Wrestling is a funny place sometimes. On Sunday night, I was sure I knew what I was going to talk about here as Kofi Kingston had a career making performance, which is all the more impressive as he’s eleven years into a Hall of Fame career already. He had the crowd in Houston ready to see him win the title and while he came up short, you knew something special was happening and it’s not his last chance. That’s as easy of a column as you’re going to get…and then it was Monday.

This week on Monday Night Raw, and again on SmackDown Live, the NXT quartet of Aleister Black, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and Ricochet made their main roster debuts in what seems to be permanent moves. While I’m still not sure what this means for NXT, this certainly shook things up and made the big shows a little more interesting, at least for the time being. It was a big surprise and now I knew what to talk about….and then Kingston pinned Daniel Bryan again and became #1 contender.

So let’s talk about both of them.

We’ll start with Kingston, who at least got this whole thing started. I’ve been a big Kingston fan for a long time, mainly because he reminds me of one of my all time favorites: Tito Santana. While never a top star in his own right, Santana was one of the most versatile wrestlers on the roster and could have a good to great match with anyone. You could put him in a singles match and get a heck of a spectacle or put him in there with a partner and things would go well. If push came to shove, you could have him be a one off challenger for the World Title and fans would buy that a miracle could happen.

Tell me you couldn’t see Kingston doing this:

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Does this sound familiar? While much better with the comedy stuff than Santana (who was mostly serious), Kingston is very similar in nature as he’s been around the midcard/tag team scene for years. Somehow, his upcoming match against Bryan at Fastlane will be his first one on one World Title match in his entire WWE career. You would think that somewhere along the way that would have happened but believe it or not, we’re still waiting on the first one.

So that brings us to the big question: can Kingston win? In a word, yes. Now I don’t know if he actually will or if it’s going to be another version of what happened at Elimination Chamber where he got so very close but came up short in the end, but either way we’re in for what should be an instant classic. Kingston and Bryan can have a good match with anyone and they’ve shown they have the chemistry together.

Couple that with a white hot crowd and this could be an instant classic in the vein of Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero from No Way Out 2004 or Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton from Royal Rumble 2008. It’s a very simple yet hard to pull off story: can *insert underdog face name here* actually do it? That’s where WWE has you because it could go either way, and that’s how good booking works. You take two people and put them in a match where either is a strong possibility and convince the fans to put their money down to see what is going to happen. They’ve done it here and it could be great.

I’d say he’s got a shot:

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But will it happen? That’s where I’m not so sure, though it’s not out of the question. Looking back at the names mentioned above, Guerrero won the title but Hardy didn’t, and both had a comparable legacy to Kingston at the moment. The other thing working against Kingston is the upcoming WrestleMania 35. I know Kingston is popular now, but is he popular enough to carry a World Title into the biggest show of the year? I’m not sure about that, though a screwy finish and a rematch there could work, and wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. It could happen, though I’m not sure it will.

With that out of the way, we also have the entire NXT situation, which came even more out of nowhere than Kingston’s rise to the top. It had next to no notice and then here come these four huge names, all of whom seem to have unfinished business left down in NXT. It’s not clear if these people are coming to the main roster full time, though their appearances on a second should would suggest that there is more to it than a one off time. That makes things all the more confusing.

These guys looked good to start:

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The first question I have is why did these four get called up? I understand the idea of bringing up these four specific names as they’re among the most talented down in NXT, but this makes nine names making their main roster debuts in about a month. The first batch has barely made an impact with Lacey Evans wrestling on Main Event more than anything else, Heavy Machinery just being weird and mainly wrestling in multi-team matches, Nikki Cross coming and going and EC3 not being able to talk. With those kind of results, I’m not exactly thrilled with the new group’s prospects.

However, there is some hope this time around as the quartet has already been treated as much bigger deals with a bunch of big wins with the four of them all looking like they’re more than capable of being big stars on the main roster. Now of course there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be the case, but at least they’re being treated better than those names who just appeared as a way to “fix” the problems that WWE was going through for several months.

The thing is though, it’s not exactly a secret that these four are there for the exact same reason. WWE’s television ratings are nothing short of a disaster right now and they need to do something to make things better. Are these four the solution? I’m not sure, but they certainly seem to be at least something new. There are major problems on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live (though they do tend to go together, even if SmackDown Live is miles better than Monday Night Raw at the moment) and while some fresh, talented names will help deal with that, it’s not the big solution the shows need. They could help though.

He kicked the man in the head:

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The good sign for these four though is what felt like some effort on Tuesday night. Monday Night Raw saw these names just appear with no build or hype, meaning that if you don’t watch NXT, you have no idea who they are. Some vignettes, or at least promos, aired on SmackDown Live and amazingly enough, the crowd’s reactions were that much stronger for the second attempt. That’s not a guarantee as the first batch of names had vignettes of their own, but it’s not like these people were brought in completely cold on their second night. If WWE continues going in that direction, there’s a much better chance of them succeeding.

Insane in more than one way:

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This was a wild week for WWE with two major stories happening at once. Sometimes you can go months at a time without one but we got two in just a few days. Neither of them have any concrete future, but with Kingston at least getting a chance and the new four having some pretty nice debuts, there is a strong possibility that things are picking up on the Road to WrestleMania. Even if these moves are just short term, it’s better than sitting around waiting on the big show to get here, and at this point, that’s a big upgrade for WWE. Now just don’t screw either of them up, even if that tends to be WWE’s nature.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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