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Everything posted by Go2Sleep

  1. Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne is the early front runner for me.
  2. Not sure what the plan is with Baszler, but it felt like a mistake to not give her the title here. I get that Ember didn't really get a fair shake with Asuka on the roster, but it's also pretty clear that Shayna has a lot more potential than Ember. Ember has a Becky Lynch ceiling, where she'll always be good but not the top star or most interesting talent. They'd also be smart to keep Shayna and Ronda away from each other for quite a while. Dunne/Strong was the best NXT match in a while. Really smart use of the arm work, good selling by Strong, good pace, crowd-popping counter spots, and a great finish. Aleister Black always delivers in his matches, but man, his promos are brutal. Bad writing and bad delivery. They really need to re-evaluate what they want to accomplish with his character if he's gonna make it big.
  3. And to finish the list... 16. Tyler Breeze - The gorgeous one perhaps took off a year too late. He could've found success if NXT went the direction of Bo Dallas, but when Tyler caught on, it was clear the Cesaro/Zayn/Neville wing was the future and Breeze, though solid, was not at that level. Still, not many took ownership of their character quite like Tyler. He made a hokey early 90s style gimmick work in the 2010s. And he performed his own theme song, that counts for a lot. While the comparisons to 92 HBK were absurd even at the time, he did manage to create a memorable character that walked the fine line between comedy and a credible upper midcarder. 17. Adrian Neville - For most of his tenure, his character was "good wrestler with cool finisher," but the importance of that role can't be understated for early NXT. Between the transition from Bo and the Sami feud, Neville had to work title programs with Titus O'Neill and Brodus Clay and made the most of it, likely giving each their best career matches. He kept the credibility of NXT's wrestling up while the brand took shape. Then he had that awesome tweener run in the Sami feud that catapulted NXT in to the stratosphere. 18. Samoa Joe - Fans had been clamoring for Joe in WWE for over a decade, but his age and excessive time spent in TNA had people wondering if this was just going to be more "what could've been." It took a couple months to get his feet back under him, but it wasn't long before Joe was the same ass-kicking fire-promo that everyone knew and loved. It wasn't 2005, but he worked briefly as a face and mostly as a heel as a central figure in the third wave of NXT dominance. 19. Emma - Emma was certainly one of the more underrated figures in the women's revolution, despite never getting the top. Instead of one dominant run like many of the memorable NXT superstars, she had two distinct supporting runs. Her first tenure as a face followed the classic making something out of nothing model and her comeback heel run was a polished example of how to elevate people as a midcard heel. Both times around she didn't reach the top, but she definitely helped those who did around her. 20. Sanity - I was trying to avoid a cop-out group shout here, but other than Sawyer Fulton, it's tough to say anyone hasn't contributed significantly. My main issue is that I couldn't pick between Nikki Cross and Killian Dain who both seem to have lots of untapped potential yet. Nikki sells the "craziness" of the gimmick better than anyone in the group, but Dain certainly has the appropriate wildman look and most importantly, sells it in the ring. Still, Young has provided acceptable promos and some decent babyface work in tag matches, and Wolfe is the unappreciated workhorse who has shown a lot of fire when given a chance. Waiting in the wings: Adam Cole, Shayna Baszler, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan
  4. Didn't Lars Sullivan also call out Dain specifically and it hasn't gone anywhere? Or did I just imagine that?
  5. Yeah that was a weird tease. Tino seems exactly like the kind of guy that would turn on his tag partner, but Riddick Moss has zero babyface appeal right now.
