Cewsh Scouts NXT 2017

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Welcome, cats and kittens, to what has become one of our most popular and requested features on this humble wrestling site, Cewsh Scouts! Over the next week and a half, we’re going to scout and review 25 different NXT stars (and hopeful stars) in sets of 5, and then at the end we’re going to do something new. For the first time, Cewsh Reviews will be crowning the 2017 Best Prospect in NXT award, which will from now be handed out yearly in the month after Wrestlemania. And all of this is going to be exclusive to cewshreviews.com until the week after it’s all done, so if you’re hungry for that sweet scouting flavor, make sure you check back every day!

Now, for those of you who are new and unsure of what Cewsh Scouts is, in the past we have done some detailed scouting on both NXT and New Japan to help people get an idea for who these up and coming characters are before they pop onto your television screen, and to sort of give you a sense of whether it’s important to keep an eye on them yet or not. We’ve had a pretty remarkable success rate at predicting next level talent thus far, so let’s see if we can do it again!

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There are a few changes to the reports this year. In addition to the Pros and Cons, the Prospect Grade and the Readiness to Be Called Up, i’ll also be grading the quality of their current entrance theme and concept, the quality and translatability of their gimmick as it is currently being presented, and the effectiveness of their finishing move as a branding tool to help get them over. Alright, now let’s get started.

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Bobby Roode – NXT Champion

Non-WWE Exposure: TNA, NJPW, NOAH, AAA

Entrance Grade: A+

Gimmick Grade: A

Finisher Grade:

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B

Pros:

Aura of A Star

Absolutely Solid In The Ring

Can Carry A Brand

Cons:

Not A WWE Main Event Level Promo

Matches Are Rarely GREAT

May Owe Triple H And Ric Flair Royalty Checks

Not to spoil the end of Roode’s scouting report, but of course he’s ready to be called up to the main roster. But with WWE shifting its focus to having NXT be a brand of it’s own, the bigger question is whether or not Roode is capable of carrying it until the next top guys is ready to take his place.

In the Ring

Those who saw Roode in TNA will already know the massive strides the man has taken in the last 10 years to go from forgettable midcarder to one of the smoothest and most in control wrestlers on the planet. Frankly, he makes it look easy. He uses a style that echos the 80s NWA style of top heels, with a slowed down pace and focus on limb work that can be very hard to get over in the current WWE environment where everyone is essentially wrestling 2003 era Ring of Honor matches up and down the card. As such, his matches don’t seem to stand out as much as you would expect them to, but I think over time the audience will adapt to his style more and more. He certainly has them in the palm of his hand throughout matches, and has a knack for hot finishing sequences because of it.

Outside of the Ring

The “Glorious” character has been a helluva find for Roode, as it has transformed what may have been a flat, one-note Ric Flair knockoff into an over the top, flamboyant display of arrogance that comes across perfectly. This is something that will play with every audience everywhere in some way, shape or form and it was main event caliber from the first moment he stepped on screen. However, it must be said that his promo style doesn’t really line up with the Glorious character, (which may be intentional, it remains to be seen.) Roode has always been a good, but not great promo, and he’s already shown a lot of improvement from his TNA days since arriving in NXT. Since this is the only small flaw in his game, and it seems to be improving, it’s hard to even dwell on it too much.

Overall

I don’t think that Bobby Roode is ever going to main event a Wrestlemania, or even really be a top guy on a show. The Glorious thing has the legs to prove me wrong, but talent wise, Roode tracks as an extremely good lower level main event heel, in the same sort of space that Kevin Owens occupies right now. That’s not an insult. He is goddamn great. Just not transcendent.

Prospect Grade: A

Ready For Call Up: Yes

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Andrade “Cien” Almas

Non-WWE Exposure: CMLL, NJPW

Entrance Grade: B

Gimmick Grade: B+

Finisher Grade:

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D

Pros:

Unbelievably Great Athleticism And Look

Heel Attitude Has Revived Him

Charisma. He gots it

Cons:

Natural Issues With English Speaking Promos

Is Still Fine Tuning His New In Ring Style

WWE Does Not Know How To Book Hispanic Heels

What a difference a few months makes. 3 months ago, all of those grade would have been yucky across the board, but one heel turn later, and here we are.

