The Spotlight On WWE Raw Live 05/25/2015

This pas Monday night WWE Monday Night Raw was held live at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island New York for the final time ever.  While the show probably doesn’t rank on my top live shows of all time with the likes of the Wrestlemanias or Royal Rumbles I’ve been to live, this was really a lot of fun.  It was such a nostalgic show for me filled with memories of the many times I had been at the Coliseum before.  Rather than doing a usual live thoughts on the show, I’m going to instead some thoughts on the live experience which will be intertwined with some highlights from the show itself.

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The Live Experience–  The last few events I’ve been to live for WWE have all been pay per views, with the exception of  Raw on my birthday (October 6th) in Brooklyn.  I will say the way that they have the merchandise truck set up outside of the arena with streaming videos of the outreach that WWE does is great and gets you really excited for the show.  As far as merchandise for the show they only had shirts for the superstars who were at the show like Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The Bellas, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, Ryback and of course John Cena.  I really liked this because there may be fans that want to get a Brock Lesnar shirt or a Triple H shirt but this guaranteed that the guys people bought merchandise for were on that show later that night.  The John Cena “US Champ is Here” shirt was the most popular superstar shirt I saw purchased with Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose right behind him.  However, for me the coolest piece of memorabilia that I saw, and bought, had to be the commemorative final event at the Nassau Coliseum T Shirt.  They also did a great job in making sure that the live crowd was never bored during commercials by playing never before seen video packages which included some of the music stars who performed at the most recent Wrestlemanias talking about their Wrestlemania experiences as well as video highlight packages from the past.  In particular they showed the famous Stone Cold Steve Austin “Austin 3:16” promo from the King of the Ring 1996 and the crowd said every word in unison along with Austin, it was so cool.  The matches taped before Raw (I believe for Superstars) featured Adam Rose taking on Heath Slater and Harper & Rowan vs. the Meta Powers.  I’ll say this Mandow & Axelmania got some of the best reactions of the night, the people love them.  From there, before the show started we were all treated to a surprise appearance from Vince McMahon who talked about the history of WWE at the Coliseum and mentioned how he thanked every superstar who had ever competed in the ring and all of the fans who attended over the years.  It was a touching tribute to the Coliseum and while I wondered if it may have been even cooler to have Vince come out at the end of the show, his appearance at the start made the crowd get into the show right from the start.  At the end of the night, it was really cool to then see a main event for the live crowd pitting Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt.  This was cool because neither man was on the show and I don’t believe we’ve ever seen that match before.  Both men also worked very hard getting the steps involved as well as the announce table.  Orton won the match to send the crowd home happy and to finish the final match in Nassau Coliseum’s history.

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First Shows are always fun– One of the really cool things about this show for me was that I got to take my girlfriend’s brother to the show and be there with him as he took in his first wrestling show and had a ball doing so.  He saved up his allowance money and went to town ordering everything from a Dean Ambrose T Shirt, WWE Pop Toys and the souvenir cup.  He really enjoyed checking out the different cameras around the arena trying to get on TV.  Then after the show, he was excited to wait and see the superstars as they left while pointing out all of the different production trucks in and around the arena.  I’ve been to a lot of WWE shows throughout my life but will never forget my first and I’m glad I was able to take him to his first show.  It’s always amazing to see just how much goes into a WWE production of Raw.  There are so many people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make that show work.  For an example while waiting to watch the superstars leave, we saw a number of (I’m assuming interns) who ran to the lot to retrieve the different cars bring them back down into the tunnel and then run back up the ramp to get the next car, they did this time and time again.

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Memorial Day- As always the packages that WWE showed for Memorial Day were really well done and classy as can be.  This really felt like one of the more patriotic shows as everywhere you looked someone was holding an American flag.  Just next to us there was a family that brought a huge flag with them that stretched across four people.  It was really nice to see and the whole show just made me feel patriotic.  I’ll point out that wrestling fans have come a long way.  There was not a single person to interrupt the ten bell salute or not take every Memorial Day tribute very seriously.  I used to go to shows all the time where people would do What chants during the national anthem and it’s nice to see the crowd showing respect.  This almost made me wish there was a WWE event nearby ever memorial day or fourth of July, perhaps atop the USS Intrepid?  Any one?