  6. 11. Andrade 'Cien' Almas - Almas is another guy with sort of a meta character arc. He was supposed to come in and get over doing what he had done elsewhere and be a low-maintenance star. He didn't pan out right away, though, and ended up being used to put over hot free agent signings brought in after him. So, what did they do? Incorporate that into his character of course. Use his aura of entitlement to make him heel, and explain his poor record as a result of not taking his job seriously. Then fix him by pairing him up with a manager who channels all his talent and turns him into the superstar he was supposed to be when came in. Even if his story arc ended now, he would've had a great run, but his excellent ring work and the fact that he's in position to put people over now are only going to improve his standing as time goes on. 12. Asuka - An undefeated gimmick is a pretty easy one to work with if you have even a small amount of talent, so needless to say, Asuka crushed it during her time in NXT. She was more of face due to the inherent appeal of an ass-kicker, but she never adhered to too many babyface conventions. At times, she was arrogant, relished hurting inferior opponents, and mowed down other babyfaces. Other times, she did play it straight, fighting off cheaters, hanging tough with larger opponents, and showing gratitude the fans. She was simply Asuka, and everyone had to respect her. 13. Chad Gable - The dorky guy who put his name on his towel was easy to like the first time he was on camera. As he recruited a struggling Jason Jordan, you could see big things ahead for both of them. Chad took one of the long-forgotten pre-network home-growns and got him out of his shell and into one of the most successful tag teams in NXT history. In the ring, Chad could play a sympathetic babyface with the best of them and had no shortage of crafty amateur-based offense to balance the suddenly explosive Jordan. Along with the Revival, American Alpha opened the floodgates for the NXT tag team wave. 14. Bo Dallas - While mostly a pre-network success story, this generic blue-chipper babyface finding himself as the all-time great "heel who thinks he's a face" was sign that NXT was moving in the right direction. He put Neville over strong to kick off the network, and provided some quality stooging heel work as the product began to take on a new direction. 15. Johnny Gargano - Somehow, Johnny Wrestling turned a generic look and even more generic promos into being one of the iconic underdogs in NXT history. In the ring, his passion shines through, and it's hard to not pull for the guy. His underdog work highlighted the premier tag team feud in NXT history and has translated nicely to singles. As time goes on and he potentially completes a title chase and vanquishes his jealous former partner, he could see himself as high as #4 on my list, but that's still to be determined. As is, he has nothing to be ashamed of with a very successful NXT run that has likely exceeded just about everyone's expectations for him.
  7. Thread says top 20, so I need to continue. 6. Finn Balor - Part of a loaded signing spree at the end of 2014, Finn was brought in as an equalizer for the much more hyped Hideo Itami who was being tormented by the Ascension. When it was time for the tag team blowoff match, Finn promised he would show them something they've never seen before. Out came the demon, and the equalizer had instantly become the next obvious future star of the brand. The whole demon gimmick could've been way too campy by itself, let alone with Finn's natural dorky personality, but he established himself as the most over act on the show at a time when NXT was going through its growth spurt. From charming bookworm and lego enthusiast to unstoppable warrior, Finn established himself as a guy that was ready to win a major title his first month in WWE when his highly successful NXT run concluded. 7. Bayley - As the other key component to the NXT women's revolution, her story arc necessitated her being out of the spotlight while everyone else was established. However, when it was her time to shine, she was blinding. Her redemption arc concluded with two of the finest matches in NXT history opposite #1 Sasha Banks. Then she had several months of an underappreciated ace run, making next-gen mainstays like Nia, Alexa, and Carmella look great before she succumbed to Asuka, who needed no introduction. Bayley will always be known as the huggable underdog, but she had the range and talent of a complete superstar. 8. Enzo Amore - Recent flame-out aside, you have to give him his just due when it comes to all-time NXT characters. First, he unquestionably had the most over catchphrase in NXT history. Second, he provided a vehicle to get generic big-man-project Colin Cassidy off the ground, which was definitely not happening before hand. You could definitely draw some parallels between them and the New Age Outlaws, though Enzo was never the worker Road Dogg was. The biggest parallel is that they were a generational tag team act in terms of overness, and it was on the back of Enzo's mic work. Enzo's template was so successful, they tried to copy it with Carmella, only to find that his charisma was truly unique. 9. Bray Wyatt - It's tough for pre-network era NXT guys to get a lot of credit here due to lack of exposure, but to me, Bray stands out as the early successful experiment that showed the true future potential of the new developmental system. After floundering as the horrendously-named Husky Harris, Bray was able to fully reinvent himself at the performance center, taking advantage of increased emphasis on character development and increased production capabilities. While most of his success would come from transferring his act to the main roster, the credibility it gave to the new system and proximal benefits it provided to Harper and Rowan earn him a spot on this list. 10. Shinsuke Nakamura - Nak is a tough to rank because you want to honor the people who carved out identities from scratch and developed along with brand, while there's very much a "this is just Shinsuke being Shinsuke" thing going on with him, especially coming in when the brand was at its peak. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that over is over, though, and you just can't ignore what Nak brought to the brand, even if he was bringing the same thing to NJ for years prior. His charisma goes without saying, and he was one of the most over guys in the company the second he walked in. His first entrance was legendary, and his one uniquely NXT thing was the fact that he had the most over theme song in company history (edging out Glorious). While Nakamura would easily be over anywhere he goes, that should reflect positively on him, thus he rounds out my top 10.
