Rey: Welcome ladies and gentlemen (and everyone not represented by those two genders; we’re respectfully diverse!!) Its been a long time since you guys heard from me in this manner, but with much prodding from the boss, I’m back! I know it’s the holiday season, so I have something of a gift for you guys. First, however, I need to introduce my partner for the evening.
AND NOW….WEIGHING IN AT 14 STONE’S WORTH OF IRN BRU…FIGHTING OUT OF JOE COFFEY’S FAN CLUB HEADQUARTERS…REPRESENTING SOCIAL SUPLEX…THE LEADER OF THE 205 LIVE LOT…BRIAN “CLIVERT” KINSELLA!!!!!
Brian: I’m surprised I haven’t been called a 205 Lot Lizard before now, but I’ll happily don my purple trunks and orange boots for this new-to-me format of written wrestling analysis. And outside of my normal Cruiserweight wheelhouse, too. Looking forward to it! (I’m 12 stone by the way. Cough cough)
Rey: Nobody knows what that stone shit means. It’s something yall made up anyway. FUCK THE METRIC SYSTEM!!!
Brian: How….sigh…..imperial of you. So. Will we continue bickering over how much I weigh, like Buddy Murphy in Drake Maverick’s office? Or shall we let the readers know that this fun little piece we’re working on is, frankly and bizarrely, not on many of the “Top 10” columns out there associated with the mighty Black & Gold?
Rey: Well, actually, let’s bicker some more. I like messing with you Brits, and let’s face it – the Scottish may not be much longer.
Ok, ok. We can be serious (for a minute). So tonight, we’ll be counting down the top 10 biggest NXT Full Sail moments. Now read that sentence carefully. This is only the Full Sail moments of NXT, so no moments outside of Winter Park. Also, we planned on including Cruiserweight Classic and Mae Young Classic moments/matches, but we just ended up picking all NXT ones. So, you’ve been warned. If you don’t like this, blame Brian. He don’t work here.
Brian: First of all. I feel like there’s more chance of Aliyah winning the Raw Women’s Championship than there is of Scotland escaping Big Boris’ clutches right now. But that’s another conversation for another day. Anyway. Yes. CWC and MYC moments were posited, but we felt simply that our chosen ten eclipsed anything from the other offshoots. Also, with all the love that the arena Takeovers (rightfully) receive, we thought a focus on the TV highlights of NXT would be a fun trip down memory lane.
Rey: Indeed it was and will be. And speaking of fun, there were so many moments that we thought of and had to take off of our list to make 10, that we decided to do an honorable mention list in itself of 5 moments. So, we’ll run through that list pretty fast. Sound cool?
Brian: As cool as Carlito.
Honorable Mention – Asuka VS Nikki Cross – Last Woman Standing
Rey: So, first off, we have what may be the most frenetic match Full Sail has ever seen. And that’s saying something. Asuka was in her record championship reign, Nikki was at peak insanity, and they beat the living hell out of each other. You were big on including this match. Tell the people why, young Clive.
Brian: Up till then, no other women had shown genuine fearlessness against a wholly intimidating Asuka. Nikki Cross’ complete disregard for her own body and mind, as well as the furniture and foundations of Full Sail itself, took Asuka to her limit. It was a fascinating display of violence. Cross was on the cusp of breaking out from Sanity to make a name for herself. Well, this match was the coming out party itself. And, my my, did Cross become a favourite to the Full Sail loyal.
Rey: Nikki definitely became a Full Sail favorite, and let’s be real…she wasn’t on the cusp of breaking out from Sanity. She WAS Sanity. In fact, she’s the Shawn Michaels while the other three were the Jannetty’s. Anyway, great pick, great moment, and this may still be Asuka’s best ever Full Sail match.
Honorable Mention – Eric Bugenhagen’s Encore
Brian: The word “organic” is used far too often in wrestling. The word has become bastardised by some to justify their favourite wrestler’s push, despite their being many strings being pulled backstage to orchestrate said push. But when it comes to fifteen minutes of fame (or, in this instance, seconds), nobody did it better than Eric Bugenhagan’s air-one-man-band performance long after his jacked up music stopped. A truly wonderful moment which is accentuated by the look of disgust on the face of Gulak who, if you are familiar with Gulak’s ideals, was no doubt sickened by this desecration. Definitely a “meme” of the year contender.