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The John Cena US Title Open Challenge- Another week, another great John Cena US Title Open Challenge that I found to be the highlight of Raw.  Everything about this segment from the time John Cena’s music hit to the time he was laid out by Kevin Owens, this segment was great.  Say what you will about John Cena but whether you love him or hate him he elicits a reaction like no one else.  The crowd was louder than they were anyone save for maybe Dean Ambrose or the great Lana-Rusev segment earlier in the show.  I thought it was really cool for Zack Ryder (who is beloved in Long Island and who people were chanting for all night long) to get the shot at Cena and the people who are complaining about the way Ryder was used, really shouldn’t be.  Ryder was brought out to the ring by the cast of Entourage for a US Title match against John Cena in his home town at the last show at Nassau Coliseum and got to hit his finisher on Cena, He was not going to win the US Title nor should he but, in particular, with John Cena giving Ryder the rub this may have been the rebirth of the Ryder character.  It’s funny because Kevin Owens came out from the back corner of the arena just a few sections over from us.  I thought his attack on Cena was so well done and already, whether or not Owens defeats Cena on Sunday, this is a great introduction for him and great exposure for NXT.

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Closing Thoughts

All in all I thought this was a really fun show that had a hot Nassau Coliseum crowd there throughout the show.  The show did a great job in building the Elimination Chamber pay per view as it should have done being that it was the last Raw before that show.  Every match from Neville-Dallas to both Chamber matches to Cena and Owens was built up over the course of the show and made that show Sunday out to be a can’t miss show.  I also really liked the continuing story between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose throughout the show as it reminded me of the old Austin-McMahon stuff from back in the day.  In the end though it was fun to be a part of the final show in Nassau Coliseum’s history and to take my girlfriend and her brother to show.  I was able to point out different areas of the building and show them where I graduated and even take them around the town after the show to show them the different areas near Hofstra that I used to go to while I was a student there.  It was a fun night that I’ll remember for the years to come and another memory to long list of memories I’ve had at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.

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The Spotlight on Nassau Coliseum

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!  Memorial Day for me will not only be highlighted by barbecues and hang outs with family and friends, as tonight I’ll be spending my memorial day at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum where I’ll be attending Monday Night Raw live. It’s a pretty exciting time as it will be the first ever live event for my girlfriend’s little brother who is only thirteen.  I remember taking my girlfriend to her first show in Los Angeles for Summerslam 2013 and I saw her become hooked on it right before my eyes, it was great to see and so I hope the same happens with her brother on tonight.  One of the reasons why I’m excited for Raw on Monday is because it’s taking place at one of my favorite venues.  No it’s not the most fancy and many of the newer buildings have many more food options, renovations and features but to me the nostalgia of Nassau Coliseum outweighs them all, perhaps with the exception of Madison Square Garden.  The truth is that there have been rumors for years about the Coliseum closing down or going through renovations and losing the Islanders probably only spark those rumors.  Thus, I will be approrpaching Raw tonight like it may be my last trip to the Coliseum and look to make the most of it.  I thought it would be fun in getting prepared for Raw Monday to look at some of my favorite memories associated with Nassau Coliseum.

WWE History-  Other than my personal memories of the building, the Nassau coliseum actually played host to one third of Wrestlemania 2, the first portion of the event took place at the Coliseum which was main evented by Mr. T and Roddy Piper in a boxing match.  From there the Nassau Coliseum has played host to three other WWE pay per views, Summerslam 2002, The Bash 2008 and Fatal Fourway 2010, and 25 television tapings from 1997-2013.  One of the more infamous incidents took place at the Smackdown tapings on October 5, 1999.  In a match originally recorded for Smackdown, D-Lo Brown took on Droz.  D-lo went for one of his signature moves that he had done many times through the years, the sit down powerbomb.  Unfortunately, D-Lo slipped dropping Droz on his neck and leaving him paralyzed upon impact.  It was a sad day in WWE history and a reminder of how dangerous this business could be.

