PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
(Search “wade keller” to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
The following is the latest in a new series of weekly in-depth articles exclusive to PWTorch which will help put in perspective major wrestling promotions with a weekly overview, looking at news and roster developments, results, future line-ups, social media activity, key interviews, plus a timely commentary at the end. We will be featuring similar features on other promotions each week and each will be updated weekly.
•Top Stories of the Week
The WWE’s top story of the week was the main roster debut of NXT’s top Superstars. NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa, NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano, Ricochet, and Aleister Black on made their main roster debut this past Monday on Monday Night Raw. All four were also in action Tuesday night on Smackdown and there has been no word on exactly what the plan is going forward.
The Velveteen Dream captured his first NXT Championship when he defeated Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Championship during this week’s NXT TV show. Where that title, Velveteen Dream, and Johnny Gargano go from there is anyone’s guess at this point.
NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler will take on Mia Yim in non-title action next week after Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke destroyed Yim and the rest of the mid card NXT women in a post-match beatdown.
NXT announced the return of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic after a one year hiatus. There will be eight teams competing and four participants have already been announced. The Street Profits, The Forgotten Sons, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel, and The Undisputed Era are in and the other four teams will be named next Wednesday.
•NXT Live Event Results
Feb. 16 St. Augustine, Fla.
Punishment Martinez beat Brennan Williams
Deonna Purrazzo beat Chelsea Green
Adrian Jaoude (w/Cezar Bononi) beat Eric Bugenhagen
Kassius Ohno beat Denzel Dejournette
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch beat Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner
Mia Yim and Jessie Elaban beat Aliyah and Vanessa Borne
Matt Riddle beat Babatunde
War Raiders and Aleister Black beat The Forgotten Sons
(Results courtesy of f4wonline.com)
Feb. 21 Sebring, Fla.
Street Profits beat Cezar Bononi and Adrian Jaoude
Lacey Lane beat Reina Gonzalez
Kavita Devi and Jeet Rama beat Vanessa Borne and Kona Reeves
Keith Lee beat Jaxson Ryker
War Raiders beat Denzel Dejournette and Eric Bugenhagen to retain NXT Tag Team Championship
MJ Jenkins beat Aliyah
The Velveteen Dream beat Luke Menzies to retain NXT North American Championship
(Results courtesy of lordsofpain.net)
•Upcoming Major Show Line-up: NXT TakeOver New York
NXT TakeOver New York
April 5, 2019
Brooklyn, NY (Barclays Center)
War Raiders (NXT Tag Team Champion) vs. Winner of Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament
Who knows the rest of the card?!?!?!?!
Friday Feb. 22 – Havert L. Fenn Center (Fort Pierce, Fla.)
Saturday Feb. 23 – Midtown Cultural and Educational Center (Daytona, Fla.)
Thursday Feb. 28 – Express Live! (Columbus, Ohio)
Thursday Feb. 28 – University Area CDC Gymnasium (Tampa, Fla.)
Friday Mar. 1 – The Stage AE (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
Friday Mar. 1 – Orlando Life Events (Casselberry, Fla.)
Saturday Mar. 2 – Maxwell Snyder Armory (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Saturday Mar. 2 – Agora Theatre (Cleveland, Ohio)
Sunday Mar. 3 – Royal Oak Music Center (Detroit, Mich.)
Thursday Mar. 7 – Minnireg Hall (Largo, Fla.)
Saturday Mar. 9 – Crystal River Armory (Crystal River, Fla.)
Thursday Mar. 14 – St. Petersburg Armory (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Friday Mar. 15 – Venice Community Center (Venice, Fla.)
Saturday Mar. 16 – Rerserve Pavillion at Hilton Ocala (Ocala, Fla.)
Thursday Mar. 21 – Sanford Civic Center (Sanford, Fla.)