Rey: Yo, they loved this so much, that they brought dude back out after the match to do an encore. Has wrestling ever had an encore before??? Seriously, Bugenhagen, or Rik Bugez as he’s known now, looked like a star..even if it was a few seconds. But he’s everything that wrestling needs – fun, doesn’t take himself seriously, and completely different from anyone else. So saying that, we should expect him to be drafted to Raw and be a member of a jobber tag team with No Way Jose after Mania, right?
Brian: You say that as if it’s a bad thing. We both know that José and Bugez will end up winning the tag titles on a Wrestlemania pre-show near you. Not to mention their double act on house shows across the land.
Honorable Mention – Anything You Can Do, Ricochet Can Do Better
Rey: I wrote a column about the literary brilliance of the Ricochet VS Velveteen Dream feud. It is truly one of the most brilliant feuds of the past year in my opinion. Dream needing the spotlight, Ricochet wanting more than the spotlight, and both men trying to one up each other. Well, it’s kind of hard to one up a grown man doing a full ass front flip out of the ring, landing clean on his feet like he’s Simone Biles, and walking off like he just hit a game-winning 3 (that’s basketball Brian). Classic shit.
Brian: This was one of those instances where the “flippy shit” was incorporated into the story, something I think Ricochet has done very well in his time in WWE. Dream, in the thick of his insecure yet braggadocious tour of the roster, was left gobsmacked by something which comes second nature to Ricochet. I remember being so hyped for their pending match. The whole story could be told in this single ten second moment. OTT NXT at its finest.
Rey: Yeah man, that face. If there was a meme of the year award, that’s gotta be it, right? I think Dream’s facial expression was equally as impressive as the flip. By the way, did we mention that a GROWN ASS MAN front flipped out of a 6 foot high ring? I don’t think we’ve mentioned that enough. Maybe that dude is a superhero.
Honorable Mention – Bo Dallas “Leaves” NXT
Brian: Having only begun my love affair with NXT around the time of Takeover R:Evolution, I was not aware of the infamy of Bo Dallas. Even if he had fallen out of favour with the normally accepting Full Sail crowd, Dallas stayed committed to the cause, ensuring NXT fans had something wild to remember him by.
Rey: Well since you were an NXT novice at the time, let me break this down for you. First off, God bless Bo Dallas. He’s often thought of as the laughing stock of NXT Champions, but I’d argue that he’s one of the most important. He was the champion at the time NXT started to get nationally popular, headlined the first ever NXT PPV, and put over so many people on his way out of the company. But that heat tho. People hated Bo so much that the front few rows would literally stand up and turn their back to dude during his promos. That’s legendary heat, and Full Sail only holds like 500 people. So when he lost the match to have to leave NXT, his minutes long escape plan to get away from security and stay is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in wrestling. It’s NXT’s Benny Hill moment. Seriously, watch the entire segment to the Benny Hill theme and tell me it doesn’t fit.
Brian: I watched an old NXT recently that was a Battle Royal (think it had a triple finish, so a triple threat was the next week), and Dallas got some brutal boos thrown at him. That’s a rare thing to get in Full Sail, as we know. Hats off to him for that.
Honorable Mention – War Games is Announced
Rey: War Games is one of those matches that we old school fans never thought we’d see again. I mean, you have to have two rings, the brutality of the match was a bit much for this generation, and Vince traditionally doesn’t like WCW ideas. But thanks to Uncle Paul and his affinity for wrestling lore, NXT brought back quite possibly the most classic match style in pro wrasslin’ history. And they had the perfect guys for it – The Undisputed ERA, Sanity, and The Authors of Pain with little author and pre-ERA Roderick Strong.
Brian: I had the announcement of this match spoiled by me on Twitter (probably something Rey retweeted, knowing his thirst for spoilers). That, however, took nothing away from the epicness of this segment and the stipulation announcement. Regal’s rage filled incredulity at the school playground becoming unglued enables him to deliver those two syllables with such epicness, the resultant roar from the crowd was similar to a football (soccer for you philistines) player scoring the winning goal in a penalty shoot out. War Games has become my favourite time of the WWE year, so I will always look back on the birth of its new incarnation fondly.
Rey: *R-Truth voice* My bad dawg. That one’s on me.
You just made me think of something. Regal is a bit like an exhausted principal of sorts, isn’t he? But instead of screaming at students to stop running in the hallway, he screams out “WAR GAMES!!!” in that beautiful Blackpool accent of his.
