Jingle Jingle, everyone. We’re putting a bow on the Presence of Presents feature here at The Fantasy Book. Today, we shall distribute presents to the fine folks at NXT and maybe even throw a few NJPW’s way. Let the gifting begin!
- The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) – These guys are getting better in the ring, but they are still sloppy. This makes me worried for their opponents’ health. So I would like to gift the AOP two gifts. First, extra training sessions to help work out their kinks. And second, a solid personal liability insurance plan which can cover any disasters they might cause.
- Paul Ellering – I decided to gift Paul Ellering separately from the Authors of Pain, because my gift to him is freedom from having to manage this team. And his personal shark cage to hang out above the ring whenever he wants.
- Alexander Wolfe – Honestly, and this might be the case for a fair amount of these NXT guys, I haven’t seen very much of Wolfe. I think his place in Sanity is a good place for him to learn and grow, so I would say his gift would be the Sanity faction staying in tact and developing into a major force in NXT.
- Andrade “Cien” Almas – I like Almas. I like Almas so much better as a heel though. I am very glad they did the turn. My gift for Almas would be a nice run in the top tier of NXT, challenging for the title along the way. I think he would really get over with the Full Sail crowd as a cocky heel.
- Angelo Dawkins – See Alexander Wolfe above. Continued improvement and continued improvement is my wish for him.
- Austin Aries – Given that Aries is now a commentator for 205 Live, my guess is he may start to slow his in-ring work. I know Itami is injured, but I was looking forward to a bunch of great matches from those guys. I am not sure that Aries should get a run with the NXT title, but I think he would be a great Number One contender and give Nakamura a great match Wrestlemania weekend perhaps?
- Buddy Murphy – Now that his tag team with Wesley Blake is finished, my best wish for him is to have a nice little singles run in the mid-card. He could be a pretty decent jobber to the stars and maybe have a decent feud or two in the mid-card.
- The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) – I really enjoy the work of The Revival. I am worried about how they would be received by the wider WWE audience however. Their work is awesome, but it isn’t flashy, and crowds tend to pop for flashy. I’d say have The Revival retake the NXT tag team titles sometime in the next few months from DIY and then have them fued with TM61 up through Wrestlemania. I would also keep the NXT titles on them for a record run with the belts.
- Elias Samson – No one seems to like the drifter. I have no feelings for him either way. I do think he might need some new scenery. My gift for him would be a nice little contract with TNA. Maybe that will help him put down roots and stop the drifting.
- Eric Young – I like the idea of Young leading a faction into pro wrestling battle. Young has the charisma in spades to be able to pull that off. While I am not sure Sanity is the group that will get Young to the top, I do like the concept and the execution thus far. My gift to Young is a year of making young faces look awesome until he eventually turns on his Sanity group and becomes a babyface himself.
- Hideo Itami – This is probably the easiest one on this list to give a gift. I wish Itami a full year of health. Stay off the damn injured list, dude.
- DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) – I like what DIY has done as a team. I think that speaks volumes for Gargano and Ciampa as performers as well as NXT’s deft use of their tag teams. I do wish for this team to break up in the New Year however. Nothing personal to the team, I just want to see Gargano and Ciampa in singles competition. Let them start the new year with the belts and then drop them to The Revival sometime in the next couple month. I do not want to see Gargano and Ciampa fight each other though. Have them split amicably, maybe have one match against each other as a final blow-off, and then send them both up to WWE. I would put Gargano into the Cruiserweight division immediately and shake it up. And Ciampa, well, I am super high on him. I would bring him in and have him start working with The Miz, challenging for the Intercontinental program. I think the Sicilian Sociopath would bring a crazed energy to an Intercontinental program and would put Ciampa on the map instantly. (Eventually, I would like to see Ciampa versus Cedric Alexander again, but I don’t want Ciampa limited to the cruiserweight division.)
- TM-61 (Nick Miller and Shane Thorne) – I would like to see TM-61 be taken seriously as a team in NXT. I think a nice feud over the NXT titles with The Revival, culminating in a match during Wrestlemania weekend would be terrific for this team.
- No Way Jose – How Jose has gotten over is a mystery to me. Maybe it is the stupid name. So let’s give him a new name as a gift. How about his real name, Levis Valenzuela Jr? Or Jose Valenzuela?
- Oney Lorcan – Lorcan has already debuted on the main rosters and looked pretty good. I’d say he should keep working sporadic dates on the main rosters and establish himself as sort of a “gatekeeper” role in NXT. Sort of like Silas Young in ROH. He can be the guy people need to go through before they can be established as a main eventer, or before they can move to the main rosters.
- Roderick Strong – Aside from Itami, Roddy is the easiest to give a present to. Roddy is great in the ring, but he is lacking something very important. A personality. So prepare for a big old gift of personality, Mr. Strong.
- Samoa Joe – Ok, Joe. You’ve made your point in NXT. Now get your butt up to the main rosters and start kicking ass up there. I’d suggest starting off on Raw and working through people until you are main eventing against Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, etc. Joe is the first guy I have ever watched where the chant “Joe’s gonna kill you!” made a lot of sense and the WWE main rosters need that intensity.
- Sawyer Fulton – I know very little about Fulton. From his name alone, I would guess he is what Buzz Sawyer would be if he joined The Fantastics back in the early 80s. Or maybe Dusty Rhodes was the one giving out names when he debuted. Either way, he is a member of Sanity, so let’s just stick with that for a while and be involved as a tag team jobber.
