Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@Glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way happened this week, and two major storyline advancements occurred, as Adrian Neville retained his title over Tyler Breeze, Sami Zayn, and the resurgent Tyson Kidd. It looked as if Zayn was about to become champ, when Neville desperately pulled the referee out of the ring, possibly signaling a heel turn. Interviews the previous two weeks noted Neville’s arrogance building as champion. Steve rather enjoyed that Neville’s turn came subtly, instead of just nailing Zayn from behind. Earlier in the match, Neville grabbed Breeze’s hand as he was about to tap out to Kidd’s sharpshooter, a sign to what he was willing to do to win.
Earlier in the night, KENTA made his announced debut in an interview segment with NXT GM William Regal. He looked to be a big deal, fairly quick, with several main roster stars putting him over in a video package, and a swank entrance video/theme combination. After completing a promo in his native Japanese (during which the awesome Full Sail crowd shushed some goobers who wanted to chant “What?”), KENTA stated that his name would now be Hideo Itami. There were those who, of course, took to the tweet machine to complain about this, ignoring that Itami then fended off both members of Ascension on his own, a team that destroyed everyone in their path until that card.
- Border Patrol: Last Saturday, the Ring of Honor All-Star Extravaganza event ended with a surprise result, as Jay Briscoe defeated Michael Elgin to become the second two-time ROH World Champion. Elgin’s run, after an epic build over nearly two years, ended after a scant two months. Immediately after the match, rumors swirled around the dirt sheets, with the Wrestling Observer live show stating that the ROH officials were mad at Elgin for hinting that he may want to try out for professional baseball next year. It was another instance of the wrestling media attempting to come to an instant kayfabed rationale for something that they clearly weren’t expecting, regardless of the veracity of the claim. It was later reported (and confirmed by Kevin Kelly on this week’s podcast) that Elgin also had visa issues which will keep him in Canada for 90 days. It ended a stunning turn of events for Elgin, who, in Steve’s opinion, had a flat title reign (his defense in Milwaukee was the third or fourth best match of the evening) after a hot run in 2012 and 2013 chasing the gold. Now, his wrestling career is on hiatus and he can’t even return to his home in the States for three months.Other reports from the show illustrated that ASE was another strong outing from top to bottom in ROH, a pattern that has been occurring most of this year. With Briscoe (who hasn’t been pinned in two years in an ROH ring) as champion, it’s unclear what the title picture holds for the moment, although Tomasso Ciampa, who has been unhinged as of late, looks to be a top contender.
- RIP: It’s always sad to see that another wretler has died, moreso as more and more of them have, and even moreso when it’s someone who, actuarially speaking, ought to have much more time left, as with this week’s death of Sean O’Haire. O’Haire trained at the WCW Power Plant and made his televised for WCW in 2000, competing there until the final Nitro; he was one half of the WCW World tag Team Champions (along with Chuck Palumbo) when that company folded, and so brought the titles to the WWF, eventually losing them to The Brothers of Destruction. He integrated himself into the WWF/E product longer than some of the people brought over immediately from WCW — his most memorable run came in 2003 with a series of memorable vignettes followed by a brief partnership with Roddy Piper. After Piper was let go, O’Haire was left somewhat rudderless, and his WWE run fizzled out in 2004, at which point he tried his hand at MMA. The ten years since then seem to have been littered with domestic abuse charges and other violence, coming to a head this week with an apparent suicide.
- An Altogether More Pleasant Update: Jake Roberts appears much improved from his tenuous condition a couple of weeks ago. After an appearance at an FSW show, Roberts reportedly also visited an FSW training session and seemed in far better spirits. This is, of course, a significant relief.
- Talk About Your Higher Planes of Existence: A story has been making the rounds in the past couple of days contending that WWE is considering selling its video library to Warner Bros. This is, of course, not quite the case. The role Warner may possibly fill with regards to the video library would concentrate more on the ongoing efforts to digitize the entire library and distribute it to retailers & streaming services. This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would affect the end-user experience very much, aside from possibly some sort of change in which home video releases wind up on Netflix and when. (Alternatively, any significant changes as a result of these negotiations may occur on a higher corporate level than your humble writer can discern & clearly communicate. Stay tuned for a future edition of Wrestlenomics Radio, if this becomes relevant.)
- To celebrate the championship match at NXT Takeover and to preview what looks to be an upcoming match between the two, here’s a look back at a bout between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville in their previous characters. This match was from the critically acclaimed German promotion, wXw Wrestling.
And now, for something completely different, a selection of High Spot classics and other felicitations as related by the Madden GIFerator: