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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2018

    Senior (NXT) Superlatives: Most Likely To Succeed

    Hello everyone! I'm back(ish). I'm probably as back as SkittleZ ever is- which is to say I'm around for a bit until I get bored of wrestling again. Something happened in the past few years to my fandom, I just don't feel the magic for pro wrestling like I used to. It has become nigh impossible to rest my fandom in the past, as light is increasingly spread on the darker sides of the sport- legends showing their humanity via past/current indiscretions, and or just flat out dropping dead. Even the decent guys, like Harley Race, are dropping like flies, which sometimes makes it hard to watch old matches, as you realize most, if not all the participants are no longer with us. Pretty sobering.

    Add in my current complete annoyance at companies like WWE, who just ignore fan sentiment unless it serves them. I'm down to watching about 40 minutes of main roster programming per month- literally just skimming through the PPVs, hoping the guys and girls I genuinely love get the pushes they deserve, and mostly am left feeling very disappointed. Like hearing the IIconics lost their titles to Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross this week on RAW. A tag team that needs constant creative effort to make semi passable, winning belts off a team of ladies who are just charisma personified, with practically zero creative effort needed (nor given!). Or watching guys like Otis from Heavy Machinery not be pushed to the moon, despite being so electric that it is outrageous! Or watching Braun Strowman be mishandled so badly that his fan love is now dying… I should be used to WWE fumbling like this, and I kind of am, hence why I only watch their main roster programming so little these days.

    I haven't checked out NJPW, because I've heard that they have kind of been in a rut, and I haven't heard many good things about AEW, despite the buzz over a new fed trying to compete with the faceless monster. Not to mention, money has been tight, so subscribing to new networks simply isn't manageable at the moment for me. Which leaves me with my WWE Network subscription. I don't want to relive the past much these days, and I am the exact opposite of enthralled by the present, which inevitably led me to the future. So when my itch to watch wrestling resurfaced, naturally, it led me to NXT. And I've been watching every bit of their programming for a little over 2 months now- starting at around the week before Takeover XXV. And you know what? For the most part, I've been enjoying it.

    The funny thing is, it hasn't been great- granted the wrestling is typically always good to great, but the storylines are either non-existent, or weak at best. And yet, I have enjoyed the change in focus and pace. Each fed has their own production that creates its own atmosphere, and that NXT atmosphere, paired with the quality wrestling has been an enjoyable reprieve for me. I have developed opinions on most of the talent, and at times it doesn't coincide with the catchy chant culture NXT is now famous for. A culture that honestly cannot be trusted when it comes to the main roster. These fans are no talent scouts (Tye Dillinger ring a bell??), and at times, the lack of honest constructive criticism has sent multiple lambs up to the main roster slaughter.

    So I decided to do a little NXT series of columns starting with this one. Like in high school, some Senior Superlatives. Today's being the coveted "Most Likely To Succeed" category. I'm not gonna bullshit you, or the talent here. I am gonna tell you like I see it. I want to give you my opinion on both the top guy and girl on the current NXT roster that I believe will actually translate successfully to the WWE main roster. So let's get to it!

    Woman Most Likely To Succeed:
    Shayna Baszler

    Ohhhh snap! I bet a lot of you thought this was easily going to be IO Shirai, or Bianca Belaire- whoops! Here's the thing, WWE has pretty much completely fucked up every single Asian talent on their main roster ever- I'm borderline convinced that they will never get it right. So even though IO is an absolutely superb in ring talent, I know in my heart she will amount to absolutely nothing on the main roster, creative will simply ruin her. I still can't stop laughing hysterically every time Kairi Sane comes on my screen. A happy go lucky pirate filled with sunshine and rainbows… who in their right mind in creative gave that shite the thumbs up?!? But because the chant culture in NXT cheered her so loudly, they ran with that absolute rubbish. Watch her never have a run of any importance up top, much like IO. And as for Bianca? She is pretty, she is built like a brick shit house, she has a decent gimmick, especially with the hair, is a learning but decent in-ring talent, and is one of the strongest WWE talent, regardless of gender, in the entire company. She has a ton of upside, and could absolutely become a success on the main roster if creative doesn't turn her into a bland baby, but they will. And even if they don't, I don't see her, or any other woman's ceiling being anywhere near as high as Shayna's.