My First Show- My first show at the Nassau Coliseum came on July 9, 1994 and I was only seven years old, it was also the first show that I went to with my mom.  Prior to this show I had only been to shows at Madison Square Garden and I remember thinking how cool it was that we could just drive to a show without taking the long island railroad.  This was a show in which before the show they were looking for a fan to lead Bret Hart down the aisle and we were chosen.  Todd Pettingel came into the crowd and found my mom and I wearing Lex Luger and Bret Hart shirts respectively and offered us ringside seats with me leading Bret down the aisle.  Unfortunately at 7 years old, i thought the bad guys were really bad guys and so I refused to do it out of fear.  It was a big regret for me looking back but I always refused to sit anywhere other than the upper deck section when I was a kid.  What I remember most about this show, other than my lapse in judgment was that it was headlined by a 60 minute Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Owen Hart.  What’s funny about that match is that it went to a sudden death overtime with Bret winning about 8 minutes in.  This led to me telling my friends at my Wrestlemania 12 party that this was how iron man matches went, they went to a draw and then was settled in an overtime.  Of course, that’s exactly what happened when Shawn Michaels won the title defeating Bret Hart.

Summerslam 2002–  This was the first pay per view I ever attended live as I did so with my buddy James.  This remains my favorite summerslam of all time and when you consider how tacked the show was you’d know why.  On this show you had Shawn Michaels’ return to the ring in over four years, you had Brock Lesnar’s first title win over the Rock, you had a great opener between Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio and you also had Jericho vs. Flair, Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge an Chris Benoit vs. RVD, such a stacked card and a great show live.

High School Graduation–  A little break from WWE, it would be ridiculous of me to mention my nostalgia at Nassau Coliseum without mentioning my high school graduation.  I graduated Benjamin N Cardozo High School back in 2004 and because there were so many students in the graduating class the ceremony had to be held at Nassau Coliseum.  I’ll freely admit that I didn’t care about high school and don’t remember much about graduation other than it was at Nassau Coliseum.  I remember standing on the arena floor, the same spot I saw Bret and Owen tear down the house 10 years earlier.  I remember seeing myself on the big screen and seeing my family up the rafters cheering me on.  It was simply awesome and the highlight of my, way too many students, high school experience.

Pre and Post WWE Shows-  Through the years as I got a bit older, my friends and I attended mostly every WWE TV taping or pay per view from about 2004-2009 at Nassau Coliseum.  What was pretty cool was that I attended Hofstra University so I would usually walk over to Nassau Coliseum from Hofstra and get tickets the day of the show for my friends and I to avoid ticketmaster fees.  Whenever I would do this I’d always see all of the WWE talents walking over from the Marriot, it was really cool.  I remember one time I was stopped at the red light heading back to school and former diva Victoria pulled up next to me looking for a good place to eat.  The same would be said for after a show.  This may be the only venue where I see an area set up for fans to wait and see the superstars and divas leaving.  i always used to make the office folks smile by calling them out like Kerwin Silfies or Freddie Prinze Jr when he was working as a writer.  Usually the superstars were really cool as they’d stop and pose for pictures or sign autographs.  It was a lot of fun.

More than just WWE- Even though I’ve been to many WWE shows at the Nassau Coliseum, thats not the only memories I have at the arena.  I’ve also been to many concerts at the coliseum such as Green Day, Metallica and the Van’s Warped Tour which used to be held in the parking lots of the Coliseum.  Other than that there used to be the Craft Beer Festival held at Nassau Coliseum annually.  This would be a great event where for four hours you would walk around to different vendors trying beers from around the world and even eating Beer Donuts.  I remember one night there was a Beer Festival taking place, the same night as the Disney Stars On Ice so you saw a mass of people coming into the parking lot with a mix of drunks and families with small children.  Not exactly the best planning.