In the Ring

Among the many struggles Almas had when he first arrived was figuring out how to work an effective babyface style in a WWE ring. This was compounded by the fact that he was recently demasked and suddenly had to work out how to make facial expressions a thing AND by a gimmick that was just some hot, hot garbage. Basically, his first few months in the company reflected a guy who was going nowhere fast despite all of the hype he had coming in.

Then the heel turn happened.

Since that moment, Almas has been on fire. He has such an easy confidence and the ring, and is so goddamn crisp and smooth in everything he does, that it’s hard to believe it was the same guy. His heel gimmick has clearly made him very comfortable and he’s showing gobs of personality and having some really phenomenal matches with just about anyone they put him in with. The only real issue for him at this point is an overly elaborate DDT finisher, which is meant to evoke the intricate holds of lucha libre, but just isn’t quick or impressive enough to get over in WWE. If he sorts out something better for himself there, he’ll be ready for anything.

Outside of the Ring

Almas can cut promos in English, which is always a concern with international wrestlers connecting with an American audience, but he doesn’t seem comfortable with it yet, nor should we expect him to be. He’ll get there. More important, he shares a spiritual connection with Tetsuya Naito in Japan, and his outrageously cocky TRANQUILO spots are a highlight of any show he’s on. Plus, the man is frankly amazing looking, and if they can capitalize on the playboy aspect of the character and Almas’ real life, then they really have something.

Overall

WWE truly has trouble getting it right with any heel that has even a slight ethnic flair, much less actually being from a non-European foreign country. They get fixated on the culture and the person inside of the gimmick gets lost. Thus far, only Eddie Guerrero has managed to make something out of this as a heel. But when Almas gets to the next level, I firmly believe he will as well.

Prospect Grade: A

Ready For Call Up: No

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Hideo Itami

Non-WWE Exposure: NOAH, ROH

Entrance Grade: B-

Gimmick Grade: C

Finisher Grade:

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A

Pros:

Great Credibility Among Indy Fans

One Of Very Few Guys In The World To Have Been A Promotion’s Ace

One Of The Best Jr. Heavyweights Of All Time

Cons:

Just Flat Out Injury Prone

Not As Relevant As He Once Was

Will Always Be Overshadowed By Others Now

God dammit, Hideo Itami. At one point the most exciting prospect ever signed by WWE from Japan, Itami has dealt with an endless string of injuries that have killed his momentum.

In the Ring

If you have never seen Hideo Itami wrestle, don’t worry, because yes you have. His pioneering work while in Pro Wrestling NOAH basically crafted the blueprint for what a crusierweight wrestler is in this era. Tons of strikes, constant full speed motion, and a killer finisher. In fact, the only thing holding Itami back in the ring now is the fact that so many major WWE stars have stolen his style over the years that it won’t seem original in front of this audience. The high powered corner dropkicks and Running Knee Strike of Daniel Brayn? Hideo Itami’s. The Go 2 Sleep and every element of MMA style in CM Punk’s arsenal? Hideo Itami’s. Hell, the whole damn crusierweight division right now is an exaggerated love letter to Itami, who will have to work that much harder to stand out in a sea of impersonators who got here first.

Out of the Ring

It’s still a little hard to say. Itami’s English is coming along, but he hasn’t been given a ton of chances to express himself in promos or vignettes. He does have an obvious “hyper intensity” kind of charisma, and it must be said that he has been the top draw for a wrestling company before, which is something that no one in developmental currently can say. He has the poise that comes with it. But he just hasn’t been around enough for us to get a read on him.

Overall

It shreds me up inside to say it, but I don’t think Itami is going to meet with much success when he makes it to the next level. The first time he does the Go 2 Sleep in front of a live audience not made up entirely of smarks, he is going to suffocate under the weight of the CM Punk chants he receives, and now that he’s in his late 30s, it’s probably too late to learn new tricks. If his health holds up, I can see him being a very valuable crusierweight division guy, but considering this is goddamn KENTA we’re talking about, that has to be considered a disappointment.