    Here's the thing about Shayna- she is still fairly green in the ring, but her experience in MMA, mixed with her being an absolute complete natural at ring psychology, paired with her imposing build and persona is an almost guarantee that she will have an awesome heel run up top. It writes itself, she comes up as the bully she is, and has a solid initial run until someone finally takes her down a peg. Even then, I think Shayna could be a mainstay as a top 2-3 female heel, hovering around the World Titles regularly. The girl simply rules at heel match psychology. Watch her play dirty with a smile, as she twists fingers, steps on digits, and limbs, keeps illegal holds on for just long enough to not get disqualified, but still inflict copious amounts of damage to her opponents. Hear her shit talk her opponents while she dominates them. Watch her play it up to the crowds- the woman has an awesome, charismatic asshole presence. I see her having multiple Women's World Title runs, and probably even at least one tag title run. Shayna is the dominant heel the main roster needs right now to take some of the pressure off Charlotte Flair having to do it all. No doubt in my mind that Shayna will translate beautifully up top.

    Man Most Likely To Succeed:
    Adam Cole

    Bay-bay! There are a fair few who still do not like this man, kind of like the beginnings of the man he most mirrors in my opinion, Shawn Michaels. He's got the million dollar looks, the charisma, and the in-ring talent. He's cocky, arrogant, and not just NXT crowds, but all crowds go absolutely insane for him. His crowd reactions are deafening, because he has that intangible "IT" factor. I would be surprised if Adam didn't win a staggering amount of titles while on the main roster. I could see him winning every title at one point or another in his main roster career- think Miz or Kofi levels of gold, and the ability to adapt to any spot on the card. The guy simply has it, and fans should get used to him, because he is going to be wildly popular on the main roster for years to come. He is Vince's wet dream- the second coming of HBK.

    But, but where does that leave internet darling, Johnny Gargano? Sorry folks, Johnny is never going to amount to much up top. He is a spot fest machine, can put on a great match on every PPV, but he has practically zero charisma. He kind of makes Dean Malenko look like Ric Flair in comparison personality wise- which is to say if you thought Alberto Del Rio was a black hole of charisma, hold rebel heart's mocha chai latte. I do like the guy, but he just doesn't have the flash needed to retain the average main roster fan's attention. Sorry *shrugs*.

    Bonus time! Let's pick a tag team, though if you watch any WWE programming, this is painfully anti climactic...

    Tag Team Most Likely To Succeed:
    Street Profits

    Holy hell, can you tell WWE is pushing these guys? I still read main roster results, and I think the Street Profits have had at least 1 segment on every single piece of main roster content, including their PPV's, over the course of the last 2 or so months. Keep in mind they are the NXT tag champs currently! WWE is absolutely desperate to shove these guys down your throat! It feels like the Uso's are gonna retire soon, so WWE is trying to line up the next marketable team to hover around the tag title scene for the next decade.

    The thing is, they are decent to great in the ring, but only marginal in terms of charisma (they miss more than hit imo). You still can't go against who WWE wants, and they very obviously want the Street Profits to be their next top team. If they split them up it would spell doom for both men in my opinion, but as a team they could spend years winning the tag titles, mostly place holding, transitional faire. Still though, an awesome gig (just ask Jimmy and Jey!), and a big success overall.

    If you expected Lorcan and Burch, shave that neck beard, and get some sunlight! I've had bowel movements with far more personality!

    And that wraps up this edition of Senior Superlatives! What do you think? Agree, disagree, have others in mind? Let's hear it in the comments! Until then, thanks for stopping in, and hopefully I'll see you next time.
    Last edited by Kleckamania; 08-07-2019 at 02:18 AM.

  2. #2
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    WWE has pretty much completely fucked up every single Asian talent on their main roster ever
    What about Yokozuna?

    ....oh, yeah.

    Back when I did a column about Takeover 25, I said this about the Street Profits:
    These guys have a good marketable look (albeit not one that’s marketed to my tastes), matching but not identical outfits, initial impression is that they’re exactly what a tag team should be.
    I guess I agree with you on that one. WWE obviously sees them as marketable, and that's more important than talent to Vince's wallet.

    I said this about Baszler:
    She looks more like a wrestler than Rousey ever did. They appear to be building this girl up properly as she can obviously put on a decent match that isn’t full of the botches Rousey matches were.
    If she keeps going as she is, I'd go further than you and say she has the potential to be the No. 1 heel, without playing second fiddle to anyone. I'm only basing that on a single match though.

    I didn't really focus much on Adam Cole, although I liked the look of his faction. The match he had was good, but was a victim of too many kick outs and false finishes which totally ruined it. Agreed about Gargano though, this was my main thought on him:
    just another bland babyface
    Without the Ciampa feud, he's got nothing. Spot Fest machine is about right. Maybe with a different opponent I'd have seen more potential in Adam Cole.

    As is often the case with columns like this, the "Most likely to fail" version is likely to be the more entertaining. You always have more to say when you're complaining about something....

