Posts Tagged ‘Velveteen Dream’

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 8

May 18, 2019

29 – Favorite NXT Entrance


Velveteen Dream

I have to choose Velveteen Dream here mostly because his entrance is pretty much different every time he enters anywhere. When he first showed up on the NXT scene, he was just a scrappy young guy who seemed to really like Prince but it was clear that his personality was ten times bigger than he was. Over time, his power seemed to accumulate and grow. He seemed to gain power over any arena’s lighting and sound by sheer force of charisma. He has used this to accentuate his appearances in ingenious ways. He has also used it to the detriment of his opponents. He was able to turn off a spotlight on Matt Riddle and move it to himself during a promo. During a series of taped promos for a five-way match, he countered Aleister Black’s fading the screen to black by snapping his fingers and making it bright purple instead. He is constantly thinking of controversial costumes to wear to the ring in order to draw deserved attention. He has dressed as performers from the past and has also worn clothes specifically to mock his opponents. He currently often has big muscled men carry him out on a couch to the stage, a couch which is also draped with beautiful women. You can watch his big, patriotic entrance from TakeOver: New York above for probably his biggest and best entrance yet.


Aleister Black

Kind of a cheat seeing as how Aleister Black is now on the main roster but I could not resist. The Halloween fan in me loves Black because of his inscrutable occult atmosphere and the martial arts and anime fan in me loves the way he moves. Black’s entrance is similar to the Undertaker’s entrance without going over the top with it. When I first saw the epic vampire sit up move, I lost my mind for a bit. It is easy to see how the trick is done but it still looks really badass. He also often has dozens of lit candles surrounding the stage for big matches which gives a really cool ambiance. Throw in some dry ice and you have a spooky entrance that also rocks because of his epic theme music. Also, at some point when they show his name up on the big screen, it is at first written in a font that reminds me of Enochian before it morphs into English. As the metal music pounds through the arena, he keeps his cool and stares with intensity at his opponent and readies himself for absolute carnage.

30 – Favorite NXT Entrance Music


Keith Lee – “Limitless”

I am a big fan of wrestlers who perform their own ring themes whether they are good or bad. Keith Lee made a name for himself by being nerdy, big, and quick. The rapping here is great along with the chorus of singers exhorting us to “Bask In His Glory”. It immediately tells you what Keith Lee is about. He thinks highly of himself but he definitely deserves to. He also shows how fun he is through wordplay and vocabulary. I have this song on rotation as one of my alarms to wake up to because it is just so fun. It is also a lot of fun to sing along to and the production value makes me have hope for how much they are going to invest in this obvious superstar.  He has been away for some time but I cannot wait to hear this theme ring out on NXT television again.


The Undisputed Era – “Undisputed”

When Adam Cole burst on the scene and recruited Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly to form the Undisputed Era, they needed a kickass theme to show they meant business. It starts with their initial mission statement which was their desire to “Shock the System” and take the place over. The slow grind of the guitar really sells the swaggering arrogance of the team and their usual smug and slow entrance. They take their time coming to the ring and this song is great for that without being boring. The guitars also allow Kyle O’Reilly to air guitar using his title belt (when he has one). A lot of people were not sold on the weird vocals throughout the song but the team really sold them by adding gestures in their entrance to accentuate them and give the song and themselves more character. Adam Cole’s smug smile as he points to himself on the “Boom” just immediately says so much about his character. They are fun assholes and this song definitely helps show that.

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What I Love About Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 7

May 4, 2019

27 – Favorite NXT Match


Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream
TakeOver: WarGames 2017

This was at a time when both Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream were new to the NXT scene and therefore were relatively unknown by the WWE Universe. In a short time, Aleister Black had earned a reputation as a brutal striker. With his Black Mass kick, he instantly obliterated his opponent and made them “fade to black”. He was clearly on the warpath toward the NXT Heavyweight Title and it was only a matter of time before he got his opportunity. At the same time, Velveteen Dream was extremely new and people did not quite know what to think of him. He was doing anything and everything to get a rise out of the crowd by being flamboyant and an instigator. He decided to confront Black to make a name for himself but Black’s indifference drove him insane until he was basically stalking Aleister Black. When their big match happened, it was less about winning for Dream but he just wanted acknowledgment from Aleister Black. He wanted acknowledgment from the NXT audience as well. Aleister just wanted to shut this man up and get him out of his face. The two went back and forth and Dream shocked the world by going toe to toe with a dominant performer. Finally, Black knocked out Dream and finished him off but before he left, he leaned down and spoke Dream’s name into a microphone. He gave the devil his due and so it ended up being a victory for both of them.


