Edge and Christian open today’s show speaking about last weekend’s NXT Takeover and Royal Rumble events. Edge thought the Johnny Gargano/Cien Almas main event was a finely crafted piece of art. Christian points out that Gargano is so good, and in their first big main event bout, they both delivered in the biggest way imaginable. His only criticism about this match is that Almas worked too much like a babyface.
Christian says that if anyone wants to stand out in NXT, all they need to do is act like a legitimate heel. He doesn’t think any of the heels in NXT consistently act or wrestle like a real heel. By performing athletic moves and entertaining spots, NXT’s top heels take away from the babyface’s shine. Edge points out that if this program doesn’t eventually end with Gargano holding the NXT Title, they made a huge mistake by not having him win this past Sunday.
However, he does understand that Almas probably deserves a longer Title run than he’s had thus far. In addition, NXT has basically set up two main event matches for their next Takeover show – The NXT Title match between Almas and a babyface challenger (probably Aleister Black), and Gargano versus Ciampa.
Christian says he was happy to see A.J. Styles emerge victorious in the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, because he thinks Styles deserves to go into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. Edge understands that logic, but he absolutely hates when one guy beats two guys in a handicap match. He doesn’t think Smackdown’s top two heels should have lost to one guy, even if it was the WWE Champion.
Edge and Christian both enjoyed the Smackdown Tag Team Title match between The Usos and Gable & Benjamin. Edge says that The Usos are on “another level” right now, but he’s very impressed by Gable and Benjamin as well. Christian points out that Gable resembles Kurt Angle in the ring, and although Edge doesn’t like those kind of comparisons, he agrees with Christian in this case.
They both liked the Men’s Royal Rumble match as they thought it was laid out nicely, and every entrant in the Rumble seemed to have a distinct, defined position on WWE programming. Edge also liked Heath Slater’s role in this match, adding that Sheamus’ quick elimination didn’t hurt him at all. He informs that he’d love to see Sheamus or Cesaro challenge Brock Lesnar in a singles match, because he thinks either of those men could have a great match with Lesnar.
Edge loved that Nakamura won the Rumble match, pointing out that he needed it more than Roman Reigns or John Cena. The audience in Philadelphia obviously wanted Nakamura to win so this decision got a huge pop from the live crowd, but this type of victory helps build Nakamura’s credibility amongst mainstream fans as well.
Edge thought WWE made the right decision by putting the Women’s Royal Rumble on last. He liked the match a lot, and thought all of the women involved performed admirably. He was happy to see a lot of the veteran female performers return as surprise entrants, specifically his wife, Beth Phoenix.
He thinks it was a no-brainer for WWE to book Asuka to win this match, and he had no issue with Rousey appearing after the match. Christian agrees, pointing out that Rousey’s arrival was supposed to ruffle feathers, so all this criticism around Rousey stealing Asuka’s moment isn’t really justified in his opinion.
Edge and Christian welcome Johnny Gargano to the show.
Edge mentions that Gargano’s Takeover match with Cien Almas was absolutely amazing. Gargano thanks Edge, and says that the feedback he has received thus far been terrific. He knew as the match was progressing that they were doing a good job, but at no point did he think they were having an “Earth-shattering” match. He notes that it’s impossible to tell how good the entire presentation is while you’re working, because the camera angles and the commentators add so much to the finished product.
He informs that Triple H, Shawn Michaels and everyone else in the Gorilla Position were standing and clapping as he and Almas came back through the curtain. He points out that receiving that type of reaction when you walk backstage has become somewhat of a measuring stick for him.
Gargano feels that it was a perfect storm last Sunday night in Philadelphia. He knew the Philadelphia would be behind him, but he has a fear of being rejected by live audiences and he was nervous prior to the match. He can’t say enough good things about Almas, who he feels he has terrific chemistry with. He says that Almas is very good and has learned so quickly since arriving in NXT.
Gargano talks about his experience wrestling as a tag team wrestler alongside Tommaso Ciampa. He points out that he and Ciampa were thrown together by NXT creative in order to see what they could do together, and their mixed-match pairing resulted in some great things. He admits that the biggest challenge for him was learning how to wrestle as a tag team wrestler.
WWE also has a lot of rules for tag team matches, whereas on the indies there aren’t really any rules for tag team matches at all. When he started to tag with Ciampa neither of them were restricted to WWE programming, so they’d tape NXT television and then go work the indies on their days off. It was a struggle to adapt to the changing rules from one day to the next.
Gargano informs that his “Johnny Wrestling” moniker came from one tweet he sent out years ago. When he arrived in NXT he was concerned that he’d be forced to drop that nickname, but luckily Triple H wanted him to keep it. He informs that he’s been able to monetize that nickname through merchandise, so he really didn’t want to lose it.
Gargano talks about Shawn Michaels’ influence at the Performance Centre. He says that he was always a fan of Michaels growing up, and being able to learn from him now is a pleasure because he considers Michaels to be the greatest of all time.
That sums up this week’s episode of E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!