The Spotlight on WWE’s United Kingdom Championship Tournament 

Well the world of WWE never stops, that’s for sure. Following three straight days of programming on the USA Network, touted as “WWE Week” and capped off by the annual “Tribute To The Troops” special last night, WWE held a press conference live in London, England this morning. At that press conference, WWE COO, Paul Levesque (Triple H) announced that WWE would be crowning it’s first ever United Kingdom champion as a two day, 16 man tournament will be taking place between the weekend of January 14th and 15th. The tournament will air live on the WWE Network and take place at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England (Home of NXT Commissioner William Regal) and will feature the following 16 competitors Trent Seven, Jack Starz, Pete Dunne, Wolfgang, Roy Johnson, Sam Gradwell, James Drake, Jordan Devlin, Tyler Bate, Joseph Conners, Tyson T. Bone, HC Dyer, Dan Moloney, Chris Tyler, Saxon Huxley, Ringo Ryan, Tiger Ali and Tucker. It would appear that two of these men will be alternatives, though it was not announced who.  
Probably the coolest announcement, at least to me, was that former Ring of Honor Champion Nigel McGuiness would be brought in to co host the tournament and work with Michael Cole on calling the event. For those unfamiliar with Nigel’s story, he was seen as one of Ring Of Honor’s biggest stars having unbelievable matches with Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) from 2005-2009. In September of 2009, it was announced that both McGuiness and Danielson would be leaving Ring of Honor as they had agreed, in principal, to a deal with WWE. The two had one last match against one another at Glory By Honor 8 on September 26th, 2009 before the two left for WWE, a show I attended live and was one of the most emotional shows I ever got to see live. In the end, Danielson would sign his deal with WWE but WWE never did offer the deal to McGuiness due to a biceps injury that came up during his medical pre screening. Thus, for me, it’s really great to see Nigel getting a shot to work for WWE in this capacity.  
No official press release has been released as of this writing as the press conference just ended a few hours ago but you can see video of the press conference including Levesque’s announcement as well as comments by Finn Balor, who attended the conference along with Leveque and William Regal on both WWE’s official facebook page and on their twitter @WWE.  
You have to give WWE credit for always looking for new and unique ways to offer something for everyone, particularly on the WWE Network. Last year the WWE launched the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic which aired on NXT and lead to WWE bringing in independent talent to compete in the tag team tournament, including current NXT Tag Team Champions, DIY! This past year has seen WWE launch the Cruiserweight Classic tournament featuring 32 of the best cruiserweights from around the world. This ended up leading to the return of the cruiserweight division on Raw and a show dedicated to the cruiserweights, 205 Live, that airs on the WWE Network live on Tuesday nights. At the end of the day, wrestling in the UK is a completely different style that really hasn’t ever fully been seen in WWE and so it will be nice to see WWE put a focus on this brand of wrestling and provide the platform for the UK’s wrestling scene through this tournament.  
There is no word as to what the future of the UK champion will be following this tournament but we will update that information as soon as we know anything. 

The Wrestling Drive Ep. 2 on Big Show Vs. Shaq & The Call Up Of Finn Balor

I return today for the second episode of the Wrestling Drive and this time we’re looking at the conclusion of Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor and what this could be for Finn Balor moving forward.  Be sure to be on the lookout for my money guarantee to the spotlight faithful.  Then I  looks back on last night’s Espys and the job that John Cena did hosting the event.  Finally I give my thoughts on the Wrestlemania match that may come out of it involving the Big Show and Shaquille O’Neal.

The Wrestling Drive Ep. 1 On The WWE Cruiserweight Classic

Check out episode one of the Wrestling Drive as I preview the premiere of tonight’s Cruiserweight Classic.  We’ll look at some of the standout contestants and what this may mean for the future of the cruiserweight division in WWE.  We’ll also talk about Daniel Bryan’s return to WWE television as an announcer/ host of the Classic.  Finally, we’ll turn our attention to tonight’s big episode of NXT and the big number one contender match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor.  Check it out and be sure to subscribe to us on youtube right here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy_gVqjuaWDp2QW6go6e0Xw

 

 

Spotlight Breaking News- Samoa Joe Wins The NXT Title 

In a completely shocking story tonight at a live event in Lowell, Massachusetts Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor to win the NXT world title. Balor was the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time.