Anyway, I think it’s time for us to get down to the getting down. Let’s start the ACTUAL list. Apologies in advance. This one may be long. It’s the holidays. You ain’t got shit to do.
10 – The Future Begins
Rey: So full disclosure. I fought to have this moment in the list. Brian acquiesced pretty happily, but I thought that it was important to acknowledge the VERY beginning. For those unaware, NXT used to be a wrestling game show of sorts. WWE chose 8 “rookies” and 8 pros to guide them through some of the most awful television you’ve ever seen. Seriously, TNA levels of bad. Once they came to their senses and ended that (after 5 seasons!!!), Triple H had the genius idea to re-invest in the future of the company. He rebranded their developmental territory at the time, Florida Championship Wrestling, cultivated a relationship with Full Sail University, and created the NXT Brand. June 20th, 2012 was the beginning of what would go on to be a legendary journey; one that would redefine the way we looked at rookies, Independent wrestlers, and how stars are made.
Brian: It was an easy decision to make, having this one included in the list. I will watch it in its entirety one day, but I don’t need to do that now to understand the importance and retrospective significance of this debut. Every journey has a beginning, and this will go down as a very memorable, probably laughable-at-times moment. I imagine this will get a lot of airtime on Twitter etc once the tenth anniversary hits.
Rey: I think you know by now, given my NXT super fandom, that I’m a lifer. I watched the shitty game show era, I subscribed to Hulu to get the new revamped era, transitioned into the Network era, and have watched the Undisputed ERA dominated the USA era. I truly think it’s the best wrestling anywhere. And we have so many to thank – Uncle Paul, Dusty Rhodes, William Regal to name a few. But fitting it back nicely to the point of this column, I can’t see any of this happening without the partnership and support of Full Sail University.
Brian: Of course. It’s a pivotal moment in “cool wrestling”. It’s as important as the best Takeovers there have been, as important as the TV era on USA. Because none of that would have happened if it wasn’t for this debut.
9 – Becky’s Standing Ovation
Brian: Another one to look back at retrospectively. Nobody knew back then what a powerhouse the WWE Universe would witness in the guise of The Man, Becky Lynch. But this often and criminally forgotten about NXT Women’s Title match from 2015. It was an exceptionally strong year for the Horsewomen. This match, for all intents and purposes submission rules, was a hotbed of noise, support, and agony. I’ll remember this for a very long time.
Rey: I was a bit tentative about putting this on the list because I knew we had so many Horsewomen moments coming. But I went back and watched the match and the post-match moment. It’s not often that you see the exact moment that a star is born. You did there. The crowd organically (there’s that word again) singing Becky’s brand new theme to her in adoration of what she gave to them that night was awe inspiring. It must be fate how Becky has ascended to not only the top woman in the game, but The Man of the whole business.
Brian: I just wanted to make sure people remembered this match. Understandably, there are bigger Horsewomen milestones just mere months away. But, in isolation, this was a top notch moment. Whenever I roll my eyes at the pseudo-worship laid at Becky’s feet this last year, this match reminds me that maybe there is something in that fervour afterall.
Rey: Yeah man, it’s funny to see Becky’s career from now going backwards. If nothing else, this shows that the fans have always been with her in some way or another. What Becky was able to do that night with very little build-up is legendary, and again, that Full Sail crowd made a legendary moment.
8 – 4 Horsewomen Fatal 4 Way
Rey: This decade has brought forth more change in our little nook of entertainment more than probably any other like it. Among all of the major changes, the biggest undoubtedly has to be the treatment of, booking of, and respect given to women’s wrestling. While this has been a LONG journey that has finally seemed to crest and become consistently commonplace, we can look back to the modern change of this issue in WWE by going back to NXT. Women like Paige, Emma (Tenille Dashwood), Summer Rae, Audrey Marie, and the legend that is Alicia Fox started the push. It wasn’t until a group of four women that we’d affectionately come to know as the 4 Horsewomen showed up, however, that the real change would manifest.
Brian: What a match this was. My podcast co-host Ricky and I are huge fans of Organised Chaos™: all those moving parts of a multi person match delivered at breakneck speed yet executed perfectly. I’m proud that these soon to be heavily decorated women have one of these awesome tropes in their resumé. There was a specific sequence in this carefully constructed brawl, ending with a wheelbarrow flapjack of sorts, that just floored me.
