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Byrons Articles

It was nothing short of a groundbreaking matchup that the NXT Universe was moments away from witnessing: Bayley vs. Asuka for the Women’s Championship at NXT Takeover: Dallas.

Just minutes before the epic encounter inside the sold-out Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, with the cheers of the rabid NXT Universe reverberating in the background, NXT Women’s Champion Bayley found solace seemingly away from the rest of the world. A dark hallway, with no soul in sight, provided her the opportunity to digest the magnitude of her impending title defense. Sadly, despite a valiant effort, the beloved Superstar would fall to Asuka and thus watch her 223-day reign as NXT Women’s Champion reach its conclusion.

Nearly four months later, Bayley now finds herself on the verge of a redemptive opportunity to right that unforgettable loss in Dallas.

“Winning back that title has always been my top priority, because being the best has always been my goal in NXT,” Bayley told WWE.com.

In the same week that Bayley witnessed seven of her colleagues get drafted to the respective brands of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, it seems the quest to regain the NXT Women’s Championship has taken permanent residency in the mind of the beloved NXT Superstar.

“Ever since I lost the Women’s Championship to Askua, I feel like I’ve been targeted in a whole different way,” she revealed. “People have tried to keep me down and keep me away from the title picture to make sure that I never get a chance again. And personally, I’ve struggled with a lot of doubt in myself at times.”

Last night on NXT, Bayley took a major step toward shaking that doubt by pinning newly drafted Raw Superstar Nia Jax. Now, the inevitable — a rematch with NXT Women’s Champion Askua — appears to be around the corner.

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Byrons Articles

The Revival aren’t satisfied with being the only two-time NXT Tag Team Champions in history. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder are intent on showing the world that they’re one of the best duos of all time.

Following the NXT Tag Team Championship Match at TakeOver: The End…, there were two predominant emotions exuding from the hallway leading back to the locker rooms. On one end, a feeling of heartbreak and disappointment as American Alpha’s Jason Jordan & Chad Gable were forced to part with their identity as NXT Tag Team Champions. The other? Exuberance and triumph as Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder accomplished what no other team has ever achieved in NXT, becoming two-time Tag Team Champions.

“There’s a reason we’re called The Revival,” a beaming Dawson told WWE.com. “It’s not a cute name to slap on a T-shirt. We’re bringing back the art of team fighting. When I say we’re the absolute best tag team on this planet, I postivitely mean it, 100 percent.

“Now, being the only team to be champions twice over, we’ve proven we’re the best team ever in NXT history — official ‘top guys,’” Dawson added. “Soon, we’ll prove we’re better than The Midnight Express, The Hart Foundation or The Brain Busters ever were.”

Though Dawson’s aspirations of legendary status may seem farfetched to some, the motiviation for his attitude is legitimate. Once deemed a tag team that was destined for opening matches and little else, The Revival found a way to ascend to the top of the Tag Team division. Yet, following their loss to American Alpha nearly three months ago at NXT TakeOver: Dallas, doubts were once again levied about Dawson & Wilder’s ability to achieve consistent success.

“What people think carries no weight or influence. They do not matter to us,” Wilder yelled. “They do not have any effect on the outcomes of our matches. They can believe or feel whatever they want — that won’t change things. We’re the top guys, and we have the potential to be one of the best teams of our generation. People said we’d lose the titles to American Alpha and that we’d never have them again. Now we get to look at their faces every time we walk out with our championships.”

One might surmise that the new two-time champions could be even more dangerous than before. After all, The Revival have already displayed a willingness to injure and disable their opponents, all in the spirit of winning. The question is, to what lengths are they willing to go to keep those titles? Dawson provided some insight with what he refers to as “The Revival’s Rules for Success.”

“One, never deviate from our plan,” he explained. “Two, never care whether we please the fans. Three, show zero remorse. Four, walk back thorugh the curtain and straight to the pay window.”