So yes, later tonight will be a lot of fun regardless of how Monday Night Raw is.  Like many shows in the past I’m excited to head back to the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.

The Spotlight On The Survivor: Worlds Apart Finale

In a season that pitted a no collar tribe vs a blue collar tribe vs a white collar tribe, the 30th season of Survivor ended last night when  Mike Halloway won Survivor: Worlds Apart.

There was a lot about the survivor finale that I really enjoyed and there were other parts that I got pretty angry about. Let’s get right into some of the highlights of the show.

Highlights

1) Mike Wins & I Was Wrong! – Cmon give me some credit, it takes a big man to not only admit he was wrong but to highlight it. I was very happy that Mike Halloway walked away with a victory.  If you read my last post about whether or not they ruined the survivor finale with the second chance vote, you know that I assumed that this meant that Mike or Mama C was not going to win Survivor.  This was because they made it clear that the show would be comprised of contestants who had only been on Survivor one time and who hadn’t won the show.  Well, I was glad to hear Jeff say that Mike had been a top vote getter but that he wasn’t going to be on Second Chance now because he won.  I felt that in hindsight, the announcement made Mike’s win that much more exciting. The win was obviously deserved as well as in both Survivor or Big brother there is always a contestant that goes on a run and wins a bunch of HOH’s or immunities but they never seem to make it all the way.  Mike seemed to be the first one to do that and his run made the finale that much more enjoyable.  I mean remember I watched the finale from 1AM-4AM on a day in which I had work, was exhausted and had work the next day, and it never once lost my interest.  I’ll admit it though, there was definitely a moment on the finale where Mike infuriated me and that was when he helped Mama C make it to the end.  To me Mama C played hard but was also annoying and obviously against Mike right up until she was completely desperate in the final four.  How Mike decided to take her and help her learn how to make fire had me rooting for him to then lose, at least for about a half an hour.

 Rodney Lavolle Jr.- I really wonder if Rodney was asked to be on the ballad for Second Chance and turned it down because to me he was one of the more enjoyable characters in quite some time and would a far better choice than Max.  Over the last few weeks I think he came off as a lot more than the rough around the edges Boston kid who was lazy and bad at challenges.  It turned out that he graduated college, played football and basketball and absolutely loves his family.  The moment when his father showed up and they embraced until Rodney broke down crying saying he was at peace with his sister( who he mentioned in past interviews that she died due to drugs and Rodney actually found her dead in her home) was such a sad moment that even Jeff Probst did all he could to fight back the tears.  I hope in the end, Rodney is able to come back on the show as he’s one of the realest contestants of all time and alost pulled off a win.  I’d also add that, I may be in the minority, but I was a big fan of him getting upset about feeling slighted on his birthday.  You don’t disrespect a man on his birthday.

The Reunion Special– This was probably one of my favorite reunion specials even though they didn’t even acknowledge half of the cast that was on the stage.  I really feel that they should introduce the cast of the next season at every survivor reunion (though I feel they could have even extended the reunion a half hour so that it wasn’t as rushed) as it made the reunion must see and kept me enthralled until the final moments of the season.  It was particularly great that they then had all of the new contestants get on the bus heading to the new season right there on the spot. Aside from that I love the Jeff called to task some of the terrible things that Dan and Will said. When these things were aired during the show, I immediately wondered why they would show such terrible things being said about women on the show, especially after the nightmare from Big Brother and their racist contestants years ago.  Thus, it was great to see both men called to task and I liked how Jeff even showed the raw footage of Dan calling Rodney’s mom a derogatory name as it made him look even worse.

 Closing Thoughts

In the end I really enjoyed this season of survivor and found this to be one of the more enjoyable finales.  One thing that did infuriate me, however, was when Jeff gave Carolyn a second flint.  This ended up being a contributing factor to Rodney going home and I was so surprised to see Jeff do this.  Since when is Jeff willing and able to help contestants out during challenges in the history of Sruvivor? This made me feel like the producers would have preferred Carolyn to be in the finale because she’s a better story being that she’s older and a “mama”.  Thankfully in the end it seemed that it wouldn’t have mattered as Mike would have won either way but I do believe Rodney is a good enough h talker he could have changed a few opinions during the Q and A.  Speaking of said Q and A, was there a more annoying contestant in survivor history than Dan during that q and a and also while a member of the jury?  He was absolutely grating. On the contrary, I thought the best final speech was Shirin because she was so hurt by Will’s comments that at least she got an opportunity to get him back here.

