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Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’94 – It’s A Triple Threat! (Not Really)

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Starrcade 1994
Our weekly WCW Chairshot Classics series continues with Starrcade ’94!

Open: Newcomer ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage was on WCW Saturday Night. He is looking to have a confrontation with a man he has a long history with, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan. Tonight, we’ll find out if Savage is going to shake his hand or slap him in the face.

Video: Bill Apter presents WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan with the 1994 PWI Wrestler of the Year award.

Match #1 for the WCW United States Championship: Vader w/Harley Race vs. WCW United States Champion ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan
Vader meets Duggan in the aisle and a brawl ensues. Duggan runs Vader into the steel and heads into the ring. Race tries to take liberties but the US Champ sends him up and over the top rope. The USA chants break out as Vader regroups. Duggan meets him on the outside and backs him up with rights. Vader fights back with a headbutt, but Duggan whips him into the rail. He takes the ring and gets the crowd into it. Duggan pummels him with rights upon his entry into the ring and follows with a clothesline. He runs again and Vader is flipped back to the floor. Back to the ring, Vader reverses a whip.

They both duck clotheslines and Duggan takes him down with a crossbody. Hacksaw picks up the former World Champ with a big body slam and plants an elbow. He tries some covers but Vader won’t give. Forearms from Duggan and he sends Vader for a back elbow. Vader slumps to the ropes and Duggan delivers some more rights and another clothesline. He drops an elbow and Vader kicks out at two. Reverse chin lock by Duggan as Race encourages his client. To their feet, Duggan hits some ax handles but Vader turns the tide with a poke to the eyes. They exchange blows but Vader clubs him in the head. Race mocks Duggan from the floor, but Hacksaw shows more fight.

He sends Vader for a monster clothesline and drops an elbow. He tries a pin but Vader is in the ropes. He tries a 2nd turnbuckle elbow but Vader rolls out of the way. Vader clubs him from behind and Duggan tumbles to the floor. Duggan rolls back into the ring and he’s hit with a quick elbow. Vader goes to work with body shots and he poses to a booing crowd. Scoop slam by Vader and he heads for a Vader Bomb, he lands it but he’s slow to cover, Duggan gets his foot on the rope. Vader heads back to the turnbuckles, but Duggan is up and he boots him down. Rights from Duggan, he hits the ropes but Vader cuts him off with a big body shot.

Race chokes the champ on the bottom rope while Vader runs a distraction. The big men slug it out some more, Duggan with an upper hand but Vader clubs both sides of the temple. Duggan goes down and Vader climbs to the top. He goes for the moonsault but Duggan rolls out of the way. Nick Patrick starts the 10 count, they’re both up around 7 as USA chants breakout. Vader hits a splash in the corner. He backs up for another but Duggan hits a desperation clothesline. Duggan with a series of strikes and he backs Vader into the corner. Irish whip and Duggan hits a double ax handle. Duggan calls for his signature 3-point-stance clothesline and he nails it, he goes for a cover but Race rakes his eyes.

Vader staggers back to his feet as the crowd cheers for Duggan. Vader leaps from the 2nd turnbuckle but Duggan catches him with a powerslam. He makes the cover but Race has Nick Patrick’s attention. Duggan goes to confront the ref, but Vader is up. Duggan ducks a lariat and takes Vader to his knee. He gets in the 3 point stance, but Race is on the apron with Hacksaw’s 2×4. Vader runs him into his own board, lifts him up for a facebuster, and we have a new US Champ.
Winner and NEW WCW United States Champion: Vader (Facebuster)

  • EA’s TakeDefinitely a change of pace to have Vader open the show, but not a bad choice. Obviously, the original plan for the main event is not what’s going to go down. If you’re looking for anything fancy, you’ve come to the wrong place with this one, but the crowd was into the heel/babyface dynamic so I guess that’s the best takeaway.

Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is joined by Avalanche, The Butcher & Kevin Sullivan. Gene asks why Butcher has a tombstone, and he explains that the ‘Faces of Fear’ are here in force, and the stone is a late Christmas gift for Hulk Hogan. Tonight is his night, and he’ll be taking the WCW Championship. Avalanche finally gets Sting 1 on 1, and he hopes his medical insurance is paid up, because he’ll be going to the nearest facility when he’s done with him. Sullivan calls out Hogan and explains that their alliance was made exclusively to stop him.

Match #2: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright vs. Jean-Paul Levesque
Collar and elbow tie up, Levesque with position in the corner and Jean-Paul grabs the cheeks of Wright to insult him. Another tie up, arm drag by Levesque and he offers a bow. A third tie up, Levesque with an arm drag and grounds him with knee leverage. Wright cartwheels out of it, hits a drop kicks and a takes him down with a head scissor. Wright tries leap frogging the ref, but the official takes control and slows it down. Collar and elbow, side headlock by Levesque, he works into a wristlock, Wright boots out of it and lands a dropkick. Arm drag into an armbar by Das Wunderkind. To their feet, Levesque takes him over with an hip toss, but Wright responds.

He goes back to the arm and strattles him. Knee to the midsection by Levesque and a side headlock takedown. Wright counters with a head scissor and they chain for position on the mat. Levesque takes control with a modified reverse chin lock. Wright works into a hammerlock and modifies it with a half nelson on the mat. He puts him into a pinning predicament and Levesque kicks out. Drop toe hold by Levesque but Wright counters nicely. Levesque does a headstand out of the head scissor and clocks Wright. He attacks Wright with stomps and is showing severe aggression. He mauls him in the corner and the ref can’t keep Levesque off. He sends Wright for a spin kick, and he smiles with a bow.

Front face lock and a snap suplex by Levesque, he makes a cover and Wright kicks out. Boot to the gut and the side of the head by Levesque, another pin and Wright kicks out once again. To the ropes, Wright ducks an elbow but misses a crossbody and he rolls to the floor. Levesque hits a baseball slide with Wright climbing back on the apron. He stays right on him as the referee redirects Jean-Paul inside. Wright crawls back to the apron, he drives a shoulder into Levesque and goes for a sunset flip. He can’t get him over and Levesque throws a big right. To the ropes and Levesque hits a powerslam, lateral press and Wright kicks out.

Levesque measures him and slaps on a reverse chin lock. The ref drop checks the arm and Wright doesn’t give. He slowly works back up and drives his elbow to the gut. He hits the ropes but runs into Levesque’s dropkick. He finds himself back in the chin lock. Wright gets vertical, breaks the hold but runs into a spinning back breaker by Levesque. Scoop slam by Levesque and he heads up the turnbuckles. He tries an elbow but Wright moves out of the way. Wright fights back up and hits some European uppercuts, following it with a corkscrew elbow. More uppercuts and to the ropes for a hip toss, Levesque kicks out. Wright sends him for the ride and hits a back body drop.

Levesque fights back, they hit the ropes and they both go down with simultaneous shoulder blocks. The 10 count is on, Levesque is up first and he hits a European uppercut. Irish whip, Wright leaps to the 2nd turnbuckle and backflips over Levesque, he comes in with a victory roll and we have a winner.
Winner: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright (Victory Roll)

  • EA’s TakeDON’T BLINK! This is the one and only WCW PPV match with the man who would go on to become one of the most powerful and influential men in the wrestling business, Triple H. For only having one year in WCW, it’s still an intriguing story. Starting as “Terra Ryzing”, they later used a play on the New Hampshire native’s real name to create a French Aristocrat character. While being later billed as a blue-blood from Connecticut, it would ultimately be the foundation of the Hunter Hearst Helmsley character and the rest is history. He famously told the story of turning down a 2-year offer from Eric Bischoff in favor of 1-year deal. Since the money was low (given that wrestlers had to cover their own travel expenses), he explained that after 1 year, Bischoff would know whether or not he’s even worth a 2nd year and if he is, he’ll be worth more than what the contract offers for that additional year. While potentially risky for a young kid trying to make it, I think he made a very good point. He was right and it was a sign that he knew how to play ‘The Game’ long before the nickname.

Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson w/Col. Robert Parker & Meng vs. WCW World Television Champion Johnny B. Badd
Collar and elbow and they hit the ropes immediately. Double A levels him with a shoulder block but Badd is up quickly. Tie up, side headlock by Badd but Anderson responds with a hair takedown. A repeat of what just happened and a frustrated Badd chases Arn into the corner and the ref has to back him off. Collar and elbow, Anderson with a hammerlock, Badd counters with one of his own and chains into a drop toe hold. Hammerlock on the mat and he drives his knee into the Enforcer. The hold is broken and Anderson slows things down. Collar and elbow, fireman’s carry takeover by Anderson, countered with a head scissor by Badd.

Anderson gets his feet on the ropes and the hold is broken. Anderson ducks a tie up and seats Badd on the top turnbuckle, he taunts Badd and backs off. They lock up, Anderson grabs the wrist and drives Badd to the mat. Badd bridges back up and pulls The Enforcer down. He holds onto the arm and Arn breaks it on the ropes once again. Anderson lifts Badd and seats him on the top turnbuckle again. Anderson mockingly slaps him across the face. Badd leaps over him and scores with a hip toss. Anderson stops him with a knee to the gut. Badd reverses a whip to the corner and hits a Mexican arm drag, following it with a drop kick and Anderson regroups on the outside.

Collar and elbow, Arn takes position in the corner, Badd blocks a left and throws plenty into Arn. Anderson misses with the atomic drop but Badd runs into a spinebuster. Anderson is slow to get up, he uses the boot laces on the eyes and throws Badd into the corner. He chokes Badd until the ref backs him off. Johnny has his eyes raked on the top rope as he’s taunted by Parker. Abdominal stretch by Anderson and he uses the rope for leverage. Double ax handle sends Badd down to the mat and Anderson sends him for the ride. Badd tries to leap over with a sunset flip but he’s cut off. Badd will not stay down and he hulks back to his feet. Anderson tries grounding him with knees and he drops an elbow. He makes a cover and Badd kicks out.

Anderson moves to a reverse chin lock. Badd works to his feet but Double A turns into a sleeper. Badd counters with one of his own, Anderson countering with a chin buster. To the ropes, Anderson picks him up and Badd catches him with a head scissor takeover. Badd with a forearm and whips Anderson for a back elbow, Anderson kicks out at two. Badd sends The Enforcer for a back drop. He sends him again for a big knee lift and he heads for the top rope. He scores a sunset flip but Anderson kicks out. Irish whip by Badd, Anderson blocks the monkey flip and makes a cover but he’s caught using the ropes for leverage. Anderson confronts the referee and Badd catches him with a schoolboy to retain the title.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champion: Johnny B. Badd (Schoolboy)

  • EA’s TakeThis match was supposed to be against The Honky Tonk Man, but as explained last time, that relationship didn’t stick. Anderson is a consummate professional, but I have to wonder how much was real and how much was kayfabe when they talked about Badd planning to face HTM, because it felt like a last-minute, thrown together replacement match. Double-A can put on a solid match with anyone and Badd is no slouch, but this one felt off.

Video: The Nasty Boys are selected as the 1994 PWI Tag Team of the Year.

Match #4: Harlem Heat (Booker T. & Stevie Ray) w/Sister Sherri vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags)
An all out brawl ensues after a standoff, Sags hooks Booker T with a pump handle slam and The Nasty Boys clear the ring. Booker tells the rednecks to shut up. Official action will start with Booker and Sags. They jaw a little bit and duke it out. Booker takes control with knees, he sends Sags for a big elbow. He drops an elbow on the mat and makes a quick cover, Sags kicks out. Booker stays on the attack, Sags reverses a whip to the ropes. Booker ducks two clotheslines but he’s scooped for a big slam. Tag is made to Knobbs and they hit a double team clothesline on both members of Harlem Heat.

