50-year-old Japanese wrestling legend Jushin Thunder Liger will wrestle Tyler Breeze in a singles match at the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn the night before SummerSlam at the Barclays Center, WWE announced. Many American fans know Liger from his time in WCW, Ring of Honor and TNA. Liger has also had lengthy runs in New Japan and CMLL. The match against Breeze will be the first WWE appearance of Liger’s nearly 30-year career in the business.
WWE is certainly trying to beef up the card for the Brooklyn TakeOver special, as it will be NXT’s first time at a venue of that size and the addition of Liger will definitely peak the interests of the hardcore wrestling fan, which is NXT’s core audience.
The special will air live on WWE Network on Saturday, August 22nd at 7:30 pm ET.
Sasha Banks will defend her NXT Women’s Championship against fellow main roster call-up Charlotte on tonight’s episode of NXT, even though this airing was taped a few weeks ago. Any time these two women get together, it’s a solid match, so tonight’s show is one you won’t want to miss.
It will be interesting to see how the company handles the NXT Women’s Title situation now that Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch have been moved up to Raw. Bayley, though currently injured, would seem a likely competitor to step into the mix, perhaps along with Carmella, Dana Brooke and Alexa Bliss. Lest we forget about Eva Marie, who is also trying to revive (or create) her in-ring career in NXT. Regardless, losing three women of the caliber of Banks, Charlotte and Lynch is a blow to the NXT Women’s Division.
The much-rumored call-ups of Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks from NXT to the main roster happened last night on Raw, when Stephanie McMahon played babyface for a moment and infused some new life into the Divas Division. Technically, of course, this wasn’t Charlotte’s debut on Raw, since she lost and “blink and you’ll miss it” match to Natalya on Raw in December.
At the risk of sounding too hyperbolic, pretty much everything about this moment was great.
Stephanie did a good job of building each woman up before introducing them to the crowd. Each introduction got a pop, with each growing a bit louder than the one before it. Again, Stephanie helped this by teasing who each person was before the reveal. My only nitpicks is that Sasha Banks, despite being introduced as the NXT Women’s Champion, did not come out with the title.
The ensuing brawl was solid and gave us the great visual of Lynch, Charlotte and Banks performing their signature moves, hopefully an indication that the future of the WWE Women’s Division is indeed here.
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.