To say that this past week was a big one for NXT would be an understatement…
- First and foremost, Kevin Owens made his WWE RAW debut by leaving company poster-child John Cena laying in the ring and having a match against him announced for the Elimination Chamber What an incredible push for Owens, who is a favourite of Triple H. I’ve said for months now that he was ready for the main roster with a total package (i.e. in-ring ability, look, gimmick, promo skills, merch that sells), so to see him leap-frog over some of the other very deserving performers in NXT is not only surprising, but it’s very exciting if you’re a fan of his (which I am).
- Samoa Joe made his WWE debut on Wednesday at the live NXT special, NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable. From what I can tell, he has signed a very unique deal. He’s going by the name Samoa Joe, so WWE won’t own his copyright once he’s done with the company. They already have an official WWE-licensed t-shirt for him, which is crazy since he is still booked for independent shows over the next month or two. My understanding is that if NXT wants him, then WWE will compensate the indy promoter. At this point, though, I don’t expect Joe to be in NXT for very long. If Triple H loved him enough to allow him to go by his Samoa Joe name, then he’s going to probably get fast-tracked to the main roster.
- What does this mean for Hideo Itami, Finn Bãlor, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and the numerous other veteran performers who are still in NXT? It’s hard t say, though the injuries to both Itami and Zayn probably mean more opportunities for guys like Breeze. My best guess would be that Bãlor is the next individual to get called up after Owens and Joe.
- There should be at least two or three Diva call-ups, too…with Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Bayley all showing that they are capable of carrying the Divas division on the main roster with some outstanding recent performances. At this point, the main roster could use a little shake-up when it comes to the ladies.
- There were some off-camera promotions last week in NXT, as well. Matt Bloom (aka Jason Albert) was promoted to Head Trainer (something that was assumed anyway) and Sara Amato (aka Sara Del Rey) was named Assistant Head Trainer. Some troll on Twitter tried to convince me that he knew two months ago that Amato would be promoted. Why? He claimed it was because she had the second most complaints as a trainer behind now-ousted Bill DeMott. The flaw in his logic? Well…Amato is still at the WWE Performance Centre, but now will also be doing producing and training on the road with the main roster. Yeah…that totally sounds like a result of being a bad trainer. I’m sure all of the praise that Triple H and the Divas have given Amato are all a smokescreen for the terrible person they think she really is. **insert eyeroll here**
- I’m already annoyed with the NXT fair-weather fans. Y’know, the ones who are complaining about the Alexa Bliss heel turn to join-up with the tag team champions, Blake & Murphy? “Out of nowhere”, they’re saying. “It doesn’t make any sense”. Well, if you’ve watched the program over the past few weeks, you would have seen a backstage segment where Carmella and Alexa got into a little bit of a confrontation. Who swooped in to comfort her and make her feel better? You guessed it…Blake & Murphy. Is it a perfect heel turn? No, because she wasn’t really that over as a babyface to begin with. However, it’s a logical turn from a storyline perspective. I’m interested to see where they go with this.