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NXT Takeover Houston Is Gonna Be Fucking Great, Guys

Reminder: NXT is supposed to be the inferior product, everyone. It’s the developmental wing of WWE, where Vince’s new acquisitions go to learn how to work a big crowd, get dropped on their head and, perhaps most importantly, take selfies with fans.

The problem is, whenever there’s a Takeover event (which take place the night before the WWE’s four tentpole PPVs; The Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series)… well, they’re usually better than the WWE thing they’re preceding. Something about the stripped back, indie-inspired formula of minimal promos, fewer titles and maximum graps combine to make the Takeovers a far more focused and intense viewing experience for people who want more action and less fluff in between.

NXT has been doing great things for a long time, which bodes well for when Vinny steps down and hands things over to Triple H; semi-retired grappler, reluctant suit-wearer and the man running things at NXT. And right now, NXT is on fire. With the next Takeover coming up this weekend, we thought we’d let you know why, if you’re not on board already, now is the best time to get cosy with NXT.

The Talent Is Ridiculous!

Every time a big name or two gets pulled away from NXT and onto the main roster, it always feels like there might be a noticeable gap in the NXT locker room. It never actually feels that way, though. In Kairi Sane and Ember Moon, the women’s division has more than covered the loss of Asuka to RAW, and Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are essentially the cast of Mean Girls if Mean Girls was about wrestling. Lars Sullivan, Alistair Black, Kassius Ohno, Adam Cole, Drew McIntyre…. it’s ridiculous. There’s too much talent. Calm down, lads.

Triple H In a Suit!

Triple H looks uncomfortable in a suit. Seemingly determined to resist fashion, he looks a bit like he picked up the first thing he saw in Topman in 1997 and has stuck with it since. Nevertheless, Trippo in a suit means there’s always a chance he might do that thing when he throws the jacket away, rolls up the sleeves and looks like an accountant who’s gone out for just one pint after work but ended up in an 80s club at midnight with a mojito in each hand, never more than one sip away from wrapping a tie round his own head like Rambo

The Authors Of Pain and… Rock Strongo!?

Roderick Strong (a.k.a Rock Strongo if you really like The Simpsons) got a push a while ago and it didn’t entirely work. An out-of-place video package showed us how he’d had a very tough life, actually, and you should definitely like him because of it, okay? He seems like a nice man who can produce 1000 different variations of a backbreaker, but that’s it. His pairing, therefore, with roaring, destructive maniacs Authors of Pain is an interesting one. The jobber-destroying AOP are brutal, whereas Strong is more of an everyman character; likeable and relatable, if not as much as NXT would like you to think. How this marriage is going to play out in the ring at Takeover Houston is anyone’s guess.

Dunne Done, Onto The Next One!

Pete Dunne is going to go far, you don’t need to be told that. WWE have been keeping him tucked away, but a recent appearance to smash up Enzo Amore, a man with far more than a ‘cuppa haters’ these days, suggests we’ll eventually be seeing much more of the brutal Brummie. Until then, for no real reason he’s going to be fighting Johnny Gargano for the UK Championship. Gargano is on quite the losing streak since the breakup of DIY, perennially looking like a sad puppy with carefully manicured facial hair, and a win over newbie Dunne seems inevitable since Dunne is probably destined for other things following throwing fists at Enzo. Loss or not, seeing seething Dunne is a reminder that just because someone is vegan it doesn’t mean they couldn’t fuck you right up, mate.

WARGAMES!

Wargames is back! It’s two rings in a cage and there’s three teams and they go in one by one and…. yeah, it’s a bit convoluted. It was invented by Dusty Rhodes and he’d probably taken more than a few bumps on the head by that point. Still, the more people in a ring at once means the more people there are for Authors of Pain to batter, so that’s cool. They’ll be busting Super Colliders all over the gaffe.

William Regal!

Why does Regal always have a set of brass knuckles on his desk? He’s an ex-pro wrestler, not an East End gangster. Maybe that’s the only way to keep Lars Sullivan in line. Either way, in amongst all the chaos, Regal is the gravitas and calm that NXT needs. He’s probably the only general manager on the brand that has kayfabe respect from the whole of their respective locker rooms, and he’s legitimately hilarious given the chance; listen to the episode of Tuesday Night Jaw with him on for confirmation, as if my word alone isn’t enough.

Mauro!

On-then-off again commentator Mauro Ranallo (note; spellcheck this later) is exactly what sports entertainment needs. He appears entirely sincere in his childlike delight at everything happening in the ring, yet also has the legitimacy of a background calling proper combat sports (i.e ones where they’re not pretending). MAMMAMIA!!!!!

Sanity Are Very Hairy!

Sanity are the new Wyatt family; a bunch of misfits with a creepy vibe and a shared Hot Topic online shopping account. Having settled down following swapping Sawyer Fulton for the world’s hairiest Irishman, Killian Dane (he really is very hairy, guys), Sanity have somehow become faces. Big, beardy faces. And they’ve got a secret weapon in sadly beardless Nikki Cross, who does an incredible job of being intimidating considering she’s about three foot tall. They’ve got an entrance where they walk around with their faces covered like youths hanging around a shopping precinct but it somehow works. Inspiring.

Roman Reigns Isn’t In It!

Okay, sorry. I know slagging off Big Romy is neither original nor clever, but any big event we’re there’s a guarantee he won’t be there to suck the charisma out of the room is always pleasant, isn’t it?

So there you go, NXT Takeover Houston is going to be a smasher. Like and subscribe and all that, and follow us on twitter (@FannishAnnounce). Seriously, we could use it; it’s a new twitter account and we’ve got fewer followers than a racist flat-earther with no profile photo.

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