Rey: It was a random ass finish to this match, wasn’t it? Match ended with a crucifix out of the Bank Statement. I think that it was fitting though. These four women set out to change wrestling, and they did, but that night, they just wanted to shock the world. Not only did they have a TREMENDOUS match, but they also did so much stuff we’d never seen before and in those spots. It’s something to be said that this match that many hope with main event a WrestleMania happened at a golden era Takeover. Crazy.
Brian: I may have to actually re-watch this. I was sure the finish was a cheap sneak cover while Charlotte had the Figure 8 locked in. Obviously not that memorable then! Tut tut.
7 – Nikki’s Got A Secret
Brian: I’ll go to my grave with the stance that this famous “whodunnit” angle could have been dealt with in one scene by rewinding the CCTV footage for when Gargano attacked Black in the parking lot. But what we got was a good few weeks of some majorly entertaining light relief. But that comedy caper shit culminated in an epic moment. Nikki had BEEN telling the NXT Universe that she knew all along. She was paramount to this plot the whole time, but nobody took her seriously. Apart from Aleister Black himself. And to find out who had attacked him in the middle of a ring littered, absurdly, with glitter of all things, after a HOT mini-feud between Cross and Bianca Belair, was the icing on the cake.
Rey: Is this a top 5 angle in NXT history? Oh shit, I think we just found our next top 10 list Brian! Anyway, I can’t remember a more perfectly done angle in recent times that was done better than this. The initial shot, the multiple angles, the red herrings, Regal being extra Regal-y, and Nikki being her usual maniacal self…this was the thing of legends. And that moment when Black appears in that match with Nikki and Bianca…man I still get goosebumps.
Brian: What adds to this for me was that it was the catalyst for my favourite ever match under the NXT umbrella. Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano at War Games II was a powerhouse of storytelling, symbolism of each man’s ideals, hard hitting workrate, and that signature balls to the wall NXT attitude. This whodunnit reveal also falls into that larger than life category.
Rey: “I absolve you of your sins.” Dude kicked Johnny so hard, he changed his character alignment! The match, the story, the build up…it’s all encompassed perfectly in that one moment. And who would’ve thought that Nikki fucking Cross would be the catalyst. Fuckin’ NXT.
6 – Daddy’s Home
Rey: Isn’t Tommaso Ciampa the greatest? Dude was the best heel of our generation, was a member of one of the most loved tag teams in NXT history, remade himself from a cast off into a certifiable star…and all of this after THREE major surgeries. I think his biggest reformation, however, came on the first two hour episode of NXT on USA. After a tremendous NXT Tag Team Championship match between the recently Raw bound Street Profits and the Undisputed ERA, Tommasso Ciampa sauntered his devilish ass out from the back with the slowest, most determined walk I’ve ever seen to confront NXT Champion Adam Cole. Daddy was indeed home.
Brian: I could do a multi part podcast / column series about Ciampa (take note, Rey, nudge nudge wink wink). Ciampa used to profess of being the greatest sports entertainer in history. How can one argue that stance when this evil sloth doesn’t even pander to or soak up the adulation of the fans after a real life near death/paralysis scare, but instead had eyes ONLY for Goldie. This kicked off NXT’s TV era perfectly. Ciampa is a storytelling gift that keeps on giving. You can literally hear a woman screaming in the crowd. I can now confirm that I was that woman.
Rey: Don’t threaten me with a good time, Cliverton. I’ll talk about Ciampa anytime, any place, anywhere. You know the part that isn’t talked about enough though? This was the first 2 hour NXT on USA, going head to head with AEW’s television debut. Fans called the night NXT Takeover: Full Sail. And as most shows and cards do, they build to the end of the night. And whom did they build to? Tommaso freakin’ Ciampa. That speaks volumes as to who he is to the company.
Brian: Ciampa’s stock may have fallen somewhat, what with the clamour of late to see Keith Lee be the one to dethrone Adam Cole. But even if that ends up being the case, Ciampa’s mission won’t have changed. He may just have to be patient. Which is a worry for us all. May all the Gods bless Tommy Champion.
5 – Sasha and Bayley – Iron Woman Match
Brian: I wanted to include this match as a whole, but it wasn’t just the match. It was everything surrounding it. The announcement of a milestone from Regal. A deeply emotional hype vignette that played on everyone’s feels after arguably the best women’s match in WWE history at that time. Main eventing a Takeover. Sasha SNATCHING Bagley’s famous mascot Izzy’s hairband. This match and its build was a very special time in NXT’s history. It’s actually hard to put into words how powerful this whole time was for Sasha and Bayley.