  8. Joe's best NXT match was his 5-minute tv match with pre-DIY Ciampa right around the time Joe turned. Stiff slugfest that put Joe over strong, but helped separate Ciampa from the pack a little bit with a tough showing. Asuka's best NXT match was probably with Nia at The End. Her debut match against Dana was pretty perfect for what it was supposed to be as well. Nakamura's best NXT match was obviously the debut against Sami, but his match with Aries at The End is very underrated.
  9. Couple pages back, but I don't think this is true at all. She lives in a D+7 district, and Connecticut is so blue there isn't even an oddly-shaped token R district she could move to. She wouldn't do any better than Linda statewide. A republican running in a blue wave year in an already deep blue state is DOA without even getting into WWE's shoddy business record and the large quantity of publicly available footage of her reveling in taking people's jobs. I guess she could break with her family and try to run as a dem, but rich pro-business centrist dems aren't exactly in style these days (and probably will be much less so in 2020), and that's before taking into account how poorly all the pics with her and Trump together will play, Linda in the Trump admin, etc. If Steph thinks she has a national political career ahead of her, that's just another example of a McMahon over-valuing themselves.
  10. 1. Sasha Banks - The 1/2 decision was a very tough one for me and I could probably argue with myself all day on it. In the end, though, I think the biggest contribution from NXT is its impact on women's wrestling. In the wake of an all-woman Royal Rumble closing out WWE's second biggest show of the year, something unimaginable even 5 years ago, it's clear to me that women's wrestling will be NXT's biggest legacy, and that legacy runs through Sasha Banks. While not following the tried and true babyface underdog path, no one embodies the true pioneering, visionary, land-of-opportunity spirit of NXT quite like Sasha. In retrospect, her character was rather meta. She was a very effective heel in practice, but her rise up the card and in the eye of wrestling critics was as heart-warming as any babyface arc under the surface. The "four horsewomen of NXT" all have much-deserved acclaim, but the other 3 made their careers by working with Sasha. The whole women's operation, and in fact NXT's greatest accomplishment, simply doesn't work without her. 2. Sami Zayn - Due to NXT's multi-year sustained run of above average to all-time great weekly wrestling show, it's easy to forget the times before all the hot free agents wanted to work there and it actually resembled a developmental promotion. Before NXT could coast on the talent of established indy stars, securing a guy like El Generico was a huge coup for the brand, not just a given. Still, this wasn't just taking and using what a guy had been doing on the indies or overseas for years, he had to ditch his signature mask, take on a WWE-sounding name (albeit one of the better ones), and start as if nobody knew who he was. However, it didn't take long for Sami's talent to shine through and he quickly became one of the most beloved figures in the company. Only Sami and Neville could work at the level NXT fans are accustomed to today when the show launched with the WWE network. While Neville would go on to develop a good character, Sami's combination of in-ring ability, relate-able personality, and ability to make everyone around him better made him the heart and soul of NXT during its critical early stages. Sami was the foundation that important figures like Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura were built on, and Sami Zayn is basically synonymous with NXT. 3. Corey Graves - While not being blessed with the longevity to make his mark in the ring, it's impossible to say that Corey's announcing didn't embody the NXT spirit in exactly the same way Sami and Sasha did in the ring. Corey was a natural when he first sat in the booth and became the stable figure in a sea of rotating mediocrity that was early NXT announcing. Corey's intimate knowledge and passion for the brand was essential in putting over the sensational rise of the company. Often times we get so caught up with what we see, we forget what we hear, but we all know NXT wouldn't (and indeed hasn't) sounded the same without Corey in the booth. 