Ken Kidney is back for this week’s round-up of the latest news from the world of wrestling, including some new WWE signings, in this week’s Wrestling Weekly.
There was quite a lot of comings and goings this week on the independent scene, some departing for the opportunity of major success in the bright lights of the WWE and others resigning with independent promotions.
WWE have been very busy recently snapping up new recruits for their NXT developmental promotion. They recently held a tryout at their NXT facility in Florida. It was reported to be intense with several talents picking up injuries, all in the name of a shot at the big time. Notable indy names that received a try out were ROH TV Champion Adam Cole, Mike Bennett, DGUSA’s Samuray del Sol, Ricky Reyes, Northeastern wrestler Smith James and Luke Hawx.
The biggest coup for the pro wrestling juggernaut is Samuray Del Sol, a 26-year-old Mexican American lucha libre style wrestler from Illinois. He has been wrestling since 2006 and has gained quite the reputation for himself over a relatively short space of time. He has wrestled all over the USA and Mexico.
I recently got the chance to see him in action for myself and I was suitably impressed. He is a skilled high flyer but has a sound technical wrestling base. He is in good shape but at 5ft 6in, he is a little small for WWE’s usual taste. He definitely has the talent but time will tell whether he gets the chance to show it.
Mike Bennett, Shaun Ricker and Sami Callihan, are currently undergoing medical evaluations to eventually sign WWE deals.
I haven’t seen much of Mike Bennett but he has potential. He has the size and wrestling style that fits the WWE mould. His promos also fit with the WWE way of doing things so he at least has a chance. On the other hand NXT is filling up with a lot of talented indy wrestlers at the moment and I fear that he may get lost in the shuffle.
Sami Callihan is very, very popular on the independent circuit but for the life of me I just don’t get it! I’ve seen him in the ring and I was just not that impressed. Due to the reputation that preceded him, I was expecting fireworks! He is technically fine but nothing special. I also don’t care for his look, something I have a feeling WWE will change. I don’t like to put down any wrestlers efforts, after all they risk their bodies for our entertainment, but I just don’t see things working out for him in the WWE. However, you can never predict who will take off in WWE or who management will take a liking to, many would have bet against CM Punk succeeding at the top-level in WWE and he has defied all the odds.
WWE officials are said to have passed on the highly fancied Adam Cole, leading to him signing a two-year contract extension with ROH. This has come as a surprise to many who have anointed Cole as the next big thing.
Speaking of new ROH deals, Former ROH champion and ROH stalwart, Kevin Steen, has also signed a new two-year deal. Steen has had health issues and has described himself as a “problem eater” leading to huge weight gain. I have a feeling that Steen is giving himself two years to get into the appropriate shape for one more tilt at the big time before calling it quits for good if he does not succeed.
Vignettes began airing on Raw this week for the impending arrival of the Wyatt Family to the WWE main roster. Regular readers may remember me mentioning the faction in a recent article about top prospects for the future.
The promos have been well received by both the fans and WWE personnel and there is a lot of buzz about the arrival of the group on Monday nights.
The group consisting of Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are considered as top NXT talents at the moment. Bray Wyatt used to compete on the NXT TV show and in the Nexus group as Husky Harris. Harper used to work for DGUSA under the ring name Brodie Lee, while Rowan worked for Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan as Thorus. All are said to be well thought of by their peers and are known as good workers. I predict big things for the faction, especially their leader Wyatt. I am excited to see what they do when they land on the main roster.
You can see the vignette from this past Monday’s RAW by clicking on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb_R6vHUB4w.
TNA is set to stage their annual anniversary pay per view, Slammiversary, live this Sunday from the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts to mark their 11th year as a company. This will mark the group’s first pay per view offering since Lockdown in March so it has had a lot of time to build and should theoretically be a better show as a result. The show boasts a strong card featuring the following matches;
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
-Bully Ray (c) vs. Sting
No Holds Barred match, and if Sting should lose, he can never again challenge for the TNA World title.
TNA World Tag Team Championship
-Chavo & Hernandez (c) vs. Bobby Roode & Austin Aries vs. James Storm & Gunner vs. Bad Influence (Kazarian and Christopher Daniels)
-AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle
-Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. DOC, Garett Bischoff & Wes Brisco
Ultimate X for the X-Division Championship
-Kenny King (c) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Suicide
Last Knockout Standing Match
-Taryn Terrell vs. Gail Kim
Gut Check Finals
-Jay Bradley vs. Sam Shaw
The winner of this match earns a place in the 2013 Bound for Glory series.
TNA Television Championship
-Devon (c) vs. Joseph Park esq.
The most intriguing bouts of the night for me include the match between a renegade AJ Styles and Kurt Angle. First of all, put these two in a ring and good things are bound to happen. Secondly, AJ is in an interesting period of transition at the moment and it’s fascinating to watch. He is maturing as a performer and adapting his style to match his new tweener persona. It’s hard to know what he is going to do next and it’s exciting.
I am also looking to the main event TNA World Heavyweight Championship match between Bully Ray (c) and “The Icon” Sting. Will it be curtains for Stinger or can he pull off another unlikely title win? It will be interesting to see the outcome in this one.
Honorable mention to the Ultimate X match for the X-Division Championship between Kenny King (c), Chris Sabin and a returning Suicide (now played by the amazing TJ Perkins). Dangerous and breathtaking in equal measure, this death-defying spectacle never fails to deliver some memorable moments. Throw three talented X-Division talents into the mix, and the elements are all there for a show stealing match up.
For those who haven’t seen the high wire spectacle, check out this shining example from TNA’s Final Resolution in 2005.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, queries, comments and even complaints. You can let your voice be heard by contacting me on Twitter @kenkidney or on the Sport is Everything twitter @SportsInsiders. Also be sure to like the Sport is Everything Facebook page so you don’t miss the latest news from the world of wrestling.
Sport is Everything. Ken Kidney.