Rey: Well we seem to forget, but this is the first ever women’s match to main event a WWE PPV. So already, it’s legendary. Then, add in that it’s the first ever WWE women’s Iron Woman Match! But you know what’s hilarious? As great as this match was, the very reason that it’s on this list is all about Sasha committing child abuse. Sasha destroying poor little Izzy’s childhood in one moment is appointment viewing. Yes, the match was amazing, but that moment might be a top 10 moment of the decade.
Brian: Izzy’s headband being snatched is a true *Jack Nicholson nodding head GIF* moment. Audacious. Evil. Shocking. As Matthew J Hardy would say, it was WONDERFUL.
Rey: I was really on the fence about Sasha’s repeated breaking of kayfabe in that feud, because she’d be this bad ass heel in promos and in matches, and once the matches were over, she’d cry in genuine happiness. I appreciate the personal nature of how this affects her, but at the time, she was the biggest heel in the game. But committing and act of child abuse live on Pay-Per-View…yeah, that’s scumbag enough for me to forget her transgressions. And Izzy is better for it! How much you wanna bet she’ll be on this list in the next 20 years?
4 – The Tragedy of Sami Zayn
Rey: Brian, I’d argue strongly that this match is the greatest match in NXT history. Sami Zayn VS Adrian Neville (PAC as he’s known now) for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover R-Evolution is a modern masterpiece. First off the back story – Zayn has to redeem himself in the eyes of the fans, himself, and Neville only for the champ to sneak his way out of losing to Sami – to the match, which was an absolute classic, to the legendary aftermath. The fact that this is number 4 on our list shows just how stacked this list has to be.
Brian: Classic babyface overcoming the odds storytelling has certainly had its moments in WWE this year. One we’ll touch on later; Kofi and Rollins at Summerslam come to mind. When it’s done well in WWE, it’s done expertly. Zayn’s desire to do good and not take the easy route was painstaking viewing. Even for me as a first time NXT viewer that night. Emotion aside, you’d struggle to find a better wrestling match for wrestling’s sake that year. An astounding moment in not only Full Sail history, but that of both competitors, NXT, and WWE as a whole.
Rey: We need to talk about the ending. This will forever be known as the night that Sami reached the top, but it will also forever be known as the night Kevin Owens threw him off. His exhilarating debut notwithstanding, the fervor with which Owens rush to hug his real life best friend brought tears to anyone’s eyes. He re-opened the cut on his broken nose with that hug for God sakes! But seeing him turn on Sami and powerbomb him into Canadian mince meat…that’s why I love this brand so damn much.
Brian: Little did I know at the time that I would be seeing the first (for me) villainous machinations of Kevin Owens in action. Somewhere down the line, Owens will, without doubt, be on my Mount Rushmore (shoutout to Badlands Podcast). This betrayal of his best friend will be on highlight reels of his career for years to come.
3 – Enter The Demon
Brian: Again, this was my first experience of a Full Sail crowd. Till then, I’d never heard an audience cheer specifically for a wrestler’s entrance. But this? This got the “Holy Shit” treatment and deserved every syllable. Great build with the fog coinciding with the revving guitar. Not being able to properly see what we eventually did until the big chord hit. The supernatural element rarely seen, or done well, outside of The Undertaker. Ominous. Haunting. Spine-chilling. Epic. I really could go on with this one, but this is a collaborative column, after all.
Rey: No, please. Continue. 😉
Brian: Oh, ok then. I just can’t believe the audacity of Fate that night. For the music, ambiance, crowd fever, and commitment to the Demon all to align like stars in the sky, and create a true “fuck me” moment like that. Magic was in the air at that moment, and everyone was filled up to their nostrils with it.
Rey: Well done, my good bloke. For those of us who had the pleasure of seeing the Prince rule his kingdom in New Japan, we were aware of his use of paint and cosplay to bring out a depraved portion of his personality. But this dude became a completely different person when he put that demon paint on. Let me remind you all that he debuted The Demon in a tag match with Hideo Itami against The Ascension. Yes, they became laughing stocks later on, but at the time, these dudes were the most dominant tag team in the entire business. Boom! Demon! They instantly became jobbers. See Konnor and Viktor, it’s all Finn’s fault. He’s to blame.
