*Courtesy Of The Bonesaw*
Check out the latest edition of “Manopera! A Wrestling Symposium,” as PWO’s own Nicholas Jason Lopez guest stars to discuss the best and worst of wrestling in 2016 with Hosts Chris Butera and “Spaceman” Frank Lucci.
In a year filled with twists, turns and too many Pay-Per-Views, this thrilling trio breaks it all down!
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The Era Of Strong Style Begins
– With NXT back at home at Full Sail University, it was time to see some new feuds and stars develop as the next NXT TakeOver event looms in the coming months. We started off with a backstage segment with Samoa Joe, NXT General Manager William Regal and a medical trainer as Regal was told that due to numerous injuries caused to Joe at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, he wouldn’t be cleared to compete any time soon. Joe, who was uncrowned of the NXT Championship at Brooklyn by NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, was expectedly pissed and stormed away. Uh oh.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Rounding Out The Elite Eight
– The Cruiserweight Classic could in many ways be described as WWE’s hand-crafted gift to the internet wrestling community. Name recognition has never meant so much these days and the next stars are just waiting to be made here. The opening video followed in the way of NXT TakeOver highlight reels in that we saw the prettiest slow-motion sequences of the series’ biggest strikes, flips and submission holds. Also worked in was the sound bite from Triple H at TakeOver: Brooklyn II where the CWC winner would be crowned on Sep. 14 and receive a trophy designed by the guys at Orange County Choppers. We finished it out as we saw how Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar and Brian Kendrick all made it to the “Elite Eight.” Hyped for this episode were the last of the Second Round matches, which were Zack Sabre Jr.-Drew Gulak, Lince Dorado-Rich Swann and TJ Perkins-Johnny Gargano. That card alone sounds so good on a regular show.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While that cliche can apply to most things in life, it especially applies to NXT, particularly around SummerSlam weekend.
Again, despite efforts to divert attention to the six-hour spectacle that is SummerSlam itself, it only goes to that of its previous-day predecessor, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
Last year, 15,000 Brooklynites held witness to one of WWE’s matches between WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Bayley.
While this year’s bouts didn’t capture that match’s emotional whirlwind, just like every previous TakeOver special, we left each contest with a “talking point” of some sort.
– With NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II just within reach on the calendar, it was one show left and it promised a face-to-face encounter between NXT Champion Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. How could you not get excited about that? On the surface though, we could tell it’d be one of those “special” episodes that served as a preview show to an extent.
The Wait Is Finally Over
– At the time Hideo Itami got injured, he was arguably in the running for an NXT Championship reign. A year and a half later, he was back from the shoulder injury and possessed a fury of self-justice and redemption. The opener between Itami and Sean Maluta was all about Itami’s return while at the same time let Maluta soak in the NXT spotlight, since he came over from the Cruiserweight Classic. Also liked that the camera panned to Zack Sabre Jr., Tony Nese and Drew Gulak in the crowd to hype the CWC, as they were each First Round victors. Maluta wasn’t a complete afterthought, as she showed off some fierce kicks, but the purpose was obvious from the get-go and Itami didn’t miss a beat. Commentary smartly brought up that his career pre-injury had mirrored Finn Balor’s and was on route to Championship contention before he was sidelined possibly by Kevin Owens. Itami’s signature running knee finisher ended it.
Flipping The Switch
– The Shinsuke Nakamura-Wesley Blake match was an easy way to keep the undefeated Nakamura just that while we also saw a quarrel between Blake and Buddy Murphy, who were convinced that one could upstage the other. Blake challenged Nakamura, while Murphy claimed he could beat “a favorite to win the CWC.” As for Blake, his new theme music was eh and commentary mentioned a “new look,” but he still looked the same to us. Anyways, this was reminiscent of Nakamura’s squash over Murphy and didn’t give us anything new, but Nakamura’s always a treat to watch. The follow-up was also fun since we saw NXT General Manager William Regal come out and formally announce that Nakamura would face NXT Champion Samoa Joe at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II. Oh, snap.