The Nasty Boys hit both opponents with corner splashes and Heat rolls to the floor. There are fights on both sides of the ring, Knobbs throwing Stevie into the barrier before helping his partner with Booker. Back in the ring, Sherri runs a distraction so Heat can blindside Knobbs. He’s rolled back in and sent for a back elbow by Stevie. Ray tries a leg drop, Knobbs moves. A little confusion and Stevie sends Knobbs for an Irish Whip. Knobbs comes back with a clothesline and knocks Booker off the apron. Bulldog by Knobbs on Stevie and he kicks out at two. Tag is made to Sags and they mug him in the corner. Quick tag back to Knobbs and they send him with a double team arm takedown. Knobbs keeps the momentum with a hammerlock.

Knobbs works on the arm and tags in Sags. Jerry cranks the arm, Stevie breaks it with an abdomen shot. He tags in Booker but he is greeted with a hip toss. Tag is made to Knobbs and they pull another double team. Lateral press and Booker kicks out. Quick tag to Sags and he takes Booker over. He hangs the arm over the ropes and The Nasty Boys continue to double team. Knobbs is back in with a snapmare and a leg drop, he tries a cover but Booker won’t give. Sags is back in and he drives his knee into Booker’s arm. Stevie comes in to break an arm bar, Sags takes exception and knocks him down to the floor. Booker blindsides him which sets Sags up for a bicycle kick. Stevie pursues him, and drops his shins on the railing before driving his back into the steel.

Stevie rolls him back in so Booker can take advantage. Booker rakes the face and sends him for a spin kick. Ray is tagged in legally and Harlem Heat takes advantage of the temporary double team. Stevie makes a cover and Sags kicks out. A nerve hold is applied by Stevie Ray. He lifts Sags up and makes an exchange with Booker who enters with a scissor kick. He’ slow to cover and Sags kicks out. Front facelock by Booker as Sherri cheers him on. Sags works back to his feet and breaks it with a chin buster. Stevie receives a tag first and drops a leg across the back of Sags’ neck. Another slow cover and Sags kicks out. Ray goes for a bearhug. Sags breaks it by going to the eyes but Booker is tagged in first and now it’s his turn for the bearhug.

The crowd gets behind The Nasty Boys, but Sags is driven to the opposing corner and a tag is made to Stevie. Front face lock is applied by Stevie and Harlem Heat makes another quick tag. Sags is sent for an Irish whip, but Booker runs into a big boot and an inside-out clothesline. Both men are slow to get up. Stevie rushes the ring, they try a double team on Sags but Jerry stops short and gives them both DDTs. Hot tag is made to Knobbs and he levels both members of Harlem Heat. They’re both given a back elbow and a clothesline. It’s a total melee, Knobbs runs into Stevie’s boot while Booker and Sags take the fight on the floor.

Sherri is up on the apron as Stevie holds Knobbs in place, she tries to spray him with a foreign substance but she gets Stevie instead. Booker heads to the top, but he’s caught with a gorilla press. Sags lands a big elbow on Booker but Sherri climbs to the top. She tries to disrupt with a top rope splash, Sags moves out of the way and Sherri lands on Booker. The ref calls for the bell due to outside interference.
Winners: The Nasty Boys (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: The Nasty Boys grab Sherri and she gets a taste of Sags’ armpit.
  • EA’s TakeNot a bad match. There were moments of scientific tag team wrestling, but it was mixed with some over the top melee which is what we expect from The Nasty Boys. I know these two teams have better encounters in the future. With the tag champs nowhere to be seen, this one left me a little indifferent.


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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