2 – Rhea Ripley Beats The Unbeatable
Rey: This might be a sense of recency bias, but I’ll be damned if Rhea Ripley FINALLY beating Shayna Baszler might the greatest moment I’ve ever seen. I mean, off the top of my head, all I can think bigger and better is Kofi beating Bryan, Roman coming back from cancer, and Bryan at WrestleMania 30. I know you’re just as biased as me, but I’m not crazy, am I?
Brian: Let’s be honest, Rey. The whole reason this idea came to be was because of this match. Upon first viewing, I couldn’t really enjoy it. There were certain tropes done that told me I would end the episode disappointed by another Shayna win. But that just shows how good a job NXT did with this one. Looking back, I can appreciate it for the storytelling masterpiece it truly is. It ties up the story of Shayna stifling the women’s division for over thirteen months into an emotional end of game boss battle. I can’t give this match enough superlatives. The job in “putting Rhea” over these past two months has been flawless.
Rey: As fans, we often have a feeling that it’s somebody’s night. Almost like they can’t lose. Bryan had that feeling at WrestleMania 30, Kofi had it at WrestleMania 35, and Rhea had it here. It was just time. Not only time for Shayna to FINALLY drop the title, but the right time for Rhea to ascend to that position. And as you alluded to, her 2-3 month build to that match is among some of the best 2-3 month booking WWE’s ever done. Rhea is a made woman, Shayna can move to Raw or SmackDown to wreak havoc up there, and NXT is all the better for it.
Brian: You are spot on here. This was perfect timing. The tyranny of Baszler, the ensuing war that came to a head in War Games, the presentation of Ripley to the wider WWE audience. The timing was perfect. HHH has a real nack of merging the two ideals of striking while the iron is hot and pulling the trigger at just the right time. This was a prime example of that skill.
1 – NXT Arrival
Brian: I’m going to have to hold my hands up here. I don’t doubt the deserving-ness of this entry being at the top. I simply have not seen it, is all. I’ve waxed lyrical enough for technically fourteen other entries. Rey is #NXT4Lyf, so the floor is yours, sir.
Rey: OK, let me explain. I truly believe that other than WrestleMania 1 and 3, NXT Arrival is the most important wrestling show in WWE history. Let me lay out the facts. NXT Arrival was the first form of live content on the WWE Network. It had just debuted maybe a week or so before. So if the feed was a failure, you can imagine how terribly that roll out may have been. Especially with WrestleMania 30 being a few weeks after. Also, this was the first time that a massive audience saw NXT stars and the brand in general. So guys like Neville, Bo Dallas, Paige, Emma, Sami Zayn, Rusev, and The Ascension were largely being seen by the largest audience that they ever would be seen by. So, knowing what we know now about NXT, if the show would’ve failed, Vince may have pulled the plug. Remember, NXT ran at a financial loss until this year. Vince let Triple H run NXT and the Performance Center in good faith. So, the fate of the future of the company (WWE Network) and the future of the brand (NXT) were at stake on this one night. And they didn’t just do well. They knocked it out of the fucking park.
Brian: When you put it like that, it’s an easy choice for number one. The WWE Network is the best value for money for as a consumer bar none. My love affair with Raw and Smackdown may waver, but my enjoyment of NXT, its UK counterpart, 205 Live, and all the other Network exclusive brands and specials is unfaltering. We simply wouldn’t have this wealth of more intimate wrestling if it wasn’t for the success of Arrival.
Rey: Simply put, you can’t drive unless you buy the car. Then you gotta get in the car and start it. Once you’re on the road, you tend to forget how you got there, but thanks to lists like this, we can go back and pay homage. I think it’s fitting that we started the list with the first ever NXT show at Full Sail, and we ended it with NXT Arrival. That feels very fitting to me.
So that brings an end to our little soiree. I had a blast, and with it being the end of the year, decade, world, etc…it seemed super timely. Is it fair to say we might have a few more of these in us??
Brian: We;l, if it’s the end of the world, then we probably won’t have as many left in us. However, NXT’s creativity is in a microcosm boom period right now. The amount of content per week has doubled. Competition from elsewhere is keeping NXT on its toes. I’m sure the next few years will see a considerable change in this list.
Rey: So basically, you’re just hoping for more Dijakovic, right?
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy
As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI. Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.
Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.
I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”
Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match
Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!
Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect
On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.
Swanton Bomb From The Heavens
When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.
Hardy Wins The WWE Championship
In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.
Straight Edge Problems For Hardy
The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.
The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE
Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.
Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut
From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.
This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.
As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.
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