This week has been quite the week for WWE Network subscribers who are fans of yesteryear; not only did Tuesday Night Titans (TNT) get added to the Network, but also a little surprise came on Wednesday as an episode of Prime Time Wrestling was also added! Neither show was added with any fanfare, which is a real shame. Speaking of a lack of fanfare; WWE also quietly added up some new additions to Beyond the Ring; namely the 2014 Paul Heyman documentary, the 2012 “Once in a Lifetime: Rock vs. Cena” doc and the controversial 2010 “Top 50 Superstars” Countdown.
In addition, a new category: “Quick Hits” was added to the Originals section this week. These are short specials which normally air during the live feed on the WWE Network; they range from classic Prime Time Wrestling skits, promos, Blu-Ray Exclusives and even some little features. As the name suggests they are great for those times when you need a quick WWE hit. Again these were all added with little fanfare — notice a theme here?
WWE Network subscribers had another surprise in store this week, they learned that WWE – the sports entertainment company, is still able to still produce ‘pro-wrestling’, except in 2014 it’s called NXT. Wrestling might be a dirty word for the Chairman of the board, however there is no other way to describe NXT’s latest TakeOver event than an “awesome pro-wrestling show”.
After last week’s edition of WWE Network Lowdown was ‘taken over’ to preview the R-Evolution card, we thought it would be cool if we invited everyone back to review their respective TakeOver bouts, so here we go…
Kevin Owens def. CJ Parker
What better way to start NXT’s ‘REvolution’ than with Kevin Owens? While many fans were aware just how Kevin Owens could go, we all feared that he might become a watered down version of his former self within the WWE system…. thankfully, our fears were dispelled within the first few seconds. It was balls to the wall as Owens took the fight straight to Parker with little deviation. This was a rather brutal affair and fact that Owens was busted open only helped with his persona. As far as debuts go, this was a damn impressive outing; this match plus what happened following the main event has me pumped for Thursday’s NXT.
~ Evan McFarlane (@EvanMcFarlane)
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The Lucha Dragons (c) def. The Vaudevillans
The first championship match of the night was between the Lucha Dragons & The Vaudevillains for the NXT Tag Team Championships. It was just the Dragons second title defense in NXT, but with back to back title wins over the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champs of all time, The Lucha Dragons seamed far from unprepared going into title defense number two.
The Full Sail fateful were split between who they wanted to see win this match, with a few more cheers going toward the ‘villainy’ Vaudevillains. After a few flashy moves from Kalisto early in the contest, The Vaudevillains quickly took advantage in the match slowing down Sin Cara and one half of the high flying Lucha Dragons. Sin Cara was able to battle though adversity and make the hot tag to Kalisto. Aiden English would sacrifice himself and take the brunt of a Lucha Dragon over the top rope diving splash to allow Simon Gotch to continue on in the match… but to no avail. Gotch was quickly hit with Kalisto’s ‘Salida Del Sol’ for the Lucha Dragons victory.
~ Taylor Burck (@Taylor_Burck)
Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor def. The Ascension
This match was really good, however I think it will be a match which is remembered for something outside of the match itself… THAT ENTRANCE! Yes, the entrance which popped the world. In his former character Finn Bálor was known for his body paint, fans had speculated whether this would be something which we would actually see used in WWE, the answer… yes, we would, and I haven’t heard anyone who didn’t think it was pretty damn cool.
The match itself was also great, with Bálor and Itami started out hot against the Ascension, before Konnor and Viktor eventually took control of Itami leading to a super hot tag from Bálor allowing the babyfaces to take over once again. The crowd were super into this match (as all the matches), the tease of an Itami GTS almost brought the crowd to the point of orgasm! Again a great match from these four competitors. It looks like The Ascension are bound for the main roster (with the teaser video playing on SmackDown) and they did a great job of raising the stock of Bálor and Itami on their way out the door.
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte (c) def. Sasha Banks
Well, it certainly delivered! In the context of the strength of the matches on show, Charlotte and Banks put on another memorable, technically sound match that stood up to the standard that we’ve come to expect from NXT Women’s Title matches. The match itself featured some pretty cool spots, such as Sasha imitating the Nature Boy’s famous strut, Charlotte’s missing a top rope moonsault, only to hit a standing senton, and of course, the finish. With the crowd chanting ‘this is awesome’ as the backdrop, Charlotte hit a modified version of Natural Selection from the top rope to put away Sasha for the 3-count and retain her title.
~ Alex Worrall (@AnAlexWorrall)
NXT Championship Match
Sami Zayn def. Adrian Neville (c)
Despite several high profile matches, NXT R-Evolution all came down to just one match: the NXT Championship bout (as it should). The match was built thought the entire evening with backstage footage of the champion and challenger preparing for battle. If I said this match didn’t have a big fight fell, I’d by lying.
The crowd was solidly behind Sami, with ‘Olé!’ chants ringing loud throughout the NXT arena, this was a true goose bumps moment (and the bell hadn’t even rang!). When the bell eventually rang we started with a great back and forth between the two competitors, eventually it came down to Sami’s conscious (exactly as the story has been built; which was perfect) and would Sami take a shortcut to the title…? Of course not, eventually good always wins. The emotionally story between these two allowed an incredible story to unfold before our eyes.
The match itself was given lots of time; almost the entire second half of the show, but it certainly didn’t feel like that. If you haven’t watched this match, you need to!! It’s a real shame that the Slammy Awards were last week, because without a doubt this was a match of year candidate. The post match was also awesome, reminding me of an old school title wins, where all the babyfaces would come out to celebrate with the new champion. Plus, the shocking post celebration angle setup the next chapter of the story — bring on Thursday night!!!