Matt Riddle vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black vs. Ricochet
NXT Television – March 20, 2019

With a week left to go until Wrestlemania weekend, the show opened with the bad news that Tomasso Ciampa was going in for neck surgery and his spot in the big TakeOver match was now open. That was the bad news. To make up for the sudden stop in a storyline years in the making, they decided to give the gift of a match for the honor of being in the main event. Getting to see all five of these guys in one episode was definitely special but having all of them in the same match was great. Their good conditioning made it so that all of them could keep going without as much of the usual rest periods during that match type. Riddle had not really gotten much of a chance to show his stuff and shined as an absolute beast. Dream got to mess with three of his past opponents and one future one. Aleister Black and Ricochet got their television farewell match as singles stars. Adam Cole got to show why he should be feared as a tough competitor and a fantastic opportunist. This was a great showcase for some great talent and made Cole a credible threat for his match with Gargano.

28 – Favorite NXT Takeover

TakeOver: New York (2019)

Proof that each TakeOver event is better than the last. While we were cheated out of the conclusion of the epic rivalry between Jonny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, there was still plenty more to love here. It started with an awesome tag match between the team of Aleister Black and Ricochet and the War Raiders. This was Ricochet and Aleister’s big sendoff as they would be off to the main roster the next night. Often when two giants face off against two smaller guys, the smaller guys get crushed. However, it was cool to see a highly competitive match between four potential hall of famers. Again, we got a similar story between Walter and Pete Dunne for the UK Championship. Walter is like a Terminator robot but Pete Dunne is a sadistic torturer and it went back and forth. Shayna Bayzler showed while she is still the champ by beating three women at once but Belair, Shirai, and Sane all got time to shine. Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole was a roller coaster that could have gone either way and made me happy. Velvet Dream vs. Matt Riddle stole the show as a great bout between two different personalities and two very different fighting styles. Riddle’s technical mastery and rage strength was no match for the sheer force of Dream’s will and resilience. Every match had me on the edge of my seat.


TakeOver: Toronto (2016)

First, we got Tye Dillinger during my favorite part of his career so far against Bobby Roode and both also got great entrances. This really felt like “The Great Entrances Takeover”. The Authors of Pain faced off against TM-61. It was a classic battle of two never say die high fliers throwing themselves at the big brutes to try and win but falling short. It was a shame that this was kind of the beginning of the end of TM-61 as a team. Mickie James made her return to the WWE after being a champ in TNA to face off against the undefeated Asuka. Asuka was a whirling buzzsaw of death but Mickey still gave the Empress of Tomorrow her first bit of trouble in a while. Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was a brutal affair with Joe basically being Godzilla and Nakamura attempting to still win the day. Finally, DIY vs. The Revival stole the show. This was back when Gargano and Ciampa were on the same page and they truly had all of the heart in the world. At the same time, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder of The Revival were built to be a tag team together. On top of that, this was a tag match with three falls which saw both teams try to steal each other’s best moves and gut it out for the win.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 7

March 30, 2019

20 – Favorite Current NXT Wrestler


Johnny Gargano

Gargano first appeared on WWE programming as part of the awesome Cruiser Weight Classic tournament. The tournament was a showcase for a lot of former indy darlings to show their stuff to a wider audience. Gargano failed to win the tournament but he formed a tag team with Tommaso Ciampa called DIY. He quickly established himself as the ultimate underdog. He also earned the nickname that crowds still chant at him: Johnny Wrestling. He embodies pro-wrestling, a scrappy fighter who could never quit because it is just not who he is. When he and Tommaso had their falling out, it turned into a bloody war that took both performers to another level. Gargano eventually took on a dark streak, a quirk in his personality which allowed the character to become more versatile. “Never say die” was merged with “Win at all cost” and Johnny Wrestling finally became Johnny Champion. He is one of the most well-rounded wrestlers on the roster. He can counter just about any move, he can fly high, he can twist his opponents into pretzels, he strikes like a man possessed, and he is incredibly charismatic. He is currently on the verge of possibly being brought up to the main roster but I hope he stays down in NXT. His feud with Ciampa was put on hold for at least a year due to Ciampa’s neck injury and I am excited to see where they go next. Also, I want to see what he gets up to next. Coming up, he is going to have a hell of a match with Adam Cole during Wrestlemania weekend and then the sky is the limit.


