In a surprise turn of events, NXT is going to have to pull out all the stops to measure up to the TLC PPV; that being said, we have no doubts that our fave wrestlers are going to deliver quality entertainment. This makes it harder to tease since there’s not a match on the card we’re not interested in.
Let’s take a look at what we have in store and our thoughts on how it’ll pan out:
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin
Baron is surprisingly forgettable, despite the potential his character holds. This will be an interesting chance for Apollo Crews, actual ray of sunshine, to bring some excellent talent to an otherwise mediocre match.
We’ve had the joy of seeing Apollo crews climb through the roster pretty quickly, and can’t wait for what’s to come from him next… hopefully next time it will be against a more worthy adversary. Nothing can really stand in his way with the exception of Asuka and Joe, who we will see later tonight, but maybe the three of them will team up and do a little dance in the centre of the ring catching us all by surprise.
*Surprise twist: Apollo lifts Baron’s motorcycle and crushes him with it, but since Apollo shines bright like the moon he actually helps Baron to transform into a werewolf. Sadly, no one is packing and silver bullets, so it’s time to call up to our main roster comic book characters to help this story unfold.
Asuka vs. Emma
There is going to be some obvious interference on Emma’s behalf here, since that’s what’s been pushed over and over again, but it’s working. Asuka is our clear standout in what will be a brilliant match of submissions.
*What can’t happen under any circumstances: In an effort to continue turn the tables on Asuka mocking them, Emma comes out in a kimono and Asuka’s mask. Thankfully, this won’t happen, but we don’t rule anything out in the WWE Universe.
Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
It’s about time the realest guys in the room took home the tag championship since they’ve already turned our hearts SAWFT. The boys have recent pulled away from their comedy stylings as revenge for Colin’s knee injury, and it’ll be a feat of victory if they steal the titles and continue this aggressive streak they’ve started.
*You can’t teach that: What is “How to retain a tag belt in NXT for any substantial period of time?”
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Bayley has hugged us all, but she can’t hold that belt forever, and it only seems obvious that Nia continues her undefeated streak and snatches the title from Bayley. It can honestly go either way for a multitude reasons, and it’ll be a treat no matter the outcome.
*Next level staring contest: The match has the potential to turn into a battle of who can hug the other for the longest, and the entire universe takes a nap and falls more in love with one another going forward.
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe
Do we dare predict that all three titles switch hands tonight? Why not go for broke and continue the upset. Balor and Joe have had an interesting story ever since Joe came on the scene, from tag team partners, to a blow of disrespect, to sworn enemies, it’s nice to see characters develop and evolve over time.
*Montreal screw job gains a newer, happier meaning: Sami Zayn returns and blindsides both of them taking the title for himself and reigns over NXT before summoning Kevin Owens to come back down and prove himself once more.
Wrestling audiences are living in a blessed time, particularly on Wednesday nights when we’ve been spoiled for choice thanks to NXT, Ring of Honor and the most strikingly different TV product so far, Lucha Underground. Created by TV mogul Mark Burnett and film director Robert Rodriguez for the El Ray Network, Lucha Underground boasts a unique look and style and an impressive roster that includes familiar names such as Johnny Mundo (formerly Johnny Morrison) and Alberto El Patron (better known as Alberto Del Rio) and many from standout Mexican company Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). Combining striking visuals, excellent wrestling and storytelling, Lucha Underground is one of the most exciting weekly wrestling series I’ve enjoyed since becoming a wrestling fan.
So what is it about Lucha Underground that has gotten so many rave reviews and dedicated fans,
like me, on the edge of our seats over the announcement of a second season? Other companies and channels have tried to create weekly wrestling shows. I remember MTV’s Wrestling Society X, which had a talented roster but tried so obviously hard to appeal and fell short. LU provides the familiar, heart-stopping standout action for TV trailers – Angelico leaping off of the roof of the boss’ office onto wrestlers below in the ring – and recognizable characters – the paid thugs, the woman fighting the odds, the bitch who orders her boyfriend around, and more. There are familiar moments glimpsed throughout: Chavo Guerrero can never be trusted, and the boss Dario Cueto is self-serving to the max. So far, so familiar, but this promotion is truly a cut above in terms of storytelling. Settling quite nicely into one of the best comparisons that pro wrestling is akin to a soap opera, we are gifted with vignettes that are recorded on film to mimic the aesthetic of a movie, and there is a plethora of backstory where the kayfabe of contracts and illicit shady dealings are made visible directly to the viewer. What a way to have the fate of a character decided! It’s refreshing to be subjected to promos that serve the same clear purpose as the matches and tell one entertaining, cohesive story.