Well that’s going to do it for me on here but keep your eyes peeled for spotlight on survivor second chance the male contestants and women contestants coming up this weekend and then more of my survivor coverage all of next season.  Until then, grab your torches, head back to camp, goodnight!

The Spotlight On NXT: Takeover- Unstoppable

“The Champ Is Here”

NXT: Takeover- Unstoppable just finished up a little while ago and I have to tip my cap to the guys and gals in NXT because they delivered once again.  Highlighted by the WWE debut of Samoa Joe, NXT Takeover: Unstoppable ha everything you can think of from surprises, to great matches and everything in between. It seems that with every NXT special they find a way to top themselves.  I’m going to start right at the top and take you all the way through the  NXT: Takeover Unstoppable live special.  Lets get right into the highlights,

Highlights 

1) The Preshow-  I’ve said it before the NXT preshow taking place on campus, while the fans are filing into the arena is great.  It reminds of like an MTV Spring Break Special I used to watch as a kid where everyone seemed so young and cool that I couldn’t wait to get to Cancun, Mexico.  The excitement of the fans in the outdoor beautiful Florida weather does a great job in getting, at least me, ready and excited for the special.  As an aside I should also say that Corey Graves is quickly becoming a modern day Michael Hayes with that suit  In any event, I also like the way they explained the Hideo Itami injury and teased that perhaps Kevin Owens had something to do with it.  Imagine six months from now Itami comes back for revenge against Owens on the main roster?

2) Unstoppable-  The opening for this show may have actually been the best non Wrestlemania open to a pay per view/ live special in years.  They did a great job in showing how fast the brand was growing with footage of fans who’ve attended shows mixed in with legends putting over the brand and then NXT’s presence at Wrestlemania.  Then as they hyped the show, every match seemed important especially being showed over the great Motionless In white track properly titled “Unstoppable”.  Great stuff all around.

3) Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze– These two guys could be up on the main roster as big time stars for WWE right now.  Both entrances were top-notch from the special effects to the attire.  Finn Balor, in particular, continues to add so much to his costume design that I say we’re only a year or two away from a breath-taking entrance from him at Wrestlemania.  As for the match itself, it was such a fun opener and both men left it all out there.  Balor going up for the dive off the top of the set was both insane and awesome.  I was actually glad to see this match start off the show as it kicked off the event with a bang and allowed for the two not to get lost in the shuffle the rest of the night.

4) Divas Tag–  Let me start off by saying that you can tell that Bayley is really a sweetheart.  When she made her entrance she threw something to a fan and continued to walk to the ring but when she saw that it fell on the floor, walked back picked it up and made sure the fan got it.  The match itself was solid and Emma took Charlotte’s finisher right on her head, it was absolutely brutal looking.  Good for her for going back to NXT, trying to reinvent herself and showing a different side to her character.

5) Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin- Good stuff outta the big guys in this one.  I like that NXT offers something for everyone from high flyers to athletic divas to brolic brawlers, to me wrestling has a place for all types of wrestling.  I feel that Corbin continues to improve everytime out and working with a veteran like Rhyno (who hasn’t lost a step) has only helped him.  It makes sense for Corbin to get the win as Rhyno’s role is clearly to be the veteran to help elevate the young guys and make them look good.  He’s been a great addition to the NXT roster and continues to get a ton of crowd support.

