After the opening of WWE's new Florida-based performance center earlier this month, WWE developmental has kept busy. With new Superstars and Divas working their way into the program and a much-revitalized WWE NXT roster and product, things are certainly looking up for the WWE's foreseeable future.
However, with a new and improved facility and an increasingly popular NXT show, everything can't always go as planned.
WWE Developmental News
Kassius Ohno's Backstage Issues
Kassius Ohno, formerly known to many in the IWC as Chris Hero, is one of the most impressive talents on the NXT roster. He's great on the mic and in the ring, and he's proven that he has what it takes to make the jump to WWE's main roster numerous times.
So why isn't he on Raw and SmackDown every week?
According to Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com, Ohno is having backstage issues in the company, which, as many fans know, can lead down a very dark path.
Ohno reportedly is looked at as one of NXT's brightest Superstars and, according to Giri, already had WWE creative working on a storyline to bring Mr. KO into the main roster as early as July or August. Then he started dodging a few workouts.
As you can see when you watch Ohno, he isn't in bad shape, but he certainly isn't in the same league as Leo Kruger or some of the other NXT Superstars. He doesn't have the toned and defined look that the WWE usually leans toward.
Giri goes on to say that NXT Trainers have viewed Ohno as "reluctant" in the gym. Triple H apparently received word that Ohno was slacking on the weights and was quick to pull him off WWE NXT tapings for the last few weeks.
A lot's been said about the #WWEPC I won't belabor its magnificence. I *will* say that once you clock in for 'work' it's awful hard to leave— Kassius Ohno (@KassiusOhno) July 16, 2013
Ohno's future in the WWE isn't clear, but for the time being it appears that the WWE hopeful won't find much TV time if he doesn't improve his work ethic and get focused on toning up. This would be a huge disappointment for the WWE Universe because Ohno could easily be a top talent in the company for years to come.
Alberto Del Rio's Brother Released
Also coming from Giri of WreslingInc.com, Alberto Del Rio may have the World Heavyweight Championship, but he no longer has a brother in the business.
Del Rio's real life brother, Guillermo Rodriguez, had his first NXT match in September of last year as Memo Montenegro and, since then, hasn't had much success to speak of. He took part in just eight matches and was only on the winning side of one match, a six-man tag match where he, Baron Corbin and Dante Dash beat Enzo Amore, Judas Devlin and Lincoln Broderick.
After losing to Rick Victor last February, Montenegro hasn't been seen by WWE audiences on NXT, and now he won't be seen on WWE programming for a very long time, if ever. Montenegro's profile was removed from the NXT homepage a few weeks back, and he's officially been released from the WWE.
The strange thing about Montenegro's release, as Giri points out, is that it came when his brother was the World Heavyweight Champion. The same thing happened to Dolph Ziggler's brother, who wrestled as Briley Pierce, who was fired when Ziggler was World Heavyweight Champion.
New WWE Divas
With the addition of a slew of new Divas and the WWE's new TV Show Total Divas, it's no secret that the WWE is trying to revitalize the Divas division. While the new show has brought about at least one new Diva, Eva Marie, the WWE has added a few more Divas to the roster recently.
According to Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com, three of the WWE's newest Divas, Rebecca Quin, CJ Perry and Brittany Fetkin have all started training at the new WWE Performance Center in Florida.
Quin, formerly known as Rebecca Knox, is an extremely decorated wrestler from Ireland who has wrestled in Europe, North America and Japan. Quin has been extremely successful in professional wrestling prior to signing with WWE, winning championships in both SuperGirls Wrestling and Queens of Chaos. Quin has the experience that the WWE Divas are lacking and could bring some serious wrestling back to the butterfly belt.
Perry doesn't bring the wrestling experience that Quin brings to the table, but she's an accomplished dancer, model and actress, which is exactly the kind of thing WWE looks for in their Divas. Perry was even a member of the Bellas in Pitch Perfect...so that's a thing.
Fetkin is another non-wrestler who was a model and freelance reporter who the WWE recently signed to a developmental contract. Fetkin has done a little backstage reporting in developmental but unfortunately suffered a knee injury recently.
While the WWE might not be bolstering the wrestling talent of the WWE Divas division, the sheer fact that they're actually adding Divas means that they still care about the division and that they want to keep reviving a section of their product that has been struggling as of late.
It can't get much worse, right?
WWE Match of the Year...On NXT?
I need to find out where to find the Sami Zayn vs Antonio Cesaro Best 2 out of 3 Falls Match apparently it is awesome— Mike Churneftsky (@Churnsawesome94) July 18, 2013
Antonio Cesaro has had two fantastic matches that I've seen this month - vs Sami Zayn (2/3 falls) on NXT, vs Daniel Bryan on #RAW— Arda Ocal (@arda_ocal) July 23, 2013
Also coming from Middleton and WrestlingInc.com are reports that the WWE has taped one of the best matches of the year recently...on NXT. NXT usually tapes multiple episodes per event to use at a later date. Because of this, August's NXT shows will be chock-full of WWE Superstars who were in town for the opening of WWE's new performance center.
According to the report, names like The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Antonio Cesaro, Paul Heyman, Curtis Axel, Summer Rae, Big E Langston and AJ Lee all were at the tapings, which included contests for the United States, Intercontinental and Divas Championships.
During the tapings, one of the main events was Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn (formerly known as El Generico) in a two-out-of-three falls match that got rave reviews from the live crowd. The crowd reportedly started chanting "Match of the Year" during the contest and gave both Zayn and Cesaro standing ovations after.
This should come as no surprise to independent wrestling fans or fans who watch NXT regularly. These are the same Superstars who put on this display in NXT:
Both Cesaro, as Castagnoli, and Zayn, as El Generico, were extremely successful wrestlers on the independent scene in promotions like Ring of Honor and Chikara and have put on some of the best matches in all of wrestling (take any match from the Generico-Steen saga for example).
These two are both exceptionally talented Superstars who haven't been given much opportunity to shine on the big stage in the WWE. Cesaro made it to the main roster but has been quiet since joining Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger. Zayn has been decently active on NXT but is just head and shoulders above the rest of the NXT talent. He could easily be put into the hunt for WWE's midcard championships.
Hopefully the WWE will take notice of matches like this and start allowing names like Cesaro and Zayn to get in the mix on WWE's main shows. Sadly for us fans, we'll have to wait until August to see the epic unfold before our eyes on WWE NXT.