Prospect Grade: B-

Ready For Call Up: No

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Oney Lorcan

Non-WWE Exposure: PWG

Entrance Grade: D+

Gimmick Grade: C

Finisher Grade:

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B-

Pros:

Great potential as a scrappy underdog

Consistently good matches

Progressing quickly

Cons:

Bad look

Bad name

Rough promos

The unfortunately named Oney Lorcan has come a long way in a short time, and has become the official NXT jobber to stars in the same kind of way Tyler Breeze was in his day, (except as a good guy.)

In the Ring

Lorcan has developed a very interesting in ring style that I think is going to serve him extremely well. He’s hard hitting, extremely persistant in coming at you all all times, and takes an absolute beating that looks stiff, but is perfectly safe. No matter where you wrestle, that’s a recipe for success, and in the past few months it’s resulted in him surprising people with really great matches with the likes of Andrade “Cien” Almas and Drew McIntyre. Truth be told, I didn’t like his work on the indy scene as Biff Busick, and I didn’t expect him to do much with this opportunity, but he’s tapped into this scrappy underdog role now, and it’s doing wonders in the ring.

Out of the Ring

A lot of this needs work. His promos, judging them on the few he’s gotten to do thus far, are technically fine but have no energy or charisma to them. His music and entrance is forgettable the second the next guy comes through the curtain, his name is a mouthful and is bound to be misspelled hundreds of times, and he’s on the small side, even for this era.

With all of that said, his I’M A SCRAPPER FROM BOSTON character is going to get him over if he stays on the path he’s on now and keeps turning in strong matches. By making him a lovable, hard nose loser who goes the distance with top stars but never quite makes it, they’re building something with the character that will pay off. He just needs work fine tuning the details of it.

Overall

I can absolutely see Lorcan becoming a valuable midcarder at the next level, if they tinker with his presentation a bit. If his work keeps coming along, he’ll get there.

Prospect Grade: B-

Ready For Main Roster: No

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No Way Jose

Non-WWE Exposure: None

Entrance Grade: B+

Gimmick Grade: C

Finisher Grade:

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B

 Pros:

Big Dude!

A Lot Of Fun To Watch

Enough Charisma To Actually Make This Gimmick Work

Cons:

This Fucking Gimmick, Man

Not Exceptional In The Ring

He’s Has Almost No Actual Promo Time On Screen

No Way Jose is a thing that should not have worked. They gave the Dominican guy a ridiculous name, and built his entire gimmick around dancing. That has failed so many times that’s hard to believe that anybody really thought it could succeed. But i’ll be damned.

In the Ring

Jose has a long way to go here. He has great size and quickness in the ring, and I think at this point in his career he’s extremely carry-able when he’s matched up with a high level opponent, but singles matches with anyone else have a tendency to drift, as if nobody is really sure where they’re going with anything. Those matches still aren’t actually bad, as Jose has a solid foundation of skill to work off of, but for a guy who gets the crowd into a frenzy during his entrance, his matches are remarkably quiet, with the fans checking out and waiting for a prompt to get involved. They need to find a way to get his charisma across while not overexposing him, but that’s a tough job on a show where everyone gets over on their match quality first and foremost.

Outside of the Ring

Goddamn is this guy charismatic. He has taken a token dancing gimmick and turned it into a highlight of the shows. Add that to his completely infectious music and entrance, and his promo skills which are still rudimentary but show potential, and this is the kind of guy that you can make money with. Still, the gimmick is extremely one note, and if they don’t find another one for him, then he’ll be 2 years on the main roster and out like everyone who has held that cursed gimmick before him.

Also, he’s really big, did I mention that? Because it’s important. He will get pushes.

Overall

No Way Jose is someone who i’m watching with extreme interest. He has the most learning left to do of any of the high profile NXT stars right now, but he also has some of the most potential. I want to see someone with this kind of charisma rise and grow dynamically and make it to the main event on the main roster, but I just have this nagging sense that he will never outgrow the dancing funny guy and will be in TNA 3 years from now.

Prospect Grade: B-

Ready For Main Roster: No

 

 

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Asuka – NXT Women’s Champion

Non-WWE Exposure: Shimmer, Every Joshi Company

Entrance Grade: A

Gimmick Grade: A

Finisher Grade:

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AND

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AND

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AND

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A

Pros:

The Best Female In Ring Performer WWE Has Ever Had

Incredibly Interesting and Original Look

Promos Are Getting Very Good

Cons:

Um…

Er….

