Seth Rollins likes to call himself “the living, breathing future of WWE.” Even if he only got that moniker thanks to a glowing endorsement from his benefactor, Triple H (who, ahem, must have heard it first on WWE.com), the claim has some legs. Mr. Money in the Bank is nothing if not one of the most dynamic, versatile and physically gifted Superstars the WWE Universe has seen in years: A Jeff Hardy-style daredevil with a well-earned dash of megalomania to go with it, Rollins really does have it all.
Still, he’s certainly not the only guy in contention to be “the future.” Rollins has blinders on, as well he must, but there’s an astounding crop of talent sprouting around him even as he continues to reach both literal and figurative heights in his very young career. Just as we predicted Rollins as a future main-eventer all those months ago, WWE.com editors again regroup to select the Superstars (and Diva) we’ve pegged as the future of WWE. Plan accordingly.
Finn Bálor is going to be a massive star for WWE, because the guy already is a star. He looks like one, he carries himself like one and he is capable of communicating the fact that he is one. It’s not just the blistering offense or the angular European soccer star aesthetic that make him such a sure thing. It’s the “I belong in the main event” self-confidence that really translates. It’s the same poise that runs the tightrope between arrogance and assuredness that has made Seth Rollins such a commodity. Bálor can morph from underdog highflier to arrogant jerk with ease. And, like Rollins, he’ll have the same mass appeal as Jeff Hardy without any of his unfortunate faults.
It remains to be seen if Bálor is going to be able to sell himself on the microphone — always the biggest question with an international talent entering WWE. But he already proved himself to be a wildly charismatic figure during his stint as the head of Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling. If he can recreate that craze in WWE — and, believe me, he can — the Bálor era may await. — RYAN MURPHY
We open with a recap of Itami vs. Ascension and Balor debuting from last week.
Here’s Balor to open the show with a rather epic entrance. He says he’s here in NXT because he’s the future….and here are Natalya and Tyson Kidd arm in arm. Tyson is sure that Balor has a fascinating story but no one cares. Fact. Kidd was brought into this business as a Hart, so the first thing he was ever taught was respect. Cue Justin Gabriel who says a new international superstar is here every week to be a top guy. Finn has to get through them first though, but let’s pause for a WHO ARE YOU chant at Gabriel. Kidd and Gabriel get in the ring but here’s Itami, walking very slowly out to save his buddy.
Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel
This should be good. Gabriel and Itami get things going but it’s quickly off to Kidd for a wristlock. Balor comes in for the first time and Tyson is already out for Gabriel. A dropkick puts Gabriel down but he bails to the floor, setting up a big flip dive from Balor as we take a break. Back with Itami putting Justin in a chinlock and getting two off a kick to the chest. Off to Balor vs. Kidd with Tyson taking him outside for a neckbreaker on the floor. Gabriel hits a LOUD chop on the floor before kicking Finn in the back.
Tyson does the same for two as the heels take over on Finn in the corner. We hit the chinlock on Balor before Justin cranks on both arms at the same time. Kidd and Gabriel keep making the fast tags until Balor nails Tyson with a Pele Kick. The hot tag brings in Itami to clean house and a big kick gets two on Kidd. Justin dives into a knee to the ribs for two as everything breaks down. The newcomers hit stereo corner dropkicks, setting up a top rope double stomp to end Gabriel.
Winners: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami
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The Ascension make their way out. Konnor says Hideo Itami has been beaten down for weeks on end, and tells him to come out to the ring so they can finish what was started at NXT Takeover 2. Hideo comes out to the ramp and is followed by Finn Bálor (Prince Devitt).
They nod to each other and rush the ring, colliding head-first with the Ascension. The crowd is loud with “Finn” chants as they take it to the heels. They hit stereo dropkicks on both members of the Ascension. Konnor rolls out of the ring, but Balor comes off the apron with a double foot stomp.
Viktor gets up and runs into a pele kick from Finn, and a running knee strike from Hideo Itami. Konnor crawls back into the ring with Hideo mocking him, but he gets tagged with another double foot stomp from the top rope. The two stand tall as the crowd chants “dream team” to take NXT off the air.
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» FINNishing TOUCH: World Wrestling Entertainment > Live Event Digitals > NXT > November 6th
» FINNishing TOUCH: Screen Captures > World Wrestling Entertainment > NXT > November 6th
WWE.COM: Was it the same for you, Fergal? You were a top star in Japan’s biggest promotion before you signed with WWE.
FERGAL DEVITT: I’d been doing it for about six or seven years when I ended up in New Japan. I was really just a boy and I became a man in New Japan in eight years. It came to a point where I could stay the rest of my career there and have the security of a job or I could step into the great unknown that is WWE and challenge myself. And that’s what I decided to do.
WWE.COM: Everyone here comes from a different part of the globe. Is it important for each of you to represent your countries in WWE?
DEVITT: You can teach a lot of things here at the Performance Center, but you can’t teach passion for wrestling. And the five people at this table definitely have it and have had it for a long time. And hopefully, a little bit of that can rub off on the rest of the people here and bring up the whole team.
WWE.COM: At the same time, you’re competing for a main roster spot with bodybuilders and amateur athletes with no wrestling background at all.
DEVITT: I do agree with the lads on most of that, but I do believe that we do need guys like that as well. They add something to the show. It’s like the circus. We need all types of people from all walks of life.
WWE.COM: It’s amazing how the scene repairs itself. One of the early criticisms of the Performance Center was that WWE was killing the indie scene by signing all the top stars …
DEVITT: I would say we’ll probably never be satisfied, and that’s the only reason we’re all here at the moment. It’ll probably be when we’re all 60 and at a Hall of Fame ceremony and we’re still thinking about what we can do next, because that’s what’s driven us. This thirst and hunger to keep pushing forward, I don’t think any of us will ever settle, be it a WrestleMania moment or a World Heavyweight Title. We’re all just going to still want more.
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WWE has signed international Superstar Fergal Devitt to its NXT division. He will report to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, today, WWE.com has confirmed.
“This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I was maybe four or five years old,” Devitt told WWE.com last week, while preparing for the trip in his home country of Ireland. “I grew up watching wrestling my whole life, so to get the chance to step in the ring that I’ve watched on TV so many times is a dream come true.”
Prior to signing with WWE, Devitt was widely considered one of the most highly touted free agents in sports-entertainment. Hailing from Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, his path to NXT and WWE has been circuitous: Initially trained in England, Devitt honed his craft in the U.K. and U.S. independent scenes before entering the notoriously disciplined dojos of New Japan Pro Wrestling. He also competed in Mexico, though it was in New Japan that he rose to greatest prominence, under the name Prince Devitt.
During his eight-year tenure there, Devitt captured the group’s prestigious IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship three times, and he won New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament — the same tournament won by the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero — twice, in 2010 and 2013. Devitt went undefeated in last year’s edition of the round-robin tournament.