For a team that fashions themselves as the “best on the planet,” could those rules of success very well create the perfect recipe for the greatest tag team in NXT history? Will American Alpha once again regain the crown, or will another team rise from the shuffle to steal the thunder of the NXT Tag Team Champions? For those would-be challengers plotting to spoil The Revival’s reign, the titleholders have a stern warning.

“This ain’t a fantasy world,” Dawson said. “This is our real life. This is how we feed our families. Big money goes to big winners, and The Revival fight to win. Anyone who tries to take food off our families’ plates will be dealt with accordingly.”

Follow Scott Dawson on Twitter @ScottDawsonWWE and Dash Wilder @DashWilderWWE.



Byrons Articles

As Finn Bálor stares down his Steel Cage Match against NXT Champion Samoa Joe, the challenger contemplates not just regaining NXT’s top prize, but also his role as locker room leader.

Finn Bálor was approaching an unprecedented 300-day reign as NXT Champion. Enter a fateful night in Lowell, Massachusetts, on April 21, and Bálor’s life took a dramatic turn. It was on that night that heated rival Samoa Joe defeated Bálor and captured the NXT Championship.

“It was definitely a feeling of surrealism,” Bálor revealed to WWE.com. “You tend to picture winning the championship. You always have the dreams and vision of how you are going to win, but you never imagine how you are going to lose. I remember feeling like an ant laying on the mat with Joe standing over me.

“I had the championship for 292 days, so that title became a part of me and who I was, and what I represented,” Bálor explained. “After all the hard work I put into NXT, and to suddenly wake up one day and realize that title, achievement and crown you’ve worked so hard for isn’t there, it forced me to start questioning my ability and whether or not I belonged.”

It seems only appropriate that Bálor will have a chance to rid himself of that doubt when he challenges Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover: The End… on June 8. Adding to those raised stakes is the fact that both men will compete for NXT’s most prized possession inside a steel cage.

“I realize the pressure is on and it’s gonna be a big match,” the challenger said. “This is my first time in the cage. I’m gonna be nervous going into it, but I work best under pressure. I thrive on nerves.”

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Byrons Articles

From reluctant partners to NXT Tag Team Champions,Chad Gable & Jason Jordan reflect on their path to glory.

“All of my hard work, the injuries and surgeries I suffered over the last five years, everything that I sacrificed and underwent to stick with it, it all finally paid off,” Jason Jordan revealed as he reflected on his and Chad Gable’s emotional NXT Tag Team Championship victory at NXT Takeover: Dallas.

Perhaps the victory for the team known as American Alpha has taught all of us a lesson in irony. Last July, the two Superstars formed what many thought would be a tentative partnership, at best. After all, it was Gable who spent weeks lobbying to be Jordan’s tag partner, much to Jordan’s chagrin.

“I take blame for the lukewarm start, because I was stubborn and wanted a tag partner that I handpicked myself,” Jordan confessed to WWE.com. “When I got over my ego, I realized that I had a potentially great tag partner, and he was begging for a chance to prove it. Once we officially teamed up, Chad and I had chemistry like no other.”

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Byrons Articles

NXT’s Jerz-repping, pizza-loving rookie talks about her humble beginnings and the importance of staying true to yourself.

Regular viewers of NXT may have noticed her penchant for wearing a baseball cap and sneakers to the ring, or perhaps her football jersey, which pays homage to her home state of New Jersey.

With an unabashed sense of individuality, Liv Morgan has arrived on the scene of NXT. Also bringing with her a glowing excitement and an affirmative outlook, she realizes just how lucky she is to be competing under the NXT banner.

“To have made it here is completely humbling and beyond anything I could have imagined,” she told WWE.com. “I wake up every day excited to learn.”

After being discovered at Joe DeFranco’s Gym in Wyckoff, N.J., Liv began training at the WWE Performance Center in October 2014. It’s an experience she describes as a childhood dream come true.

“I grew up a huge wrestling fan,” she said. “My mom was a single parent raising six kids, and she worked very hard to provide whatever she could for us. We didn’t have fancy material items, but we had cable, which meant we had WWE broadcasting multiple times a week. That completely took over our lives. I fell in love with it the first moment I watched.”

