WWE NXT 2017 Year In Review - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE NXT 2017 Year In Review - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Wes Keefer, Ben Guest and Jordan Chaffiotte will be giving their thoughts on the current state of WWE NXT as 2018 rapidly approaches!

This week, we're switching up the format a little bit. I, Robert, have turned over my usual spot to my three talented colleagues who I feel have a lot more to say about WWE NXT. Enjoy this fun discussion, I will jump in again next week when we preview WWE Clash of Champions 2017.

Question 1: Who do you think was the stand out star of the NXT brand in 2017?

KEEFER: Many would say Asuka and it is hard to argue against that. I'm going to anyway. Asuka WAS the breakout star for NXT but I feel that someone who is a breakout standout and still a part of NXT is better deserving. Adam Cole is a deserving candidate but is still fresh on the scene. Cien is champion but a lackluster one so far. Many of the women such as Ember Moon or Nikki Cross are fitting as well. Aleister Black is my choice here and he will continue being a standout for NXT. He puts forth quality matches and promos and is also currently bringing out the best in Velveteen Dream.

GUEST: It HAS to be Asuka right? I feel like she has been the biggest constant in the brand and has perhaps been the best performer in WWE, let alone NXT. Another special mention should go to The Authors of Pain who have been just as prevalent in an exceptional tag division, but Asuka has, at times, had very little to work with, and still been the main event.

CHAFFIOTTE: Although Adam Cole made quite possibly the largest splash of 2017, I believe that the slow and steady rise of Aleister Black has been a major backbone to NXT. He's had a few, yet truly impactful feuds this year. It's filled the space that would be occupied by a midcard belt if NXT were to have one. Everything he does feels more important than your typical grudge match. His presentation alone feels special and his technical abilities are out of this world.

To top it off, he had easily one of the best matches of the year opposite Velveteen Dream. It was clear he has a ton of respect for the young Patrick Clark and that the two had chemistry from the beginning. Together they found a way to tell a story that felt authentic - like if wrestlers were real and this is how they really solved their problems, this is how it would unfold. It tore the house down and eclipsed matches booked higher up on the same card. That's no easy task, but Black seems to do it constantly.

Question 2: What major signing do you foresee NXT making in 2018?

KEEFER: It would be a dream come true if The Young Bucks were in a WWE ring next year, but it is just a fantasy for now. Any of the women from the Mae Young Classic could be signed as well. Whoever it is, hopefully, it is a better signing than the dud we got from Lio "No Sell" Rush. The person I think would be a huge steal would be James Storm. Back when TNA was more relevant, Beer Money was a favorite of mine. Roode and Storm were the bar for the tag team division. Roode has since jumped to WWE and is doing wonderfully. James Storm could also have good fortune at WWE and a possible Beer Money reunion is a plus.

CHAFFIOTTE: - I look to the Mae Young Classic for this one, there are plenty of unsigned competitors who impressed at the classic. The first and most obvious is my girl Candice LeRae, but after hearing from Joey Ryan how it would slash his salary in ⅓ to give up the indies, and knowing her love of intergender wrestling, I have doubts. Perhaps the ability to work side by side with Johnny Gargano and some of the best female talents in the world will convince her, but that's no sure thing. Tessa Blanchard put on one of the best matches of the tournament in the first round, an accomplishment in its own. She's still working the indie circuit but could make a big debut as a fully signed talent soon. I'd also keep my eyes on Dakota Kai, who seriously impressed against a slew of stars. Plus, she and Finn Balor can have a Coup De Grace off.

GUEST: I'm so tempted to say Kenny Omega… I'm not sure he will though. I'm not a big surveyor of the indie scene, and I don't think any of the major names (Omega, Kazuchika Okada or The Young Bucks) will be coming to WWE next year. Perhaps an old name from Japan like Tetsuya Naito or Hiroshi Tanahashi could make a splash. Other than that, I think the best bet is that Ronda Rousey is deemed not clean enough in the ring to make it to the main roster.

Question 3: What was your favorite match from the NXT brand this year?

CHAFFIOTTE: Seeing Ember Moon vs. Asuka at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III was a really special moment. That match impressed even despite the crowd (including myself) being a tad lukewarm on it going in. It'll hold a place in my heart for a while. The aforementioned Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream was probably my absolute favorite, though it has some recency advantage since it happened just a few weeks ago. Looking back just a little further, let's not forget the match that Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne put on. Though technically not fully inside the NXT Universe- if you will- it counts seeing as it was literally on the show. I wasn't really hot on Dunne back in the UK Tournament, honestly his presence on my screen alone made my skin crawl. Somehow, he transitioned from American Psycho to Rock Star in my head and a fair amount of that was just from his work. Dunne is just wildly talented. He knows how to tell a story with a glance and his offense is uniquely visceral. Tyler Bate plays the perfect foil to Dunne's overt insanity, and the fact that the two are great friends in real life just adds to the show for me. Maybe next time they can fight in each other's clothes.

GUEST: Looking back at the TakeOver cards, it's really difficult to not give The Authors of Pain stand out stars, but any of their 5 TakeOver matches could get this, my personal favorite was the WarGames match, for the sheer insanity, inventiveness, and non-stop action. But Nakamura vs Roode (any of them), Moon vs Sane vs Cross vs Royce or any of the Tag Team Championship matches are well worth re-watching.

KEEFER: The women of NXT have dominated and rightfully so. Any of Asuka's matches are worthy of getting the award, and one does. Asuka defended her belt against Nikki Cross in a Last "Woman" Standing match and it was violent. It a good way. For twenty minutes both women beat the living hell out of each other and used all sorts of weapons.

So I'm not anticipating any foundation-shaking stories to develop before 2018 arrives, but will eternally live in the hope that they exceed my expectations.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.


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