State of WWE NXT February 2018 - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

State of WWE NXT February 2018 - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Thursday, February 8, 2018
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, Robert DeFelice, Jordan Chaffiotte, and Jonathan Maldonado will discuss the state of the NXT Brand as of February 2018!

Everybody loves NXT! Its high octane action and intimate setting make even the most jaded of wrestling fans as hyped as can be. With another stellar TakeOver in the books, what lay ahead for the yellow-rope rebels? Let's discuss...

Question 1: How do you feel about The Undisputed ERA's run so far in NXT?

MALDONADO: I'm all in on The Undisputed Era. I loved them in the WarGames match and love their swagger and that sweet, sweet intro music. Adam Cole has been on fire in his matches with Aleister Black while Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish have been entertaining as the NXT Tag Champs. I will admit their opener against AOP at TakeOver left a lot to be desired, but I only see the upside for them. The trio should go on a dominating run in the near future, with Cole nabbing the NXT belt and establishing UE as the preeminent faction in NXT. The crowd eats up the "Adam Cole BAY-BAY!" chant as much as any other in all of WWE. With him entering the Rumble, I think WWE and Triple H have big plans for him.

CHAFFIOTTE: I'm kind of...bored honestly. There's just nothing capturing my attention right now. Their matches have been good, but I found O'Reilly and Fish's encounter with AOP at Takeover to be the single least memorable on the card. Adam Cole's a great front man but he hasn't made me care about them yet. His match with Aleister Black was fantastic and a few more story-based feud might do him well. As someone who has only a fundamental knowledge of Ring of Honor, I don't feel like I understand their characters, what they want or why. That's a serious problem, we can't rely on the past, especially if we're not going to talk about it anyway. They need fewer championships and more stories.

DeFELICE: In a word, disappointed. I'm a huge fan of Adam Cole and I think that he can be one of the biggest stars in this generation but his run in NXT has really been less than stellar. As for the tandem of Fish and Kyle O'Reilly, they have been on fire as a team, but I still feel like there's not much of an aura of excitement surrounding this triad of ROH all-stars. My hope for them is that they begin to dominate NXT and pave the way for a huge main roster debut and inevitable feud with a probably third time reunited Shield. I'm dreaming over here, but I really hope that they pick up steam soon because they're too good to pass up.

Question 2: Is Andrade "Cien" Almas a great NXT Champion or a placeholder for a real Superstar?

CHAFFIOTTE: Zelina Vega is the greatest NXT championship in history. What's that? Almas? Yeah, he's pretty alright too. I'll be honest, when the finish of that showstopper at TakeOver came, I was confused. Why give Gargano another loss? What now? But, it's been pointed out to me that what it did, beyond giving Candice LeRae one hell of a new signee debut, was cement Almas as a credible champion. There's no denying the effect of Vega on his character, which I would love for them to explore more, but he won that match while she was busy getting her hair pulled out. He did need to prove that he was capable without her direct interference, even if it's her strategy that is the driving force in his matches. He did just that and now he can really be pushed as the face of the brand. Maybe this feud with Gargano will open up new opportunities for them, live show footage shows Vega and Almas tag teaming against Gargano and LeRae, which hopefully will be canon soon. I've always believed that the most important thing a champion does is defend the championship. The second is all the other stuff. This falls into that second category, and it helps Almas as a character and as a performer to be involved in stories beyond people taking a shot at his championship. We've got a lot more to go with Almas, and I'm looking forward to it.

DeFELICE: Jordan will fly that flag for Ms. Vega until death. I feel bad for Cien, he gets a lot of undeserved flack from people for taking a backseat to Vega. His match with Gargano in Philadelphia was an absolute barn-burner! It takes two to tango, and Johnny Wrestling didn't dance alone. Almas will make a damn fine Intercontinental Champion, and they better not ever split him and Zalina, because they're a match made in heaven. I think Almas will lose to Black in New Orleans and have himself a nice run (hopefully) on the blue brand.

MALDONADO: It'll be too bad if Almas' defense against Johnny Gargano is a one time show for the champ. He's proven he's amazing in-ring, but the story around him continues to be focused on Zelina Vega's amazing run as his manager. She's a great mouthpiece much the same way Paul Heyman is for Brock Lesnar, and I don't think the pair should ever be broken up because she's so much fun. I want Almas to defend the title more and in that fashion to open up the opportunities for him on the main roster. His Rumble showing was more than solid so I expect his stock to continue to rise.

Question 3: Fantasy book a match that you'd like to see at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4. Why do you want to see this match?

DeFELICE: Hmmm... Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship in a two out of three falls match. Revisit the feud of the year in 2017 through this epic match. Top it all off with a victory for The Velveteen Dream and oh boy will Brooklyn go crazy. Velveteen is a very hot act right now and I think he can definitely be Champion especially with the recent edition of Andrade Almas as champion. Another match I would like to see would be Aleister Black versus Adam Cole or Aleister Black vs Pete Dunne title for title.

Aleister was the man to beat in 2017 and he really had a lot of memorable feuds. I think that spotlighting him going into the mega show and Brooklyn is the right way to go.

MALDONADO: Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole vs. Pete Dunne in a fatal four way to play off the IV would be a match made in NXT heaven. So many styles, so many amazing characters who can all go in a ring. I could imagine any combination of these going one on one. With three of these guys already in the mix on NXT regularly, it just takes bringing Dunne over the pond for a permanent run. I can see a storyline with these four who are all on a meteoric rise staking a claim for the main event on NXT's biggest show of the year. One of these dudes has to win the NXT championship beforehand, so that'll naturally flow into the match. Hopefully, it's black who takes the title at NXT New Orleans. I think it's high-time we get an awesome multi-man match for the title and these are the four to deliver.

CHAFFIOTTE: Johnny Gargano vs. Candice LeRae for the NXT Championship. Hop off my fantasy! Look, it's really not that far-fetched, Mix Match Challenge may very well be WWE dipping their toes into the world of intergender wrestling. Do I trust them to do it perfectly? No. Do I want it anyway? Absolutely! If it does go beyond a spot or two during the MMC, it would almost definitely start in NXT. Now I'll admit there are some things even I don't like in this context, open hand slaps for example. But there's something to be said about taking intergender wrestling to its natural extreme, a husband-wife match. Go big or go home, right? By doing that, WWE can establish that there is no connection between a friendly competition between two people who love each other and domestic violence.

Plus, it's an awesome match. I'd suggest anyone go and watch some of their ring of honor work. Their connection and chemistry are so visceral. Gargano really treats LeRae like his equal, something that is vital to intergender wrestling working. The NXT Championship just sweetens the deal. If there's anyone who's capable of establishing that women can hold historically male titles, it's LeRae. The fact that she's tiny is a bonus if she can do it with enough heart and hard work, then anyone can.

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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