This is a pretty big deal as this is the first time a title has changed hands at a live event in many years . Go out of your way to watch that 30 second video above and you can just see how excited the crowd was for Joes title win. They did not see it coming in a million years. We will have more on this story as it develops. 

The Spotlight on the NXT Takeover: Respect Triple H Media Conference Call 10/6/2015

Tonight NXT Takeover: Resepct will air live from Orlando, Florida on the WWE Network at 9pm with a lineup as follows, WWE NXT Women’s champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: 30 Minute Ironman Match.Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Semi-Finals: NXT champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and Baron Corbin & Rhino vs. Chad Gable & Jeremy Jordan. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Finals will also take place live tonight with Cody & Dustin Rhodes to presenting trophy to winners, Asuka will make her in-ring debut vs. Dana Brooke and Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews.  Yesterday afternoon, as he always does before each NXT special, Paul Levesque (Triple H) met with members of the media on a conference call.  Here were some of the highlights from that call…
Highlights:
 
The Continued Expansion Of NXT:  One of the main things to come out of the conference call was the continued success of NXT as it’s own entity.  Levesque mentioned how NXT recently took part in the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville this past weekend.  I for one think this is a great idea as few things go hand in hand more than Rock & Wrestling.  I remember going to Ozzfest back in 2002 and meeting WWE superstars and divas throughout the day and the same with Warped Tour a few years after that.  With the killer lineup at Louder Than Life mixed with NXT, I considered heading down to Kentucky for the first time in my life this past weekend.  Levesque continued that NXT continues to have success with the sales of all of their dates in London, which includes the next Takeover special after tonight’s by the way.  He then also touched on the new docuseries coming to the WWE Network entitled NXT: Breaking Ground which will be debuting on the Network on October 26th and that the series is going to be similar to the NXT 24 special that aired this past Monday night (I was taken over with birthday craziness yesterday so I haven’t been able to catch that just yet but I heard it was great and I should have a piece up on that tomorrow).  Lastly in regards to Breaking Ground, Levesque mentioned that they were constantly filming material for that show while NXT tours, so that’s something to really look forward to. In the end, I liked that Levesque was also honest in saying that sometimes he’s had to pull back a little on some opportunities awarded to NXT in order not to burn out the talent and production team and keep everyone honest.
The Relationship between NXT and Evolve: There has been ongoing rumors that there was a working relationship between NXT and Evolve Wrestling, in particular the head of Evolve (and former Ring of Honor booker) Gabe Sapoloski.  While Levesque denied reports that Sapolsky had been brought in as a member of the writing team for NXT, he did mention that he has a lot of respect for Sapolsky and how he does view Evolve as sort of a feeder system for NXT.  Levesque continued by saying that he felt that the wrestling business needs smaller independent federations like Evolve and put over the job that everyone does down there.  He explained that if there were a talent that he felt needed to work on something or if there just wasn’t a spot for them currently in NXT, he wouldn’t hesitate to send them down to Evolve for extra training and he would like to support Evolve in any way that he can.  I can tell you from experience, and I’ve been going to there shows since 2010 when Daniel Bryan went down there between his WWE runs, Evolve puts on some great shows.
Vince Mcmahon’s Role in NXT: One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of the call was when Levesque confirmed that he, not Vince McMahon, has the final say over the booking decisions in NXT.  He explained that Vince did attend the NXT show at the Barclay’s Center but made sure that he didn’t step on any toes and simply watched the show from the gorilla position as a fan.  He explained that Vince fully supports NXT and while he wouldn’t be at the Takeover show tonight, couldn’t wait for the Ironman match this evening.
Closing Thoughts:
 
Overall I thought this was a great listen as all of these calls are.  I personally would have liked someone to ask Levesque about the status of the different Takeover specials as to whether they are now at a point where we can expect them bi-monthly or if we’re going to even get to a point where there specials will be monthly.  
That said, the call breezes right by in just over 40 minutes and includes a lot more than listed above.  If you’d like to listen to the call Prowrestling.net has (as usual and thanks to Jason Powell for it) posted the call online for free on their podcasts page right here 
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet/2015/10/06/1006-prowrestlingnet-podcast–triple-h-talks-with-the-pro-wrestling-media.  Other topics covered during the call is the importance of the Bayley-Sasha main event tonight, why the match is called an ironman match and not an ironwoman match (and who made that clarification), a funny story about Finn Balor posing in front of TNA offices and so much more.  We’ll have coverage on the NXT special at some point tomorrow but until then, take care.