FRIDAY APR. 5 – BARCLAYS CENTER (BROOKLYN, NEW YORK) NXT TAKEOVER BROOKLYN
•Latest TV Highlights: 2/20 NXT TV Report
(1) Aleister Black beats Roderick Strong by pinfall (4:39 – 13:06)
Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish run in (13:50)
Ricochet run in/stand tall with Black to end segment (14:09 – 14:53)
Video footage of Baszler/Shafir/Duke starting fights with entire women’s locker room (15:07 – 15:42)
Bianca Belair video package (16:32 – 17:45)
Highlights from NXT Debuts on Raw and Smackdown and announcement of Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament (17:47 – 20:00)
(2)Mia Yim beat Xia Li by pinfall (21:45 – 25:40)
Baszler/Duke/Shafir run in (25:52)
Random trainees from the women’s locker room run in and get dominated (26:12 – 27:40)
Johnny Gargano/Candice LeRae/Tommaso Ciampa backstage segment (27:41 – 28:42)
Matt Riddle preview of youtube interview (30:32 – 32:25)
Velveteen Dream beat Johnny Gargano by pinfall to win the NXT North American Championship (37:14 – 57:55)
(PWTorch TV Report HERE)
NXT in the media
Jeremy Borash (Yes the former TNA Jeremy Borash) sat down with the King of Bros Matt Riddle this week to discuss all things Bro. The single most interesting and important thing to come out of this interview was Matt Riddle’s continued persistence that he will be the one to retire Brock Lesnar. Make. It. Happen. LINK
The new NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream had a Q&A with WWE’s Byron Saxton after capturing his first WWE Title. It was a very quick interview but Velveteen Dream gave the most Velveteen Dream answers possible. LINK
•Latest NXT Podcast – “PWT Talks NXT” PWTorch Livecast
In this episode, Kelly Wells, Tom Stoup, and Justin James cover the call-ups and how they undo the #DIY storyline, a Velveteen Dream-Johnny Gargano main event that woke up the crowd, the function of various championships, and more.
-On Tune In Radio HERE
-On Apple Podcasts HERE
-Or search “PWTorch” or “Pro Wrestling Torch” on your podcast app of choice
•Top NXT Tweets of the Week
Ciampa Tweet of the Week
In 2008 after being released from WWE I packed up and moved to Harley’s to “find myself”.
Harley believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
The King turned a lost boy into The Greatest Sports Entertainer of All Time.
Feels good to be returning a decade later as The Champ. pic.twitter.com/8JKuZKrkYl
— BLACKHEART (@ProjectCiampa) February 17, 2019
I could get used to seeing Johnny three nights a week.
Seriously though.. getting the opportunity to compete on RAW, Smackdown Live and NXT TV in a 3 day span is mind blowing. Wrestling is cool.. life is cool. pic.twitter.com/a8CMQSYgCq
— Johnny Gargano (@JohnnyGargano) February 22, 2019
Fifteen years is a long time to work at anything… Well deserved, sir.
From my first match on October, 11th 2003. Against @mikeybmoc in Brookport Illinois. In front of 20 people. In some guys back yard. In jeans and a baby blue Southpole shirt.
— The One And Only! (@KingRicochet) February 19, 2019
One night and he’s already got the best entrance in WWE.
— Devil's Blood (@WWEAleister) February 19, 2019
•Thoughts and Comments
The WWE main roster product is not going to be truly successful until Vince McMahon relinquishes creative control to Triple H. All reports coming out of Monday Night Raw say that the debut of NXT’s four top stars was a last minute decision and even Triple H himself was left scrambling. How are things like this still OK? Could they maybe think of a better way to introduce four potential main event talents? Vince’s rational and thinking are out of date and out of touch. It’s a complete joke.
Where do these call-ups leave the current NXT product? Is a two-year storyline arc with Ciampa and Gargano just suddenly going to be thrown by the wayside because Vince got paranoid about ratings? Is the main roster just going to put them back in a tag team together? These questions are legitimate, and I’m 99.9% sure Vince has no idea where any of this is headed. That’s a scary thought.
One positive to come out of all this roster reshuffling is the fact that Matt Riddle might be thrust to the forefront of the NXT brand sooner than any of us thought. Riddle, Velveteen Dream, and Adam Cole are the three top tier single talents left standing.
The Dusty Rhodes Tag team Classic is making a comeback after a year off, and I’m hoping they use this tournament as a way to push a new tag team into contention. The Forgotten Sons or The Street Profits would be my choice to win the tourney and challenge War Raiders for the title.
Roderick Strong is awesome. The messiah of the backbreaker has had a great run since his heel turn two years ago. His match with Black on NXT TV this week was a must-watch, hard-hitting bout.
Good video package this week from Bianca Belair. She needs to refocus after her championship loss and get back to the cocky, confident, tweener she’s meant to be.
NOW CHECK OUT OTHER WEEKLY OVERVIEWS HERE.
OR JUMP TO LAST WEEK’S WWE OVERVIEW: WEEKLY OVERVIEW – NXT (thru 2/14): Top stories of week, major show lineups, live event results, schedule of live events, noteworthy social media posts, more