A Lot Of People Are Going To Pronounce Her Name Wrong?

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I should probably leave this for the “Overall” section, but i’ll just put it here to cut to the chase. Asuka is the most talented, interesting and credible woman that WWE has ever employed. If they manage to ruin a surefire Hall of Famer then it will be a bigger indictment of WWE booking than anything else that has transpired since the Invasion. Now let’s talk about why.

In the Ring

Joshi, as a concept and as a wrestling style, all but died out at the end of the 90s. The demand wasn’t there and the marketable stars either quit to start families or splintered off into small individual companies. Several of those companies kept going for awhile, but Joshi wasn’t something on the radar of even the most ardent Japanese wrestling fans for years. Until the new generation of Joshi arrived. Including names like Syuri, Ayumi Kurihara and, now elder stateswomen, Ayako Hamada and Meiko Satomura, these woman put Joshi back on the map in a big way. But of all of them, the star that emerged burning the brightest was Kana. She was so savvy and talented that she made the wrestling world fall in love with her and was elevated above Joshi itself to another level. Over the next few years she had every feud there was to have, and then traveled to America to become a top star in Shimmer overnight.

I’m telling you this, not only because it’s super interesting, but moreso to explain what he in ring style is. She is descended from those glory Joshi days of the 90s, with the off the charts fire and intensity, as well as a striking style that is literally unmatched among women competing in this country. But her American experience has also given her a great skill for adaptability, and gave her the smallest learning curve for all of the Japanese talent, with the exception of perhaps Nakamura himself.

Asuka attacks with strikes and submissions, and has probably 4 or 5 finishers that she uses interchangeably and gets reactions for all of them. It’s ridiculously difficult to get half of your moveset over as credible finishers, but she has managed it. She’s lightning fast, owns the crowd, and can play both face and heel equally effectively.  Her matches are a highlight of any show she’s on, and frankly, she’s getting better.

Can I make this any clearer? WWE has never seen a talent like this. Her only flaw is making others look shabby by comparison.

Outside of the Ring

Asuka’s character is transitioning a bit at the moment. Fir most of her NXT run, she was a babyface with a great deal of mystique, who crushed people Goldberg style. Recently, in her feud with Ember Moon, she’s shown off some great cocky heel work that fits great with how unbeatable they have portrayed her. Her promos are coming along wonderfully, she has a great sense for timing and comedy, and the entire Asuka presentation is just incredibly eye catching, from her Japanese Noh style mask, to the vibrant colors she wears everywhere. It’s impossible to miss.

Now, with that said, it’s relatively easy for her at the moment, because when you’re the person who always destroys everyone, it’s more about the look of the thing than it is trying to carry programs based on your skill and personality. I believe she can do it, but they’ve been cautious about overexposing her in this way. That’s wise, but it makes it difficult to tell what her ceiling as an out of ring performer really is.

Overall

Main roster, shmame mobster. She’s the empress of tomorrow, of today, and of any other damn time you’d like to name. When you hear her music hit during Raw or Smackdown, text your friends. You won’t want to miss it.

Prospect Grade: A+

Ready For Call Up: Yes


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The Authors of Pain – NXT Tag Team Champions

Non-WWE Exposure: None

Entrance Grade: B+

Gimmick Grade: B+

Finisher Grade:

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B+

Pros:

The Best Looking Monster Tag Team Since The Road Warriors

Convincingly Vicious and Powerful In The Ring

Dude, They’re Goddamn Destroyers

Cons:

Still Green Enough To Be Dangerous

Not Convinced Paul Ellering Can Deliver On The Mic

Need To Be Protected

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During their matches, the Authors of Pain often do this:

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So yeah, they’re pretty cool.

In the Ring

When you look at how talented people are in the ring, context is extremely important. If someone is attempting to ape Daniel Bryan and all of the ludicrous difficulty level that that style involves, they deserve to be praised to the heavens when they actually pull it off. But, by the same token, when someone’s job is to destroy people in the ring, they can’t be graded on how “good” the matches are as matches. Instead, the grading scale must include factors like how convincingly threatening and dangerous they seem without actually being super unsafe, and how well they portray the monster in inevitable underdog matches.