One thing we truly appreciate is LU hasn’t fallen into the trap where you see the exact same characters week in and week out acting out the feud you got bored of a few weeks back. Instead, stories and characters are able to breathe and just when you think someone has fallen off the radar, their string is pulled and they’ve returned to develop a new twist.
They’ve also got the magic of the craft down pat with the inclusion of supernatural storylines such as Drago: a dragon reborn as a man and Catrina who raises her powerful charge, Mil Muertes, from the dead. It’s wonderful to see the out of the ordinary be played straight while still maintaining some of the camp and humour that makes professional wrestling such a well rounded art form we have all grown to love. That contrast, the release of pressure, is definitely needed to carry the show – a fact that the producers seem sharply aware of.
A promotion that is for everyone, but definitely is aware of it’s mature audience in terms of it’s pacing and tone. They utilize this both to captivate the viewers in the crowd, as well as at home. This is a stark reminder that you don’t need to go full “shock” in order to keep anyone over the age of 9 invested. It is possible to make a wrestling product that’s great for all, and it seems that El Rey has their eye on the prize – so much so that there were even whispers of them being in talks for Emmy nominations this past year.
With the recent announcement of a new season being released on January 27th, 2016, it’s safe to say that wrestling fans are eagerly awaiting a follow up to the finale from season one, Ultimate Lucha, which drew to a close with Dario Cueto fleeing the arena. Will the next season be staged somewhere else entirely and abandon the set which has become so much a part of Lucha Underground’s image and success? That would be both a gamble and brave move, a feat well worth the payoff. So fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief that the spray painted question mark was only asking us what’s to come next, not will we ever see you again.
Check out the trailer for season two, and tune in to the El Rey network for more lucha action.
Going into this weekend’s final PPV of the year for WWE we are met with the realization that TLC 2015 is completely unrecognizable from something in the Invasion angle. All guffaws aside, we put our minds and feminine wiles together to bring you a very accurate, and somewhat irreverent prediction of what is going to go down this Sunday night on the WWE Network. We aren’t emotionally invested, but some of us did shell out $9.99 for it, so here we go.
At the 2015 season finale, Chikara’s new Grand Champion showed that gender has nothing to do with who is the best wrestler in the company. After the gruelling Challenge of the Immortals tournament final bout against the Wrecking Crew (Devastation Corporation and Jaka), Princess Kimber Lee’s team, Crown and Court (The Princess, Gentleman Jervis Cottonbelly and Los Icecreams) won 3 points to use at any time to earn their chance at immortality AKA title shots.
Following the title bout, in which, then champion, Hallowicked successfully defended his title against former champions Eddie Kingston and Icarus, Princess Kimber Lee exchanged her three points for an immediate title match. The reaction of the crowd was defeaning in its positive exclamations. Hallowicked was not a well liked champion and Kimber Lee’s never say die attitude and technical prowess instantly wins her cheers every where she wrestles. Perhaps showing immortality on her part, the challenger repeatedly kicked out of the most devastating attacked the champion could muster. Using the nearly unbreakable Chikara special submission hold, Kimber Lee found victory via tap out.
The year end season finale show of 2014 saw its first Young Lions Cup winner go to its first woman, Heidi Lovelace. One year later, Princess Kimber Lee is their first woman Grand Champion. These strides are so important to see some more diversity in wrestling and get us out of this horrendous rut we’ve been stuck in for quite some time.
***Big congrats to Kimber Lee, and we will have an exclusive interview with her soon.