With the past few pay-per-views, I’ve been taking a look at the finalized cards and evaluating who I think (at least at the time) was a noticeable absence. Sometimes, it’s due to injury, while other times, it’s simply a lack of WWE providing them with a match.
For the first time, I will be applying this concept to the NXT TakeOver: Respect, so it’s important to keep in mind that in this scenario, the main roster is essentially off limits. NXT shows don’t make a habit of using the primary talent, so there’s no reason to have expected someone like Seth Rollins or John Cena to participate at this event.
Keeping it strictly to the NXT roster, though, there are still some wrestlers I’m surprised to see not on the card, especially when I look at who is officially booked.
Let’s dig into it!
Over the past several weeks, Bull Dempsey has been feuding with Tyler Breeze, which saw the master of the Bull-Fit program clash with Prince Pretty, as they were about as opposite as they could get.
The feud made a lot of sense and had a nice spark to it after they teamed up in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. After losing, Breeze lashing out and blaming it on Dempsey was the natural progression, as was a match between the two.
However, did that really need to happen so quickly? This could have been saved for TakeOver, rather than being done on one of the normal episodes. It definitely feels to me that Dempsey’s program with Breeze was rushed in order to make sure Apollo Crews had someone new to face at the event, since he’s a new priority.
Granted, I understand WWE putting more stock in showing off Crews than Dempsey, especially since this card will be pressed for time, but the Breeze feud did seem a bit rushed. Hopefully, Dempsey will be booked to cause a distraction of sorts against Breeze, allowing Crews to get the victory. That is the best way to incorporate everything we’ve seen over the past few weeks and not just brush Dempsey off to the side. That would be Bull-S…wait, wrong word.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
This is the second TakeOver special in a row where the most popular team on this brand was left off the card, and I’m starting to get suspicious as to why. They made perfect sense to be booked in Brooklyn, but were just part of the pre-show taping of a regular NXT episode. Now, this is an event where one of the selling points is a tag team tournament, but the most over tag team is nowhere to be seen? Do they have heat on them for something? Are they just not viewed as a priority WWE wants to invest in? If so, why? The crowd reactions alone should negate that idea, and their in-ring work has improved, too.
It seems every time fans are expecting something big to come their way, Enzo and Cass are passed over for another team. They had chances to defeat The Ascension, The Lucha Dragons as well as Blake and Murphy for the Tag Team Championship, yet fell short. If WWE didn’t want to have them win the belts, that’s one thing, but this is a tournament with nothing on the line but bragging rights, so surely they could have won this with little ramifications.
The two guys who can pop the crowd the most out of the tag team division (possibly even including the main roster) are sitting this one out, but The Mechanics aren’t. Just think about that.
If you thought it was odd for Enzo and Cass to be ignored here, the lack of The Vaudevillains makes even less sense! These guys are the champions of the tag team division, so they should be considered the favorites to win the whole thing. Not only is that not going to happen, they didn’t even make it to the semifinals!
It’s amazing to think that the NXT Tag Team Championship isn’t represented in a tag team tournament, as The Vaudevillains were beaten in the quarterfinals by a team that has been forgotten about and utilized mostly as jobbers for a long, long time. It can be argued that having The Mechanics win their upset match provides a level of shock value to the tournament, as they were far from favorites to go the distance, but it’s also weird to think that Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder could be wrestling two matches on a cramped card with the four men in the two teams listed on this article just twiddling their thumbs.
Looking at the brackets, I would have assumed Finn Balor and Samoa Joe would go up against either Baron Corbin and Rhyno or Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, while The Vaudevillains (or Enzo and Cass, for that matter) would face the other heel team and The Mechanics would be left out entirely. Curious…very curious.
So there you have it, my list of the people that I’m surprised aren’t booked for NXT TakeOver: Respect. Who would be on your list? Do you agree or disagree with the names I’ve singled out? Leave your comments below!