4. The Revival - Even when NXT was solidified as a must-watch brand with all the hottest talent, it still had a rather lackluster tag team legacy. The Ascension had been shoved down everyone's throats despite being awful, the Lucha Dragons failed to take off, Blake and Murphy wouldn't be remembered were it not for them being Alexa Bliss' stepping stone, and the Vaudevillains, while a neat niche gimmick, were unbecoming as a top act given where NXT was at as a brand. Thankfully a concentrated effort was made to remedy this situation in the form of the Dusty Rhodes Classic. While the flashy cool team of Samoa Joe and Finn Balor won the event, the big find were semi-finalists Dash and Dawson, two lower key signings that hadn't amounted to anything in singles. In a time all the hottest indy talent was coming in and the women were breaking new ground, Dash and Dawson went back to the basics and ended up being the central pillar in making the NXT tag division mean what it should. Their old-school, no-frills approach was balanced with a modern pace and just enough cool limb-destroying moves to fit in to modern NXT, while using classic methods of getting themselves and everyone they worked with over. 5. Kevin Owens - While a babyface like Zayn was essential to establishing NXT as a promotion, you could tell they made it when they were ready for a dominant heel on top. After debuting to hot face reaction in a surprisingly heated battle with CJ Parker, he became the most hated man instantly when he ruined Sami's big moment later that night in dramatic fashion. Being able to destroy the ultimate sympathetic face as his first feud certainly helped, but you can't ignore what he brought the table. This is a guy who could work a fast pace at a very high level, and had all the quick wit on the mic to become a cool heel, but he didn't. He stayed, weasely, smarmy, and obnoxious, but had the mean streak of a true ace. He worked main roster ppvs with Cena as NXT champ and didn't miss a beat. Though his run was short, he was a key in continuing the upward trend of the brand's credibility while the company depth piled up behind him.
  11. Owens' brief NXT was full of great work. It's a shame Sami got hurt and their story couldn't reach its natural conclusion. The other deep cut I'd recommend was his tv match with Finn Balor from March of 2015 (I wanna say 3/28). I think Bayley/Sasha from Brooklyn is my favorite NXT match. The combination of both the actual work, the conclusion of a long-term story arc, and the real-life emotion and implications were just a perfect storm you can only get once in a great while. Kayfabe be damned, the curtain call homage after this match was the most emotional moment WWE has produced in a long time. Pleny of other high-end contenders that have already been named. The ones I think that have been missed thus far are Owens/Zayn (Rival), and Revival/AA (The End). Lastly, I don't wanna hear anyone ragging on Zayn/Nak for re-using spots from other matches (that at least Nak was involved in) and praising the DIY/Revival 2/3 falls that blatantly plagiarized the finish of the Rhodes/Bennetts mixed tag from TNA.
  12. This is a good shout here. Were it not for my friend and I challenging each other to rank the top 10% of matches from every ppv a couple years back, I would've forgotten this match entirely (and most of 2009 to mid 2011 WWE). Now I wouldn't recommend re-watching too much NoC which is consistently a dire show, but this match was exactly the kind of forgotten classic you hope to find every once in a while in this sort of endeavor. It has to be Kane's best singles match ever.