Liv’s love of WWE consumed her so much that she and her four older brothers built a makeshift ring in the backyard of their Elmwood Park, N.J., home.

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Byrons Articles

They say it’s not often the loudest person in the room whom you should fear, but rather the individual whom subscribes to silence while watching the chaos of the world evolve around him. Enter NXT’s newest Superstar, Elias Samson. After a successful debut on the Dec. 23 edition of NXT, there seems only an added layer of mystery behind Samson and his purpose within NXT.

“So many on the NXT roster are face-value humans; not me,” the self-proclaimed “Drifter” told WWE.com. “No one has known me long enough to even get close, and they may never know because I keep my distance.

“Being The Drifter means I live on my own terms,” Samson added. “This is how I choose to see the world and live my life — wearing what I want, saying what I want, and making the music I want, and being true to myself at all times.”

The NXT Universe was first exposed to Samson thanks to a series of black-and-white videos in which he displayed his acoustic guitar prowess, plus spouted lyrics of masqueraders and the need for a liberator. Samson took things a step further by carrying his guitar to the ring as an eerie symbol of companionship.

“Creating music is the most liberating thing, next to what I do in the ring,” he said. “Free thinking, no rules, no regulations, no limits. My guitar is an extension of me. Who I am is wrapped up in my guitar. It’s my baby, and like my baby, I will not let anyone do any harm to it, nor let it out of my sight. The NXT roster is filled with masqueraders. People hiding behind masks, figuratively and literally. Personas that aren’t showing who they are. I will show them that. That’s why I am the liberator. I am who I say I am, and ain’t nobody know me better than me.”

Though his underlying feelings of judgment toward other NXT Superstars could be the source of controversy, it is Elias Samson’s conviction that is most striking. Samson truly believes NXT needs his presence now more than ever. With his guitar by his side, The Drifter plans to dish out his form of punishment to those he deems unfit to serve under the NXT banner.

“NXT is craving for someone to break out of the mold and give them something they can grab onto and believe, see, hear, feel and be captivated by,” Samson said. “It’s not something you may see at first; you may only catch glimpses of it here and there, but eventually, and undeniably, you will wonder how NXT existed before Elias Samson, before The Drifter. I go where I am needed, and I am needed here.”



Byrons Articles

With NXT TakeOver: London in the rear-view mirror, it’s full speed ahead to the holidays. This week, some of your favorite NXT competitors take a trip down memory lane as they recount their own fond memories of Christmas past.

Jason Jordan
“My favorite Christmas memory is from when I was 7 years old. My family had just moved into a new house after staying in a two-bedroom apartment for some time. I remember waking up extremely early on Christmas morning and trying to wake my parents up. They told me to wait a little longer and go back to bed for a little bit. I tried to sleep but I was way too excited.

“Eventually, we all went downstairs to open presents. One present that stands out the most was this Fisher-Price three-in-one game table. It had billiards, air hockey (without the air) and ping pong. After opening presents, my parents started cooking a huge dinner because both sides of the family were coming over. What made this memory my favorite was that it was the first Christmas in our new home and the entire family was together! It was a great Christmas!”

Eva Marie
“My family wouldn’t ever decorate or get our Christmas tree until after Dec. 10, because my oldest brother’s birthday is on the ninth and we never wanted his birthday to pass like it wasn’t special. I was always responsible for putting Santa’s cookies and the reindeer food out on Christmas Eve.

“Once we did get to the celebration, one of my favorite memories was watching all the Christmas movies that came on. One of our favorite quotes was always from ‘A Christmas Story’: ‘You’ll shoot your eye out!’ Honorable mention also goes out to ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’! As a kid I just always remember Christmas as a time of all of us being together! It’s all about love, family and enjoying amazing food.”

Chad Gable
“My favorite Christmas memory was from a couple years ago, when I took my nephew sledding with my brother. I’ll never forget how funny he thought it was when my brother (a heavyweight) and I went down together on a sled and took a massive spill that actually hurt pretty bad. But it was hard not to laugh it off when we saw how happy it made him.”

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