By these grading standards, the Authors of Pain are merely good, but show the potential to be great. The hardest thing to teach big men in wrestling is how to be dangerous. There are a lot of guys who lift weights, but not a lot who are comfortable actually hitting people and being aggressive. This is why football players are so highly prized in the industry, because when that comes naturally to you, it communicates itself to the audience, and these guys feel like killers in the ring. That’s the first and most important step: they look the part. Now can they work it?

Frankly, they’re a work in progress, despite having already climbed the ranks of the NXT tag division. They were part of phenomenal matches with the Revival and DIY that show that they are at the very least carryable, but other matches, (including they’re disastrous flop against TM-61 in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic make it hard to tell how good they would be when going up against something other than top class talent. Luckily, in the current WWE landscape, they might never have to wrestle a team that is less than amazing, but I damn sure wouldn’t put them in with Enzo and Cass anytime soon.

Outside of the Ring

Look man, there hasn’t been a tag team that carried this much implied threat since the height of Road Warriors. You don’t need a giant promotional campaign to convince people that these two are to be taken seriously, and that makes a writing team’s job so much easier.

With that said, i’m just not convinced by Paul Ellering’s inclusion with this group. I like that he’s a link to the Road Warriors and that makes sense, but his promos have largely been heatless and laughed off by the crowds, and he’s at an age where I doubt he’ll be taking any bumps any time soon. These two need a manager, but thus far it’s just been a clunky fit, and they have made no attempt to really explain how he fits in with them. It feels like the kind of situation where Ellering will be pulled away from the Authors 6 months after their call up when they realize it’s not working, and it would really be for the best for everyone if they took a deep look into the situation sooner rather than later.

Overall

This is the kind of Vince McMahon erection fodder that will make it to the main event whether the push is warranted or not, but I have a lot of faith in the Authors of Pain. This isn’t just some strong guy tag team. Akkam and Rahzar, (yes, like Occam’s Razor, let’s move past it,) are going to be a big, big deal if they do this right. The only question is whether they’ll have the patience to fine tune it to perfection before they pull the trigger.

Prospect Grade: A

Ready For Call Up: No

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DIY

Non-WWE Exposure: ROH

Entrance Grade: B-

Gimmick Grade: B

Finisher Grade:

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B

Pros:

Tons Of Cred With Smark Audience

Good Teamwork and Chemistry

Johnny Gargano Is An Incredible Babyface

Cons:

Fun At Small Scale Promos, But Not Setting The World On Fire

They Need Great Opponents To Shine

Presentation Is Pretty Generic

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Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa started their life in NXT as a supremely random team who had little in common in terms of character or ring style, and who have somehow become arguably the top good guy tag team in NXT history. Life is weird.

In the Ring

Between the two of these guys, they sum up and represent the indy scene as a whole. Johnny Gargano gets you the best of that stream-opf consciousness style that links up spot after spot in quick succession, and combines it with thoughtful and inventive moves that are a joy to watch. Ciampa, who was kind of a monster on the indy scene but is barely average sized in WWE, is all about hard hitting strikes and devastating, high velocity offense. You wouldn’t think these two styles would mesh together super well, but somehow this conglomeration of all of the indy wrestling styles has resulted in something smooth and joyful to watch.

With that said, the best thing about this team is Gargano, and the tremendous work he does selling as an underdog babyface. He’s the heart of this team, and he’ll make some money as an undersized, big heart kind of good guy.

Outside of the Ring

Sort of what you’d expect from career indy guys. Their promos aren’t great, but are certainly solid, and they have a great sense of humor when they get a chance to show it. Their entrance, their look and their promos as a package aren’t all that interesting, so they’re a team that is going to need to let their work in the ring do the talking. Luckily for them, it does.

Overall

This isn’t a transcendent team, and I would be willing to bet that if they made it to the main roster, they would wind up getting split up within their first year up there. It’s just too easy to see them as two singles wrestlers stuck together instead of a team, no matter how good their chemistry is. They are ready for the main roster, and it would be a delight to see the matches they could produce, but temper your expectations. They’ll win the titles, but they’ll never be THE team.

