Friday, December 11, 2015

NXT Advent Calendar Day 11: Proof of NXT's power with the TLC card

One look at the TLC card shows exactly how far former NXT talent have came in WWE. Out of the twenty-three talents announced as wrestling on the card, a full thirteen of them have served as NXT regulars at some point in their careers. Of those thirteen, four are former tag team champions, two are former women's champions and two are former NXT champions. 

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So here is the rundown of the card from bottom to top and a few thoughts on the NXT talents involved.
  • Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger: The only match not involving any NXT veterans, features two talents that instead came through FCW before hitting WWE. Del Rio is an international traveler while Swagger has only wrestled for WWE. Neither man has been able to light the roster on fire in the last few months with Swagger off television for an extended period while Del Rio's MexAmerica failed miserably to gain any traction. Their Chairs match looks like the weakest battle on paper going into the show, but Del Rio has all the talent in the world to make the battle work with a guy as talented as Swagger.
  • ECW Originals vs. The Wyatt Family: The four on four elimination tables match features four talents that made their way from NXT. Rhyno comes from the ECW side while Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan made their way up from the Wyatt Family side. All eight men have show signs of greatness in WWE, but this match really needs to be about the Wyatts regaining some heat. The group seems poised to have a great run as tweeners, antagonizing both faces and heels, but they need a true win for the first time in months to make that happen. A victory over the Dudley Boyz, Dreamer and Rhyno would certainly firm up there place on the roster while also potentially stealing the show.
  • Charlotte vs. Paige: The two former NXT Women's Champions continue to battle over the Divas title, but this time Charlotte has her father in her corner. While this match could desperately have used a stipulation to strengthen it (as well as show it has as much value as a men's match), I suspect this to firmly cement Charlotte in more of a heel role as the new dirtiest player in the game. 
  • The New Day vs. The Usos vs. Lucha Dragons: The Lucha Dragons formed in NXT (where they were tag champs) while Xavier Woods and Big E came up through the program (with Big E even being a former NXT champion.) The seven men in this match have all the ability in the world to put on an amazing ladder match. With the exception of Big E (who does make a great base) the other six men have all shown their willingness to take some sick bumps. I think this has the potential to firm up the star power of all three of these teams and it would serve as a great way to move the tag titles onto the Dragons if even for just a few weeks. 
  • Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose: Both men are former NXT regulars with Owens a former NXT champion. Ambrose has been main eventing cards off and on for the last year of WWE television, dating back to a great TLC match at last year's event. Owens has been a dominant heel in the company since winning his first main roster match against John Cena. Their Intercontinental title match has all the makings of a classic even without a stipulation, but I suspect Ambrose will rebound off the ropes into a pop out powerbomb to end this one. 
  • Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus: Roman Reigns seeks to reclaim his role as WWE World Heavyweight champion while Sheamus still seems to be little more than a transitional champion designed to get Reigns over with the partisan crowd. While on paper this match looks weak, Reigns has a great ability to bring it in big matches while Sheamus has the potential to put on a great match any day. With all likelihood the rest of Reigns's stable and the League of Nations will also get involved to make this one even crazier. Hopefully, this one will prove once and for all that both these men deserve a main event spot, something WWE desperately needs to make happen. 
Overall, TLC really seems like a pass/fail style pay-per-view. It could either fall flat on its face or be a great insane mess of a battle that the card should be. In the end, so much rests on the shoulders of Reigns and Sheamus to see if they can truly carry the top match of the card. Of course, with the card in Boston, chances are also good for the return of John Cena, potentially setting up something big for the future with the WWE's franchise player of the last decade. 

We will find out on the 13th, but for now, let's just celebrate how much NXT has deepened the WWE roster. 

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