pulling the referee out of the ring before he can count the three in Zayn’s favor (legal in a 4-way match), Neville would then superkick Zayn on the floor and pin Kidd after a Red Arrow. The story after the match was Zayn’s reaction and dejection, setting up the obvious main event for the next Takeover. I loved the character shift for Neville, winning “by means necessary” and showing signs of the amazing heel we’d see later.

Where are they now:

  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • Sin Cara – Still wearing that cursed mask, so he’s injured.
  • Baron Corbin – Sucking on the main roster! He’s been a Money In The Bank briefcase holder (he lost his cash in), Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, and United States Champion. He was also Constable Corbin and the General Manager of Raw. He retired Kurt Angle. And he sucks.
  • CJ Parker – He is likely best known for being Kevin Owens’ first NXT opponent, and busting his nose in the process. He left WWE, and is now back to working as Juice Robinson in ROH and New Japan, where he is the IWGP United States Champion (although you wouldn’t know it by watching their product).
  • Sylvester Lefort – He ended up getting released in early 2016, went to TNA to be part of The Tribunal under his name Tom LaRuffa. He worked there through the end of 2016, before returning to Europe where he remains active to this day.
  • Enzo Amore – Ugh…he went to the main roster with Big Cass (on Raw) and Carmella (on Smackdown), working as a team until they broke up in what was actually a good angle. He eventually showed up on 205 Live, where he drew some good heat, but ended up leaving the company for outside the ring issues. He’s released some rap songs/videos, and made an ill-fated appearance at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard.
  • Hideo Itami – Such a promising start, he had a good run in NXT that included a NXT Championship shot at Bobby Roode. He went to 205 Live, but failed to become Cruiserweight Champion. He eventually requested his release and returned home to Japan.
  • Bull Dempsey – He had a small NXT run before being released, and works as Bull James on the independents, mostly in the Northeast United States.
  • Bayley – She’d have a better run later with Sasha Banks, before moving to the main roster and holding the Raw Women’s Championship. She won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks, and is not on Smackdown.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression

Renee young was better than I remember on commentary here. Overall this was a good show that, outside of the main event, wouldn’t hold up against the Takeover events of the past few years. But the foundation was being laid, and this should be evaluated as such. The main event was spectacular, and this was a rare Takeover with six matches. Those, plus two other in-ring segments, still went just under two hours. All four members of the main event wrestled on the Raw before this, and that decision, along with this match, can really be credited with the early rise in populary of NXT.

One additional thing that’s quite evident in watching these events, is now much easier it is for the talent to stay in perfect shape in NXT as they’re spending less time on the road. You can see the differences in Charlotte, Bayley, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and others.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover I (5/24/14)

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WWE NXT Takeover Neville Tyson Kidd

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the first NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

NXT Takeover
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, William Regal, and Byron Saxton

  • Adam Rose beat Camacho – A solid opener, which was more about furthering the character of Adam Rose and the Rosebuds. Notable Rosebuds on this night included Ryan Katz (currently Creative Producer for WWE/NXT), Becky Lynch (just main evented WrestleMania), Carmella (she’s F A B U L O U S, and is a former Smackdown Women’s Champion), and Braun Strowman (he’s in the Andre The Giant role).
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) successfully defend against Kalisto & El Local – This was  a step above a glorified squash. The world likely won’t remember them this way, but The Ascension were total bad asses in NXT.
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender: Tyler Breeze beat Sami Zayn – Both guys were on their game here. Zayn of course went on to be NXT Champion and Breeze was called up to NXT too soon. Zayn would lose this match to Breeze, but both men would compete for the NXT Championship at the next Takeover. The crowd was insanely into this match, and it build beautifully to the finish. the finish, by the way, was amazing as Breeze blocked the Helluva Kick but inadvertently low-blows Sami in the process. One Beauty Shot later and Tyler Breeze is the #1 contender to the NXT Championship.
  • Rusev promo, with Lana, that’s interrupted by Mojo Rawley – I am pretty sure this is where Rusev’s theme introduction comes from. Mojo wasn’t ready yet, but he still owned his character…which at this point was a bargain basement “hype” John Cena. Rusev was already looking like the man.
  • Vacant NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair beat Natalya – Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte to the ring, who wasn’t taking the “Flair” name yet. Natalya was accompanied by Bret Hart because, well, symmetry. Charlotte was obviously green here, and didn’t have nearly the work done she has now. Natalya is actually in better physical condition now, five years later. The match served as a vehicle to get the NXT Women’s Championship onto Charlotte, and it served that purpose. Charlotte Flair would obviously grow into her role and is not one of the best performers on the main roster.
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd – Given their leadership roles on the main roster today, it’s no surprise that Natalya and Tyson Kidd were a part of the early success of NXT. The crowd was hot for this match, and both men delivered. Of note: before Neville hits the Red Arrow on Tyson, Tom Phillips notes that Kidd is in the drop zone. Take that, Michael Cole!

Where are they now:

  • Adam Rose – About to wrestle his last match, ever, against Bull James.
  • Camacho – One half of the Guerrillas Of Destiny as Tanga Loa, along with his adoptive brother Tama Tonga, running wild in Bullet Club and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • El Local – The former Ricardo Rodriguez is no longer with the company, and is working the California independents.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Rusev & Lana – Multiple time United States Champion, feuds with John Cena and AJ Styles just to name a few, and sadly not a lead heel on either brand like they should be. They’re also not supporting Russia, like, at all.
  • Mojo Rawley – Moved up in the first draft of the modern era, teamed with Zack Ryder before breaking up, cut a series of intriguing mirror promos, but hasn’t really done much. He did win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, though.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Natalya – Back on the main roster and serves as the veteran presence, and delivers in a big way nearly every time out.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression of WWE NXT Takeover I

For starters, I love hearing William Regal on commentary–he adds so much. Nigel McGuinness should be playing this exact role. The commentary team also had longer spells where they let the action speak for itself, and it really worked (especially in the main event). Byron Saxton is also quite underrated as he was money tonight. Overall, this was a really good that followed the NXT Takeover 5-match format. The first two matches weren’t really in doubt, but things really kicked up for the last three. Great show.


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