Prospect Grade: B

Ready For Call Up: Yes

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Liv Morgan

Non-WWE Exposure: None

Entrance Grade: C-

Gimmick Grade: C-

Finisher Grade:

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C-

Pros:

Boundless Energy

Is Clearly Improving

Gets A Reaction, Which Is Impressive This Early On

Cons:

Gimmick Is Wayyyyy Too Close To Carmella’s

Doesn’t Have A Clear Identity As A Performer

Isn’t Ready For The Spot They Want Her In

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At one point the face of the New Generation of WWE women who had to follow in the footsteps of the Four Horsewomen, she’s fallen off the map a bit, but is someone who you can tell they badly want to find a push for. It’s a matter of time.

In the Ring

There’s in issue in NXT right now, where about half of the roster is veterans and high talent upside men and women, and the other half is green as grass newbies trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Liv had the misfortune of being the first babyface they tried to push after Bayley left and it just didn’t work. Primarily because she just wasn’t ready in the ring in a few ways.

What I love about Liv is her energy, which is infectious and great, and the flashes she shows of real sustainable talent. Unfortunately, those flashes are not the norm, and she has yet to have a match that was better than “fine, I guess.” She isn’t sloppy, as a lot of people in her situation are, but her matches lack identity, and don’t go anywhere. The crowd is usually into the start of them and then is entirely dead by the halfway point. These are the struggles that only time and practice can solve. A lack of veterans to work with is only going to make this harder for her, and i’m not sure anything but a lot of time is going to do anything to improve the situation.

Out of the Ring

It’s hard not to draw a line between the all-Jersey everything character Liv plays and the Long Island Princess that Carmella played in NXT, (which is a little different than the one she portrays on the main roster.) Right now the only thing we really know about Liv is that she really, REALLY likes New Jersey, and likes to stand up for other babyfaces when they’re being bullied. It’s a start, but it’s not anything you could call a character.

She’s a remarkably attractive woman, with an easy charisma to her and I think there’s something interesting to the whole thing if she can put the pieces together. We just haven’t seen it yet.

Overall

If she gets called up in the next 6 months, it will ruin her career. Here’s hoping that somebody upstairs has learned what restraint is.

Prospect Grade: C+

Ready For Call Up: No

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Roderick Strong

Non-WWE Exposure: ROH, PWG, AAA, TNA, NOAH, Dragon Gate

Entrance Grade: D

Gimmick Grade: D

Finisher Grade:

Well, here’s the finisher he was doing before Drew McIntyre showed up using the exact same thing but better:

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C+

So in interest of fairness, here’s a grade for his indy finisher, which is much better:

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B+

Pros:

Worldwide Veteran

Amazingly Adept At Creating Exciting Moves

Doesn’t Really Have Bad Matches

Cons:

Doesn’t Really Have Good Matches

The Word “Boring” Sticks To Him Like Glue

Probably Can’t Use Half Of His Moveset On The Main Roster

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In the Ring

Roderick Strong has Roderick Strong matches. If you never saw him on the indy scene during the past 14 years or so, then I can tell you that the first time you see a Roderick Strong match you will be blown away. The second time you see a Roderick Strong match you will enjoy it. The 400th time you see a Roderick Strong match, you will spend the entire time wondering how a man can be so completely talented without being interesting to watch. Strong has incredible timing in the ring, which helps him pull off his moveset of crazy awesome moves, reversals and variants. He’s always where he needs to be, and I don’t think i’ve ever seen him perform a move poorly in all the time i’ve been watching him. But here in NXT, his matches have been a exposed a little bit as lifeless compared to those around him.

Out of the Ring

It may be weird to say that one of the longest tenured veterans in the company needs training, but if he can just manage to discover some inner wellspring of charisma, or that character that finally clicks for him, he might have a real shot. But it has been 14 years, and he’s shown personality maybe 4 times in that span. I don’t have a lot of hope.

Added to his issue, is some of the worst music in all of WWE, and the generic indy look to end all generic indy looks. I would love to see what Roddy could do with a gimmick of some kind that helps him get away from playing himself.

Overall

If Roderick makes it to the main roster the way he is now, he’ll be Curtis Axel by the end of the year.

Prospect Grade: C

Ready For Main Roster: No

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Patrick Clark

Non-WWE Exposure: None

Entrance Grade: B

Gimmick Grade: F or A, I Can’t Decide

Finisher Grade:

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B

 Pros:

Big Dude!