~ Joe Phyall (@JJPhyall)
If you didn’t catch the show this week on the WWE Network, you REALLY should! Also fans in the UK without the Network, see ‘R-Evolution’ on Sky Sports 3, tonight at 11pm.
On the heels of the awesome NXT show, the next big show is tomorrow nights sixth annual “Tables, Ladders, Chairs… and Stairs” PPV, live from Cleveland, Ohio. (TLC, you have an incredibly tough act to follow!)
As a way to promote the PPV this week aired a special: “Demolition Derby: The Best of TLC”. This 30 minute show aired immediately following RAW on Monday and was voiced over by WWE Hall of Famer (and the man behind the creation of the TLC): Mick Foley. The special featured video packages of some of the most famous TLC matches from WWE past; from the inaugural match at SummerSlam 2000, right through to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Unification Match at last year’s show. Similar to the Survivor Series Countdown Special last month, this show won’t ever set the world on fire, however it’s certainly a nice watch to get you a little more hyped for the PPV.
WWE TLC gets underway at 7:30pm EST with the Kickoff show, before leading into the PPV itself. Currently scheduled to air immediately afterwards is a ‘Fallout’ show; however those of you who watched the past two events on the WWE Network will have noticed that both times the Fallout show was pulled… maybe it will be third time is a charm for Fallout?
TLC is a show that again usually doesn’t get much fanfare, however it generally provides us with at least one or two kick ass matches. So here in WWE Network Lowdown we’ve decided to give TLC some ‘tender loving care’, as Daniel and I (Mark) will give you our picks for who will win each of the advertised bouts.
The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Gold & Stardust
Daniel: It might be a “New Day” but the old formula is still in effect – the new guys (well, kind of new) on the push will get the victory. The New Day takes it.
Mark: I think I’ll have to agree with Daniel here, if the New Day doesn’t get a big win here, it will be a bit of a head scratcher.
United States Championship Match
Rusev vs. Jack Swagger
Daniel: Rusev won’t be beat anytime soon and certainly not in a rehashed feud with Swagger, now with a belt on the line to boot.
Mark: While Swagger has been on the rise lately, I have to think Rusev will ‘CRUSH’ Swaggs here; however this one has potential to be a solid kick-ass match.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs. The Usos
Daniel: It’s all about Mizdow right now. I can’t say I’m raving about the gimmick as much as I see everybody else is, but it has some legs to it, is probably one of the best things on the shows right now and they’ll surely ride that momentum for a while yet.
Mark: It’s a little too soon to split up or even tease distension between Miz and Mizdow. Mizdow is OVER, so I think those guys will retain the tag titles at the PPV. I think there’s a pretty good chance that we see some comedy with Miz, Mizdow and the Usos.
Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee
Daniel: I think AJ Lee would be a “punk” to think she’s winning the gold right now. At least she has her Slammy to talk to.
Mark: If the rumors are to be believed, AJ could very well be finishing up in WWE soon, for that reason, I could see WWE take that opportunity to surprise everyone with a title switch. I’m backing AJ.
Steel Stairs Match
Erick Rowan vs. Big Show
Daniel: I have the feeling Big Show takes this one, if only to give some merit to his seemingly pointless heel turn.
Mark: Again, I’m going to disagree here. I think that Rowan is on a roll and ensure he makes it to the next level, I think he has to convincing beat Big Show in this first ‘Stairs Match’.
Ryback vs. Kane
Daniel: Steel Stairs Match… Chairs Match, these gimmicks aren’t filling me with a lot of excitement. If it’s TLC (or TLCS) then just stick to TLC(S) and let ’em go at it! Anyway, I was meant to be making a prediction… Ryback.
Mark: Just like The Big Show, how many times can we see Kane repackaged? Ryback has to get the ‘W’ in this one. I think we might just need to see Kane disappear for a while, so why not have the “Big Guy” take him out?
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler
Daniel: This sounds like it could be a great match just reading it above. When it’s all over I don’t see the other “Wyatt Brother” also being on the losing end at TLC, despite Dolph’s best efforts and crowd support.
Mark: This is the match that I am most looking forward to. Ziggles is on a real hot streak at the moment, it’s a shame he isn’t being trumpeted as ‘the savior of WWE’ following his win for Team Cena at Survivor Series however. I feel that in order to ride the wave, Ziggler has to climb the ladder to a win in Cleveland.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
(If Cena loses he will no longer be #1 Contender)
Daniel: Spoiler: John Cena wins.
Mark: The stipulation here has hurt this match for me. Had it been a Tables Match without the stip, I might have put my money in the Bank of Rollins, however I feel the architect will need to return to the drawing board because I see him crashing though a table.
Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Daniel: I’ll say another win for a “Wyatt Brother”. Come on Big Red, you’re letting the family down. I didn’t see a break up so you’re still a family to me.
Mark: This one is a tough one; I could see it going either way. However if I’ve got to pick one, to be contrary, I’m backing Dean Ambrose.
Those are our picks, now what about yours…? Share your thoughts on who you think will win at TLC in the comments below.
Tables, Ladders, Chairs and Canes Match for the ECW Championship
Steve Corino vs. The Sandman vs. Justin Credible
ECW Guilty as Charged • January 7, 2001
Tonight won’t be the first time that TLC, has been joined by another ‘toy’. The final ECW PPV – Guilty as Charged 2001 saw the addition of Singapore Canes, while this match didn’t come close to matching the standards of WWE’s TLC 2 just a couple of months later, it did provide a memorable bout for the final ECW PPV. If you haven’t seen the match before, stick around after it concludes for a little more action.
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