There were rumors heading into Monday’s Raw that an NXT call-up would debut on the show. Instead we got two debuts, Neville and the Lucha Dragons. While Sin Cara has, of course, been on Raw before, this was Kalisto’s first time.
Unfortunately, WWE couldn’t resist its desire to drop the first name of wrestlers, removing “Adrian” from Neville’s name.
Either way, it’s cool to see an NXT favorite getting his well-deserved shot on the main roster. The same goes for the Lucha Dragons, who will add some spice to the tag team division.
On the heels of a noteworthy and praise-earning WrestleMania 31, WWE has announced several new series that will be coming to the WWE Network. In addition, the semi-regular NXT Takeover specials will now be monthly events.
Camp WWE, Swerved, a new Divas Search and Jerry Springer’s show were all announced during ‘Mania but the release also reveals that Chris Jericho’s podcast will be a monthly feature. Unfiltered with Renee Young will debut in May while Culture Shock with Corey Graves premieres in June. WWE The List will also premiere in June, which seems very similar to the current Countdown shows. There will also be new episodes of WWE 24, Countdown and Rivalries, along with a special showcasing the Big Show v. Floyd Mayweather WrestleMania XXIV match. WWE also announced that episodes of Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling will be added to the Network.
It’s great to see so much content being added to the WWE Network and the news of WWE increasing to 1.3 million subscribers undoubtedly has the company willing to spend a little bit more on the vehicle.
WWE has completed the card for NXT’s fifth live WWE Network special, Takeover: Rival. The event will air February 11th. If you haven’t yet checked out an NXT special event, be sure to tune in for this one as all of these events have been excellent so far.
Below is the current card for the big show:
NXT Championship Match
Kevin Owens v. Sami Zayn
NXT Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Sasha Banks v. Bayley v. Becky Lynch v. Charlotte
Match to Determine the Number One Contender for the NXT Championship
Finn Balor v. Adrian Neville
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake v. The Lucha Dragons
WWE has announced the signing of Fergal Devitt, which has been rumored for months. Devitt will report to the WWE Performance Center today and will begin in NXT.
Devitt has competed in several promotions, including New England Championship Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and – most notably – New Japan Pro Wrestling. He is a three-time former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and a six-time former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. He also won Best of the Super Juniors in 2010 and 2013 and was ranked 38th in the PWI 500 in 2013.
For those unfamiliar with Prince Devitt, below are some clips of his in-ring work and famed entrances and attire.
NXT fan favorite Paige debuted on Raw last night, interrupting AJ Lee’s promo and earning an impromptu Divas Championship match. Paige won after countering the Black Widow finisher into the (poorly executed but that’s okay) Paige Turner. It was a cool moment in a night filled with them, and another indication that the emphasis on new talent is continuing in the WWE.
Last night’s Raw definitely felt like the beginning of a new era, with a strong influx of NXT talent appearing on the show. WWE also teased the “big league” call-ups of Adam Rose and Bo Dallas. Vignettes are underutilized in WWE and it’s nice to see them coming back into fashion.
For those that missed it on last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, below is the teaser vignette for Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family.
This vignette is so well done – as are most WWE teasers – from the theme song to the camera work and editing to the Wyatt Family themselves. I personally can’t wait for these guys to get the call up from NXT.
I’m a few days late this week with my recap of Raw, so I’ll just mash it together with my NXT thoughts. Honestly, there was really nothing at all about this week’s Raw that I was particularly impressed with. It was kind of a letdown show after the cliffhanger from last week involving the NXT group, now known as The Nexus.
That’s partly due to the absence of Wade Barrett, who reportedly has left the country due to work visa issues. Hopefully they’re resolved soon because the group just isn’t the same without him.
The show was especially light on wrestling this week, even though the main event eight-man tag match went longer than expected. I don’t need to see anything more from Vladimir Kozlov or Santino Marella, and especially not the two together. Their match would have been much better suited for Superstars. And does anyone care that Ranjin Singh and The Great Khali are apparently splitting. That’s a total waste of screen time that could be much better used to enhance guys like Zack Ryder, Evan Bourne, The Usos, etc.
The more I think about it, I can’t find anything good at all about this show. Even the ending segment, which was meant to build anticipation for the Money in the Bank match at the PPV, was done poorly simply because it felt like it should have happened on the go-home show, not a program weeks before the event.
As for NXT, there wasn’t much good about it either. We saw the return of the rookie challenges, which this week featured a keg carrying challenge. Yawn. At least the right guy was eliminated, as Titus O’Neil was given the boot.
Fresh off the “NXT Invasion” angle, WWE kicked off season two of the program Tuesday night. We learned a little more about the rookies, saw two short matches, and got to re-live Monday’s drama.
– The pros and rookies brawling to end the show was a good way of furthering the NXT Invasion storyline. It gets across the point that the pros aren’t going to let the rookies disrespect them or try to “take over.” My bone to pick with it, and the whole show really, is Matt Striker. It just doesn’t make any sense for Matt Striker to be lecturing the rookies as if he’s been a five-time World Champion. Either way, it was effective in showing that there is tension in the locker room.
– I was impressed with Eli Cottonwood, not so much from a personality standpoint, but the guy gets around pretty well for someone his size. Compared to The Great Khali he looks like Rey Mysterio.
– As I’ve mentioned on Twitter, Percy Watson is like the new Johnny B. Badd. Watson, though, did show a lot of personality, as did Alex Riley.
– Michael Cole briefly mentioned that he “was able to get away” when the NXT rookies were attacking on Raw, so it will be interesting to see if he is involved somehow, or it was all just a coincidence. As Twitter pal @oldiesmike pointed out, Cole avoided answering when Josh Mathews questioned him further about the incident.