  13. For NXT, I'd offer up Sasha/Becky from Unstoppable. WWE has a whole host of better options, most of which have been covered. The big ones that haven't are Orton/Foley, and Brock/Benoit.
  14. I liked the way they booked Ember/Shayna even though the finish was reaching Bret/Backlund levels of being unnecessarily dragged out. It was a bit like Brock/Cena Extreme Rules, where the face gets a credible-looking pin, but the heel looks like the baddest dude(tte) on the planet and only lost because they tried to show off when they could've believably finished the match much earlier. Shayna's elbow stomp is the best move in wrestling right now. The main event was nice, but I didn't think it was appreciably better than their last match, let alone sniffing greatest match in NXT history.
  15. Depends if "up and coming" means "actually new" or "starting their first WWE main event push." If it's the latter, you can add Austin, Shawn, Benoit, and Rey to the list. That's still only about 1/3 of the time, but keep in mind since 2005, MITB mostly took over the "first big push" prop.
  16. Taker's best long promo was when he talked about leaving Big Show in the desert. Also, the Revival are DOA. Not just because they got beat up by ancient DX/Kliq this week, but because they were given a "we're serious wrestlers who are being held down" gimmick, then got beaten up by ancient DX/Kliq. Wouldn't be surprised if they're the new jobber team now that Gallows/Anderson and Titus Worldwide are getting slight pushes.
  17. Yeah, drunken Bobby Heenan totally shat all over the WCW brand cologne. He also had one of the best closing lines to a ppv when he exasperatingly said "Why not?" as Sting gave Charles Robinson the scorpion death drop after he lost the title (?). This show is peak Russo and a must-watch if you like wrestlecrap. Sid/Goldberg and DDP/Flair aren't bad matches either once you get around the shenanigans and the botched finish in the case of the latter.
  18. The I Quit match is one of the more conflicting matches for me in WWE history. On one hand, it's a very well put together match that has all the over-the-top attitude era flair with violence and grit taken to the next level with tremendous character work (no worse than the second best individual performance of The Rock's career) and a finishing stretch that gets every bit of the gut-wrenching, visceral, uncomfortable-to-watch reaction they were looking for. On the other hand, why this was ever allowed to happen (even in 1999) is beyond me. Foley made a career off ridiculous stunt bumps, but to me, the two most insane things he ever did are the match where he let Vader potato him for 10 minutes straight and the finish for this match. Basically, I want to call it a great match, but I feel really bad about doing it.
  19. Fat Fuck Barrel Boy for sure. I always got a laugh out of Hugh G. Rection too, just because of Demott's promo where he said he was going to start going by his real name.
  20. They should probably just put McIntyre on Raw or SD when he comes back. He would be a good surprise return in the Andre battle royal. It'll be interesting to see what direction they take with the title now. Almas is good, but doesn't feel like a long-term champ, plus you've got the Undisputed Era sitting at the top of the card, and they kind of need the "all the belts" gimmick, cliche as it may be. They should probably start rehabbing Gargano now so they can complete his redemption arc at WM weekend. I think Adam Cole is guy you want holding the belt in that spot, someone who can really needle Gargano about not being able to win the big one and has tons of dirty heel tricks to overcome.
  21. Things can start somewhere, then become a staple somewhere else later.
  22. She did get people to care about Blake and Murphy for a couple months, that's pretty impressive.
  23. I saw Neville at 14, but he should be top 5 whether you use kayfabe metrics or not.
  24. They've been tower of dooming in WWE for over 10 years. It's been incorporated into their style for better or worse.
  25. The big snub to me on the NXT list is Neville. He was very important keeping the main event scene stable during the early network days before the wave of peak-day stars arrived and guys like Brodus Clay and Titus O'Niell were major players. I'd go Sami/Sasha as my 1/2, for what it's worth.
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