6) Tag Title Match–  I can tell you from expeience that Enzo and Cass’ entrance is as fun for the live crowd as it looks.  That said I’m a pretty big fan of Blake & Murphy.  I like that they were given the titles out of nowhere and continue to improve as tag champs.  Their new entrance is way better than the raw dubstep music as well.  The double team powerbomb/backstabber combination was absolutely hideous and I’m a sucker for double team moves from tag teams. Some will say this was the time to pull the trigger and give Enzo and Cass the belts but I disagree.  Enzo and Cass are so over they don’t need the titles whereas I feel that the titles make Blake and Murphy at this stage of their careers.I also like  Colin Cassady has to be a frontrunner for most improved wrestler of the year, he was so great in their comeback.

7) Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks- Holy crap talk about giving Divas a chance.  When was the last time you saw a divas match get not only a hype video package but also the old backstage hype music as the contender and champion enter the arena?  By the time this match started I could not wait to see it…and boy did it deliver.  It’s truly amazing how well the women deliver when they are given the time.  The omen continue to be a highlight of every NXT show and a focal point of the NXT brand.  This, for me was the match of the night and deserved every “this is awesome” and “this is wrestling” chant they got all night.  This was unquestionably the coming out party for Becky Lynch, who was made into a bona-fide star even in a losing effort.  Sasha Banks should be the diva that WWE is planning to build around, she plays her character so well, has great theme music and is great in the ring, she’s the complete package.  The ending was so realistic with Becky having no choice but to tap out to the Bank statement despite wanting it oh so bad.  Then at the end it made sense for Becky to get emotional as it shows how much the NXT Womens title means.  The crowd then singing Becky’s theme song while giving her a standing ovation, really magnified how great of a performance she had.

8) Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens-   This is my early choice for feud of the year, just look how good that video package was.  What a great story they told leading up to this match with Zayn returning home to Montreal to find himself following losing his title, fantastic stuff.  Kevin Owens showing up with the US title “champ is here” John Cena shirt was so good that even Sami had a hard time not cracking up and then Owens throwing the shirt on the ground was even better,  He is a great heel!  I’m not sure if Sami Zayn was hurt but if he was he isn’t human.  These guys absolutely tore the house down!  This was a fun brawl that went all around the NXT arena and was only amplified by a great hot crowd.  The caught pop up powerbomb onto the apron was the spot of the night as I just don’t know how ya take that.  It made sense for the officials to stop the match right then and there.  It’s amazing that Kevin Owens has been right in everything that he’s said he was going to do as a heel.  Owens is quickly transitioning from the guy just trying to do all he can to support his family even if that means turning on his friends to a maniacal villain with zero compassion whatsoever.  To have things get so out of hand that Owens even put his hands on William Regal lead to the perfect time to debut Samoa Joe. Joe looked like an absolute killer that the crowd was genuinely shocked to see. This was also a great way to write Sami Zayn off of NXT, whether he’s getting called up or if he’s going to have to take time off to heal his injuries, and transition to Samoa Joe.  It also made sense not to have Joe and Owens touch as Joe did enough just by showing up.  The only person Kevin Owens has backed down to at all since debuting was Samoa Joe and that automatically made him a big deal.

Closing Thoughts

Well I’ll tell you, I was had!  Triple H did such a great job downplaying any Samoa Joe rumors during his conference call that I didn’t even mention it during my spotlight on the call.  It truly a great debut magnified by the storytelling in which Kevin Owens was built up as a complete remorseless monster and the NXT roster needed a savior, Samoa Joe was that savior.  It’ll be very interesting to see if Samoa Joe is going to keep his name because he was referred to as Samoa Joe several times during his appearance.  To me Joe is the last big name guy, other than AJ Styles, in North America who’s never been in WWE and now finally is.  Overall, I was left feeling really optimistic following this show and can’t wait to see what happens next at NXT.

The Spotlight On Triple H’s NXT Unstoppable Media Conference Call

 

Yesterday afternoon Paul “Triple H” Levesque conducted his quarterly Conference Call in which he speaks with different members of the wrestling media either the day of or the day prior to an NXT live special  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to listen to the call live because of my 9-5 gig but thanks to Jason Powell of prowrestling.net the entire call is available to the public.  I think this is something very cool that Triple H does and shows how much he has his finger on the pulse of the audience that contains NXT’s most passionate fanbase.  I also find the calls quite enjoyable as you can tell how badly Triple H wants to see NXT succeed, he’s obviously very proud of his braintrust and I can’t say I blame him one bit.  Here are some highlights from the conference call.

