The Spotlight on NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3

Tonight is NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3, check out my thoughts and breakdown of all of the matches in yesterday’s edition of The Wrestling Drive

Man that is some screencap on the video above lol

If you aren’t interested (or don’t have the time) in my complete breakdown of each match, here is my quick recap of my predictions for each match

Asuka Over Ember Moon

Drew McIntyre over Bobby Roode to win the NXT Title (Unless Roderick Strong gets added to the match then I think he wins it)

The Authors Of Pain Retain the Tag Titles over Sanity

Johnny Gargano over Andrade Cien Almas

Aleister Black over Hideo Itami

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The Spotlight On NXT Takeover Coming To Toronto

Last night, triple h tweeted the above and confirmed that the next NXT Takeover special will in fact be taking place on Saturday night November 19th from the Air Canada Centre the night before the WWE Survivor Series pay per view.

The Survivor series is the second longest running WWE annual pay per view, behind only WrestleMania, and will be the next cross branded WWE pay per view featuring superstars from both Raw and Smackdown Live.  Thus, it make sense for WWE to make the most out of one of the “Big Four” pay per views and turn it into a weekend, similar to what they’ve been doing the most recent years with Summerslam.  By putting NXT Takeover the night before Survivor Series, and presumably Raw from the same area the night after that, WWE will create a third vacation-destination weekend for its fans. WWE just sold out three nights at the Barclays Center with Takeover, Summerslam and Raw and ran several meet and greet opportunities for its fans throughout the New York City area.  The Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Raptors, can actually hold 2,000 more people than the Barclays Center can and so this will become the largest venue that NXT has ever run.

From here, the next logicial step would be for WWE to create that fourth destination weekend around the Royal Rumble, which takes place in Los Angeles, California, and put on the next NXT Takeover special the night before that show as well.  It has become a tradition, since 2013, that a member of the NXT roster compete in the Royal Rumble so perhaps they could even hold a battle royal on that takeover show to see who gets that opportunity, I realize we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

This is obviously great news for the NXT brand.  While some will say that by pairing the Takeover specials with the big four WWE pay per views and moving them to big venues, it takes a bit away from NXT’s appeal ( with the thought being that you’re not giving NXT as big of a spotlight as their own time of the month for their pay per views and that you’re taking NXT out of the more intimate setting that it was built on), I would tend to disagree.  I think it first and foremost shows how far the NXT brand has come in being able to have events take place in such big venues.  Also, this is great for the talent involved down in NXT to be able to complete on such a big stage as they prepare for their career in WWE somewhere down the road.  It’s also great for WWE because it makes the Survivor Series feel like a bigger deal, in that it will now have a whole weekend centered around it, which is should be due to its rich history.

In the end, it’s great for the fans who will have another place to go see a weekend filled with live events and continue to enjoy more content on the WWE network.  How do you feel about this announcement? Let me know over on twitter.com/tommyonthespot.  Keep checking out over here on thedailyspotlight.com for all of your wrestling news!

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.  
 

The Spotlight On WWE Summerslam returning to New York City

“We are thrilled to build on the success of the 2015 SummerSlam and welcome WWE back to Brooklyn in 2016 and 2017,”- New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio

It’s been just a little over one month since all of the festivities that were associated with WWE Summerslam wrapped up here in the New York City area but late last night the New York Daily News broke this on their official twitter:

That’s right for the next two years WWE Summerslam will be returning to the Barclay’s Center here in Brooklyn, New York.  This shouldn’ come as any real surprise to long time fans of the WWE product as WWE ran The Staples Center for six years from 2009-2014.  Furthermore, WWE had tremendous success at the Barclay’s Center last month, selling out the venue for three straight nights with NXT Takeover, Summerslam (raising $1.3 million from the gate on this event alone) and Monday Night Raw respectively.  It was announced that those same three events will all be returning to the Barclays Center in both 2016 and 2017 to create the mega three day weekend for WWE fans around the world.  It is obvious that WWE is continuing to build Summerslam up as the second biggest show of the year, behind only Wrestlemania.  While it hasn’t officially been announced, one would be right to assume that Summerslam will continue to be a four hour mega event, that is was this year, moving forward.  Other than the three big shows at the Barclay’s Center this past year, WWE became a real fixture throughout the New York City Area with autograph signings, television talk show appearances, panel discussions and charity events featuring WWE Superstars and Divas seemingly at every turn (many of which we covered here live and in depth at thedailyspotlight.com).  To me, it was the most main stream acceptance that WWE has received since the Attitude Era with even ESPN Sportscenter broadcasting live from the Barclays Center on Summerslam Sunday.  This is really exciting for me as a New Yorker, though it does mean that I’m going to be quite busy with now Summerslam in my hometown and Wrestlemania becoming an annual vacation for the girlfriend and I.

Moving forward, I really do wonder if WWE’s long term goal is to build up the other two big four events (Survivor Series and Royal Rumble) similar to the way that they have with Summerslam.  Back in 2004, I remember hearing that Vince McMahon wanted to run Wrestlemania at New York, Los Angeles & Chicago (The three biggest markets) for Wrestlemanias 20-22 before switching over exclusively to running Wrestlemania events out of stadiums.  That said, why couldn’t WWE run the Royal Rumble exclusively out of Chicago, Summerslam exclusively out of New York and The Survivor Series primarily out of Los Angeles?  This would give fans a big WWE three day weekend annually in the West Coast, the midwest and in the Northeast, while still allowing Wrestlemania to be the big vacation attraction in a city each year, while also being the only show to be featured in a staidum.  We are likely getting a little ahead of ourselves, and I have no knowledge and any discussions like this going on, but I think they would be a fun way to make each one of the events special and give each one the big time feel that they deserve.  One thing is for sure, they are well on their way to accomplishing that feat with Summerslam!

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.