A Lot Of Fun To Watch

Enough Charisma To Actually Make This Gimmick Work

Cons:

This Fucking Gimmick, Man

Not Exceptional In The Ring

He’s Has Almost No Actual Promo Time On Screen

(Note: Yes, these are exactly the same pros and cons as No Way Jose)

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Honestly, there are times when the wrestling industry still manages to surprise me. After a few months of doing occasional appearances as an enhancement talent who was an athletic blue chipper, one fine Wendesday night, Patrick Clark emerged from behind the curtain as a Prince impersonator to complete bafflement from everyone. And now i’m left to try to make sense of whether that is a great or horrible idea.

In the Ring

Look, the guy is green. He’s as green as the greenest grass in the most well tended shire in Ireland. He’s as green as the very heart of the world’s largest emerald. He’s as green as the other members of the Cewshcast when confronted with my outrageous handsomeness. What i’m saying is dude needs some work.

There are some good building blocks here. Clark has great size and athleticism, and is one of the rare big guys who doesn’t seem super tentative about moving around the ring when they’re starting. He’s already grasped the idea of crowd work, and he conveys his character all the way through his matches, never losing the premise to do basic wrestling school stuff. That’s a very strong step.

Outside of the Ring

Patrick Clark is portraying Prince. Did I not mention that? Yeah, he’s Prince.

The music is great. The outfit is great. He’s been on Tough Enough, so he has some exposure, and he is showing far more personality with this character than I ever believed he had at his disposal. But considering we only have 3 or 4 segments to grade him on, it’s real, real hard to see what kind of legs this may have. That promo he cut on Nakamura up there showed potential, and more importantly, showed a level of comfort that Clark had with the character, but he was still very clunky. I need to see more, but I WANT to see more, which means he’s on the right track.

Overall

Velveteen Dream is an A+ nickname ready for prime time. Nothing else about this is, but i’m hopeful. Gonna keep my eye on this one.

Prospect Grade: B

Ready For Main Roster: No

——————————————————————————————————-

 

Written by Cewsh

I am the owner and operator of Cewsh Reviews. We review pro wrestling shows in a way that is funny and educational. Probably. Usually at least one or the other.

2 comments

  1. Great analysis! Can’t wait for Parts 2 through 5! I actually look forward to Wednesdays for NXT. I actually appreciate and enjoy it more than RAW (but not SD. That show continues to be top notch and with Nakamura and AJ on the brand, it should continue so).

    Love Roode. Didn’t watch a whole lot of TNA, but this gimmick suits him perfectly. Can’t wait to see him on either RAW or SD. I agree his age may play a big factor in if he can hold the Universal or World Championship, but he is def US and IC Title material. Maybe he gets a JBL-like run towards the end of his in-ring career.

    Almas has grown on me, especially during his heel run. He just has that natural cockiness about him that suits him perfectly. I don’t know if he is Universal or World Title material, but if the WWE wants that Mexican Superstar to promote, he would be perfect. I can see him having an early ADR-like run in the WWE. Def secondary title material. May even be best starting out in a stable/tag-team of sorts.

    Poor Itami. He was supposed to head the resurgence of NXT and in a perfect world would have already been on RAW or SD but the injuries have taken a toll, to the point where he is almost an afterthought. Looks like he may finally get a NXT Title match at the June Takeover, but that seems almost forced, like “Thanks for signing back in 2014 and here you go. Before you get hurt again”. And yes, the GTS on RAW or SD will absolutely result in endless ‘CM Punk’ chants, to the point where he shouldn’t even appear on any of those shows.

    Oney is the classic, scrappy underdog. Don’t know what success he has in NXT or even on RAW or SD, but maybe he gets a 205 run. He is smaller than most of the NXT guys, and even smaller than most of the RAW and SD guys. But hey, he gets a catchy catchphrase that the crowd chants on a regular basis, anything can happen.

    NWJ is a fun gimmick for NXT. They tried the dancing gimmick with Truth, Brodus Clay, and others before that. Again, its great for NXT but I don’t see how it translates to RAW or SD. Was glad to see him getting a semi-high profile feud with Aries a few months ago, but nothing seemed like it came of that. Hell, he was written out of the opening match on the most recent Takeover for a pretty mediocre replacement. Doesn’t bode well.

    Again, great write up and can’t wait for the rest!

    Like

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