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Hey Dynamite! Thanks for feeding! I will do a least likely to succeed this month. I'm gonna do all NXT columns this month I think, as Takeover inspired a few columns ideas for me, but the Superlatives will be back!

    I encourage you to check out some of Shayna's matches. I recommend her cage match with IO Shirai, her feud with Kairi Sane, Ember Moon. She is so good playing the dominant heel. WWE need to get her up to the main roster, they need a good woman heel like her up there atm.

    You also might be pleasantly surprised by Adam Cole if you give him a shot. He is a deceptively good wrestler.

    Thanks for the response man. Im gonna look to feed your newest column soon. I was trying to catch up on tourney columns and it is a shame you didnt make it through, you really are very good at writing columns. Keep your head up bud.

  4. #4
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Kleck! Great to have you back around mate. Sorry I missed this column.

    Intetrsting how you mention the 'NXT chant culture' as you called it. I really think results with someone like Kari Sane show what you can do if you ha e the good faith of the audience. People go to NXT and watch it with the intention of enjoying it, with the intention of being absorbed by it so I think they win half the battle there whereas many (including myself a lot at the moment) find it hard not to engage with the main roster in a guarded of not outright hostile fashion.

    As for your picks I really like them. Basler in particular is incredibly engaging, what they wanted Ronda to be when she was still kicking around.

    I must admit I don't see it with Adam Cole but one guy you left off that I think has IT in spades is Pete Dunne. Guys just gives off an aura of menace and can back it up in the ring with hsi feral style.

  5. #5
    Mediocrity at it's finest kingzak13's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Great to have you around again Kleck.

    Completely agree with you about Shayna, She has that top heel vibe to her and if anyone from NXT is gonna do well on the main roster, it is her.

    I doubt any of the tag teams are gonna end up really successful right now, NXT is on a bit of down swing on tag teams right now if you ask me. UE are great but they've faced everyone already. I'm excited for Breeze and Fandango joining the division, that could be a lot of fun and finally see them get a title.

    I think you are underselling Gargano a bit, he definitely isn't the most charismatic, but then again fans said the same about Daniel Bryan when he first came up to the main roster, time can change a lot of things. Though much like Baszler, Cole is definitely in for a good run on the main roster, so I don't disagree with your assessment there.

  6. #6
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Kleck!! Always a pleasure to have you around.

    I'm all about that praise for Baszler, I hear some are sick of her title reign in NXT but I think she's got loads of talent and huge upside. I will say I hope you're underestimating Kairi Sane, I think there's something extremely likeable about her that will win people over. Your analysis that WWE is seemingly incapable of pushing Asian talent effectively is, however, spot on...

    I just can't get into it with Adam Cole, he sets my teeth grinding whenever I see him, but at the same time I think you're probably right that he'll have a lot of success on the main roster. More than Gargano, I'd wager!

    I can't speak on the Street Profits since I'm not too familiar with them, but I wish them only good things!

    Always love it when you come around, mate!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    May 2018
    TY for the feedback, guys! I wanted to start by saying that all that Shayna love warmed my heart. I admit to being a bit of a Shayna mark at this point, it's nice to see other fans enjoying her work!

    Sam- I have been a fan of Pete, but that Triple Threat match at Takeover left a bitter taste in my mouth. I feel like he phoned it in a bit. Either that or they did not have adequate enough time to practice it, paired with bad chemistry. Something was off, and moments in the match made me think it was Pete.

    As for Adam Cole, I'd be interested in knowing what casual fans think of him. It feels like anyone who knows his professional history prior to WWE doesn't like him, but crowds go outright insane for the guy. I tend to think he has a universal appeal that only slightly fails to connect with the more avid fan.

    Zak- you might be right on Johnny. Something just seems to miss with him. He just seems like he hasn't truly discovered what he wants to be in terms of persona. Idk. Cocky, humble face just seems too spread out, creating a blandness. He's a really good wrestler in ring, I just see the main roster abusing the poor guy.

    Miz- I'm kind of taken aback by the online fan backlash towards Baszler, honestly. I think a lot of fans just don't want or appreciate old school wrestling. Submissions and long holds are just too much of a contrast to the constant big spots in matches in the current gen... the big move saturation seems to have taken the wind out of slow builds. I sound like an angry old man lol.

    Also, when I thought of how WWE has butchered pretty much all Asian talent, I briefly thought of you, because it made me think of Tajiri. I will say WWE did give him some shine- he probably has been the most successful of the lot, but even then they still botched him multiple times. He was an awesome World Champ in ECW, a true threat minus that disgraceful Taz PPV squash. WWE never elevated him to the World Title picture. He lingered in the mid card. He was capable of more.

    Thanks guys!

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