- Shinsuke Nakamura – My present for the King of Strong Style is that the WWE and NXT get behind him and market him to the moon. Let’s keep the NXT title on Nakamura for a long while, having memorable title defenses against Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Cien Almas, Roderick Strong, Tomasso Ciampa, Hideo Itami, and more. Have him make the NXT title even more of one of the most sought-after titles in wrestling. Eventually he can bring the NXT title onto the WWE main rosters like Kevin Owens did to challenge one of the top WWE champs, either the World Champ or Universal Champ.
- Tye Dillinger – The crowd seems to be fully behind Dillinger and he needs to ride that wave as far as possible. He should get a couple title shots and maybe wind up in a feud against Sanity or something. I think he and Eric Young could have some show-stealing matches.
- Wesley Blake – I’d copy and paste what I wrote for Buddy Murphy, but that’s too much trouble.
- All the NXT house show wrestlers – I wish continued employment and continued work on finding a character that connects with audiences so you can advance your career.
- Asuka – My gift for Asuka would be for her to continue to own the NXT Women’s Division and eventually just forfeit the title in order to move up to Raw and take over up there. Whatever WWE does with her, don’t make her lose any time soon. She can have tough matches and some challenges, but she needs to remain dominant.
- Ember Moon – My gift to her would be to remain strong as a babyface. She should be rolling over some impressive competition until she gets to a feud with a heelish Asuka. And that battle should culminate in a big match Wrestlemania weekend.
- Billie Kay and Peyton Royce – This combination is getting better all the time, so I would wish they continue building on that momentum and be heels that babyfaces like Ember Moon can work through to get to the champion.
- Nikki Cross – Cross has a good thing going with Sanity, so that should continue. I would like to see her get into a feud separate from anything else going on in the division, maybe with someone like Mickie James. It would give her a chance to get better and look impressive at the same time.
- Daria Berenato – I like the mixed martial arts thing they are playing up with Daria. However, it is most likely just going to be a big set-up for Ronda Rousey to destroy her eventually. Until then, I would like to see her continue to get better and play up that toughness she displays.
- Aliyah, Danielle Kamela, Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose, and anyone else I forgot – I am sorry, but I do not know enough about any of you to give you a well-thought out gift. So I shall give you all a gift card to Spandex City where you can fashion nice ring outfits for you to job in.
- William Regal – I want nothing but the best for William Regal. As General Manager of NXT, he holds a nice position in the company. I know his physical condition is not likely to allow him to wrestle any longer, but he still has great value to WWE. I would like to see Regal continue as the NXT General Manager, even possibly reigning over an invasion angle of Raw or Smackdown at some point. I would also like to hear Regal as the main color commentator for the NXT Takeover events. He adds a sense of importance to the broadcast booth. Finally, I will continue to hold out hope that Regal will become a manager and mouthpiece for a group of hard-hitting wrestlers who combine technical skill with submission techniques and kick ass attitudes.
Now for a few presents for some NJPW folk…
- Hiroshi Tanahashi – Tanahashi can still go, even at age 40. He is a proven main eventer and a solid hand. I would not put a title on him anytime soon, but he would be a very good foil for someone like Kenny Omega for a while.
- Katsuyori Shibata – Shibata is a bad ass. I wish that he would be used more often in the ROH/NJPW friendship so we can see him more often on American television.
- Kenny Omega – Omega is on a huge upswing in his career and deservedly so. I am not sure if he is on a path of becoming the IWGP Heavyweight champion, but my wish for him is beyond that. I would like to see Omega turn on the Bullet Club and become a major face. He could feud with the Bullet Club for quite a while and have some great matches, main eventing almost anywhere.
- Tama Tonga – Tonga is stuck in a tag team with his less talented brother Tanga Roa. I would love to see Tama Tonga work on his own in the new year, taking advantage of the ROH/NJPW/CMLL working relationship to really show off to audiences all over the world.
- Tetsuya Naito – The IWGP Intercontinental Champion is still doing a great job with his new character. But I don’t think he needs a title to continue to be over. In fact, I think it actually hurts him some. He isn’t the gung-ho champion who cares about his belt over everything else. So my gift to him would be having him lose the Intercontinental championship soon and just be a random chaos maker.
- Kazuchika Okada – My one gift that I wish I could give Okada is a worldwide audience. More people need to see Okada wrestle and recognize how good he is. The WWE style has been jump started by people like AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Okada works a similar style, he has a great look, and he is just money in big matches. I’d love to see Okada, as the IWGP Heavyweight champion, go on a world tour where he challenges all the big time champs, in an attempt to establish a true World Champ.
- Everyone else in NJPW and NJPW itself – I would like to gift these wrestlers and the promotion as a whole to establish itself as a major force. I know they already are a major force in Japan, but I would like to see them be considered by average fans to be big league and WWE-quality competition. More television, more chances to showcase their talent, more of everything really.
And that is all the room I have under the tree for today. May everyone have a pleasant and peaceful holiday season. See you on the other side…
Tags: Andrade Almas, Asuka, Austin Aries, Billie Kay, Bobby Roode, Daria berenato, Ember Moon, Eric Young, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, Roderick Strong, Samoa Joe, shinsuke nakamura, Tommaso Ciampa, Tye Dillinger