Highlights 

1) Bloom and Amato Get The Call- One of the most newsworthy items to come out of Triple H’s conference call was the announcement of a new head coach and assistant head coach of WWE’s developmental system, NXT.  As for the head coach of NXT that was a position given to WWE veteran Matt Bloom.  Bloom is probably best known as, the former Prince Albert, A-Train, Tensai, and (most recently) Jason Albert, to most WWE and NXT fans.  I personally saw Bloom watching Wrestlemania live, right below where I was seated, with the NXT talents and I could tell how much respect the talents had for him.  As for the Assistant Head Coach of NXT, that honor went to Sara Amato who is probably best remembered by wrestling fans as the former Sara Del Ray who wrestled Ring Of Honor and Shimmer, among many others.  I couldn’t be happier to hear of Amato’s promotion as she is very talented and if the current crop of NXT women are any indication, she’s doing a great job!

2) NXT Unstoppable Updates-  Triple H addressed the elephant in the room  head on during the call announcing that Sami Zayn has been cleared for tomorrow night so the main event will remain as advertised.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Hideo Itami who is injured, though Triple H did mention he’d be represented “in a storyline sense” at the show, he is scheduled to take on both Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor in a triple threat number one contender’s match.  The rest of the card will be filled out by Charlotte and Bayley taking on Emma and Dana Brooke, Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin in a grudge match, a tag title match that will see the champions Blake and Murphy vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady and a women’s title match in which Sasha Banks will defend her title against Beck Lynch (no relation, sadly).

3) A Second Touring NXT Brand?- One of the other major things to come out of Triple H’s conference call are long term potential plans to have NXT split off into two different touring brands.  The idea would be to have the main NXT roster make up the brand that would be touring larger venues, perhaps nationally, and then have a second NXT brand consisting of the up and coming NXT superstars and divas, run smaller venues likely in and around the Florida area.  This is a great idea and creates that double A, triple A baseball like system throughout WWE.  It really makes a lot of sense when you consider that no more than 20-25 NXT talents are usually on a live two hour show.  On the ESPN E:60 special you heard Triple H say that there are currently 75-80 men and women down in the performance center.  This would be a great way to get those other 50 members of NXT that live event experience if they aren’t quite ready to be featured on the NXT progam.

Closing Thoughts 

As always a very informative conference call as I feel they offer a unique behind the scenes perspective leading up to the NXT live special.  I always thought it would be a cool idea for either Triple H or Vince McMahon to do one of these calls for the WWE pay per views as well.  If I were on the call I would ask if their were any plans to sign talents specifically to NXT.  As NXT continues to expand and get bigger as it’s own entity, I feel that it will eventually become hard to continue to build around superstars who are on their way out of NXT at some point, although that sure hasn’t been the case as of yet.  I also wonder if there’s nothing for some of the current WWE superstars if maybe they can go down to NXT for some work or a fresh coat of paint, similar to what Tyson Kidd did.  The name that comes to mind for me would be Jimmy Uso, who hasn’t been on WWE TV since the injury to his brother (Jey is out for the next six to eight months) and would, in my opinion, be a welcome addition in NXT, at least in the interim.  Regardless, i’m excited for NXT Unstoppable and hope that these calls with Triple H continue moving forward.  I’ll be back with a Spotlight immeidately following NXT Takeover: Unstoppable.  If you’d like to listen to the entire Conference Call you can do so by clicking here http://www.prowrestling.net/article.php?font-color-996600-05-19-Prowrestling.net-Podcast-Triple-H-takes-pro-wrestling-media-questions-and-promotes-Wednesday-s-NXT-Takeover-Unstoppable-live-special-font-42304 or by visiting prowrestling.net directly.