Velveteen Dream

The man who would become Velveteen Dream started his career in Maryland Championship Wrestling (local to me) and showed a lot of talent and promise. When he was first introduced to the WWE Universe, he went by his given name of Patrick Clark. He disappeared for a while and then reappeared on NXT television as the Velveteen Dream. I was immediately skeptical. He has a strange gimmick that was hard to grab onto immediately. At first, I thought it was just a Prince ripoff (one of his signature moves is called “The Purple Rainmaker”) but it is so much more than that. He uses the eccentricity of Prince as a jumping off point and then he adds in elements of Deion Sanders, The Rock, Ric Flair, and his own brand of meta-storytelling that blends into an interesting and entertaining character. He continues to captivate me and he just seems to get better and better as his career continues. The more outlandish Dream gets, the more entertaining he gets. I cannot wait to see what he does next because he will make sure that nobody ever forgets him.

21 – Favorite Current NXT Female Wrestler


Bianca Belair

I was skeptical of Bianca at first, thinking she was just loud and her personality was a little grating at first. However, she really grew on me. I first spotted her in the first Mae Young Classic tournament. She was brash and I thought there was not much more to her than the gimmick of using her ponytail to whip opponents. The first thing I noticed once she actually started appearing on NXT television was that she was immensely strong for somebody who was not very tall. When she turned babyface, her brashness was not as annoying but it was endearing. It was kind of like The Rock’s first heel turn. All it took was a change of alignment and the proper opponents for me to start to get into her. She is a homegrown talent for WWE and they obviously see a lot in her as they keep pushing her to the forefront. She labeled herself “The EST of NXT” (meaning that she is the fastEST, strongEST, and greatEST). For a long time she was undefeated but thankfully, they ended that streak because those streaks just get boring after a while. Now that it is only her mindset that is “Un-De-Fea-Ted” she has become a much more interesting character. Her recent turn to the dark side, stemming from frustration and ambition, has been interesting to watch and I cannot wait until she gets to beat the holy hell out of somebody again.


Kairi Sane

Kairi was the winner of the first Mae Young Classic, beating out actual MMA fighter and friend of Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler. She was trained in Japan as part of a company that specialized in joshi puroresu style which landed her in a dominant trio where she learned her current style. What drew me to Kairi at first was her enthusiasm for pro-wrestling and her character. She came on the scene with a pirate gimmick which she leaned into so hard that it was impossible for me not to get into it. To this day she continues to bring a ship’s wheel or a spyglass to the ring. It just looks like she is having fun playing pirate and that fun is contagious. However, when the bell rings, playtime is over and she is just as hard-hitting as any other performer. As a high-flyer, it feels like she has a higher vertical leap than most. She puts everything into every movement and every mannerism. Now she has been joined by her old teammate Io Shirai and the two have formed the Sky Pirates, a new version of their old team. She and Io are just so cute and I get a lot of joy out of watching cute people kicking the crap out of their opponents.

23 – Favorite Current NXT Tag Team


Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan

Oney Lorcan was one of those guys who looked fairly nondescript and he did not seem to have a lot of personality. Over time, he was used as a guy who had a reputation of being super tough and they often put him against somebody debuting to showcase the newcomer’s toughness. It felt like Oney was never going to go beyond a cult following, slowly building that reputation as a hard worker and a tough guy. However, he then got into a feud with British wrestler Danny Burch. Danny Burch was like the English equivalent of Oney, two tough guys straight out of a Guy Ritchie movie. After fighting, the two seemed to form a genuine appreciation of each other and then a real friendship. Playing off Oney’s name, they started saluting the crowd as number one and number two. They also started to dress like they were palette swaps in a video game with one wearing red trunks and the other wearing blue trunks. For two guys primarily known as being tough, they can really move and are able to accomplish some great technical feats as well. They are able to get the crowd fired up without getting much time on the microphone which is a heck of a feat in today’s WWE.


Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven)

Back in the day, Trent Seven actually trained Tyler Bate during a pro-wrestling resurgence in England. Bate and Seven joined up with Pete Dunne to form a stable known as British Strong Style. The trio created a hybrid style between Japanese Strong Style and traditional British wrestling. While Dunne is a more vicious wrestler, Seven and Bate have been able to create their own separate but similar style. I really like a good tag team that can kick butt but also entertains at the same time. Bate especially excels at physical comedy but both of them are always ready to crack a joke either on the microphone or by playing pranks in the ring. They are called Moustache Mountain because both of them sport curled English mustaches. However, their other nickname is “Big Strong Boys” which is what crowds like to chant. Both names go with their playfulness and willingness to play to the crowd. The two of them are currently competing in both NXT and NXT UK as they have great crossover appeal.


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