WWE

WWE: Prince Neville’s rise to the throne

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Making waves: Prince Neville is continuing to gather popularity in the WWE.

It may have been Preston-born Bad News Barrett who took the WWE King of the Ring crown but it is his compatriot and losing finalist Neville who is making huge waves in the company.

Neville, a product of the WWE NXT roster and former NXT champion, has delighted fans with his high-flying intensity in the ring ever since being introduced to the main roster in a thrilling Monday Night Raw a day after WrestleMania 31.

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Billed as “The Man that Gravity Forgot”, Neville hasn’t quite swept all before him but he has proven a superb technician in the ring and not once has a fight of his disappointed.

The Geordie has introduced the obscenely athletic Red Arrow finisher and a combative style that belies his more obvious skills from the top.

He is a remarkable athlete and the WWE are taking notice.

Having pulled them out of a hole by admirably filling in for fan favourite (and fellow NXT graduate) Daniel Bryan at Extreme Rules and on the back of his tremendous start on the main card, Neville most recently took a run at the King of the Ring title, beating some star names en route.

Neville accounted for Luke Harper and another Brit, Sheamus, before an admirable defeat to Barrett.

Not only is his rise great for fans in his home country and the WWE but it is also further evidence of the success of the WWE’s feeder show WWE NXT. 

Not only Bryan, but Heath Slater, Harper and the Wyatt family and the entire Shield crew, which now sees Seth Rollins as WWE Champion and Roman Reigns taking top billing, have all made the step up from NXT prospect to the main roster.

The latest man to do so is Sami Zayn.

The Syrian-Canadian featured for the first time on WWE Raw this week, taking on John Cena and the man that vied with Neville for the NXT championship less than two months ago has all the potential to follow his good friend towards the upper echelons of the middle card and beyond.

With the likes of Zayn and Neville on the rise the future is bright for the WWE. The future is NXT.

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WWE

R. Reigns vs Big Show saves Extreme Rules

Barnaby Read 28/04/2015
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Enthralling match-up between the two giants.

It was just a week ago that this column stated that the future for two of the WWE’s greatest characters, The Big Show and Kane, were at breaking point in terms of their in-ring futures.

At the Extreme Rules PPV we saw one excel and the other continue to disappoint.

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The night’s main event pitted World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins against Randy Orton in the tantalising prospect of a steel cage match on the back of a rivalry which has gained fierce momentum in recent weeks.

While the pair were predictably reliable in combat it was the distraction of Kane as ‘gatekeeper’ which took enough of the shine off of the showdown to render it good rather than great.

Had the two been let to get on with it and let the animosity and their in-ring chemistry do the talking, we would surely have walked away from this pay-per-view with jaws dropped.

The two will continue their battles in the coming weeks and there will surely be a classic sooner rather than later but it felt like a missed opportunity inside the steel structure.

Meanwhile, Big Show and Reigns stole the headlines in an enthralling matchup that saw them leave a trail of broken tables in their wake.

It was a much-needed strong performance from Show, who thrived in partnership with Reigns.

The latter’s presence at the top of the card following defeat at WrestleMania is encouraging and shows how much the WWE rate him. In showing him as the man that refuses to give up and overcoming the

World’s Strongest Athlete in such a manner, the WWE also managed to sell Reigns as a rightful wrestler at the top of the table.

Elsewhere on the card, John Cena and Rusev met in the Russian Chain Match with the former successfully defending his US Title.

A sluggish affair, a lot was lost in the failure of either Superstar making the most of the weapon at their disposal. It culminated in a rather disappointing third part of the trilogy between the pair.

A major positive from the night was Adrian Neville continuing his impressive transition from NXT top dog to main roster middle card combatant in superb style.

Filling in for the injured Daniel Bryan, Neville took on Bad News Barrett with a display that further enhanced his growing reputation.

Darren Ambrose secured a much needed win, Nikki Bella retained her WWE Divas title and The New Day claimed the Tag Titles at Extreme Rules in less memorable showings.

None of them were failures but neither did they leave lasting memories from the PPV.

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WWE TLC: The demise of Kane, once the most feared superstar of all

Barnaby Read 21/04/2015
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Demise: The once granite-like Kane has become less imposing in recent years.

Last week in this column we took great joy in a plethora of Monty Python references which, in relation to the WWE’s handling of Kane ended with: ‘Now, something completely different.’

The Big Red Monster has been The Authority’s suited muscle for a while and all the demon and terror seems to be lost from Hell’s masked madman.

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His constant to-ing and fro-ing between corporate pawn and loose cannon has surrounded the character’s 18-year career ever since Glenn Jacobs was first introduced to the world as The Undertaker’s disfigured half brother by the late Paul Bearer in 1997.

While the theme didn’t dominate Kane’s peak years during the Attitude era like it has in the last decade, he was still seen at the time siding with The Corporation and was a central figure to those epic disputes between heel and face.

During this week’s RAW, Kane was once again thrust into the centre of the dispute between Seth Rollins and Randy Orton but with much less success. The simple fact is a Kane in a suit is of little joy to watch.

Kane in a mask, with red light draping an arena prior to flames from the ring posts is a much greater spectacle.

It seems that once again Kane will turn face, most likely as the gatekeeper for Rollins’ Heavyweight title defence against Orton at Extreme Rules on May 4 but the big question mark is over the director of operations’ (he handed his notice in on RAW) future in the ring.

Both he and fellow Authority muscle The Big Show have become far less imposing, cumbersome Superstars as the years have worn on and their place in the company amid its bold young generation is harder to sell than ever before.

Neither were ever the most electrifying of entertainers in the ring but they were so in many other ways.

They could sell a spot, they could dominate the roster in the manner in which Brock Lesnar makes viewers believe it is the only thing that is possible and they could turn heel or face without it feeling like a matter of time.

Both are legends of the WWE and deserve their time in the sun, but as it starts to fade you have to hope no legacies are left burnt.

Now may be the time to put both out to pasture or use them as bumps up the roster for breakthrough acts. Failing that, at the very least, their presence could be made more mythical and appetite whetting as ‘Takers yearly call to arms at WrestleMania.

The Deadman will be sorely missed by the WWE Universe, it will be a shame if Kane and Show are not.

MOVE OF THE WEEK – Randy Orton’s RKO ‘Outta Nowhere’

Orton has found the perfect man to sell the biggest RKO’s in history. First there was the absolute beast that he planted on Rollins at WrestleMania and then this week’s huge finisher inside the steel cage. It’s is a darn shame that Orton cannot use this when the two meet at Extreme Rules.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK – #RKOOuttaNowhereII

Orton’s sensational move on Rollins ended a night where he sought out as many wrestlers as possible in a bid to RKO them.

It brought back beautiful memories of the Vines that flooded our social media streams so here’s a little recap of one of the best uses in social media we can remember.

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