While Wrestlemania is always a bright lights, big stars, grandest stage kind of night, for the last 3 years, one of the single best episodes of Monday Night Raw takes place the night after Wrestlemania. It’s a night to switch things up, story-wise, as we’ve found conclusions at ’Mania, and with the night typically being the last night for aging veterans, it’s an opportunity to start introducing new talent. This year’s event was no exception, and possibly the biggest post-Wrestlemania Raw in recent history, thanks in part to the young talent being brought up from the company’s developmental program: NXT. Here, is a quick introduction to the new faces heading to the main roster.
Bo Dallas Bo-lieves He Will Make a Bo-liever Out Of You
Dallas, who you might remember from the 2013 Royal Rumble, has one of the most booable gimmicks in recent history: overwhelming sincerity, and the belief that everybody loves him. From his toothy trolly smile, to abject naiveity, he’s the pre-criminal-era Justin Bieber of NXT. The above Bo puns are just the tip of the iceberg, as he claimed to have spent his victory lap after winning the NXT Championship travelling to to Bo-livia to meet his fans there. Raw previewed his ascent with the hilarious “It’s not ‘Impossible,’ no, it’s I’m Possible,” motivational poster-style promo videos, which gave us assurances his persona will stay as-in as he moves up. Fun Fact: Dallas is the real life brother of Bray Wyatt.
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Paige: The Anti-Diva, NXT’s Women’s Champion, and your New Divas Champion
In a moment that only few dared to fantasy book, Paige made her main roster debut last night, coming out to spoil AJ Lee’s victory celebration, and then, thanks to the champ’s hubris, win the Divas title. It was a moment many wanted, but few believed in, thanks to months of no writing or care in the division from WWE Creative. Paige, who is also currently holding NXT’s Women’s Championship, is the youngest champion in WWE history, having won the title at the age of 21. Billed from Norwich, England, which makes her a favorite of WWE great William Regal, Paige is the first Brit to hold the Divas title, and this marks the first time a talent has simultaneously held a title in both rosters, as they typically lose the belt to another talent before rising up. This way, though, her appearance was an even bigger surprise. Fun Fact: NXT has been a training ground for Women Who Are First and Foremost Wrestlers, while Total Divas is a launching pad for Eva Marie’s modelling career.
Adam Rose, the leader of the Exotic Express
Having wrestled for more than a year in NXT as South African deranged mercenary Leo Kruger, the wrestler known as Raymond Leppan was just as recently as January repackaged as the eccentric Adam Rose. The gimmick, which I think owes a bit to Russell Brand, involves Rose dancing out to the ring with his followers & co-partiers, who are called Rosebuds. His in-ring fighting style has the playful frivolity of the character, and might get over with all sorts of fans across age-ranges. We got two see two taped promos from Rose last night, which had the better of his two entrance theme songs from NXT, so, again, I’m hopefull. Fun fact: if Rose gets tossed out of the ring, his Rosebuds are often there to catch him, and launch him back into the ring.
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Rusev smashes puny Ryder
“The Bulgarian Brute” Alexander Rusev had been marched out by his manager “The Ravishing Russian” Lana, for weeks, and she spoke highly of his abilities, calling him “THE SUPER ATHLETE.” His physical build, though, had him looking more like a big lunk than anything else. On Monday night, against Zack Ryder, we got to see Rusev demonstrate that unlike the super-sized and super-slow Great Khali, he’s as quick as he is strong. Some fear his long term potential is low, thanks to a history of foreigner gimmicks that went nowhere, but I’d prefer to hope for the best. Fun Fact: while Rusev (née Miroslav Barnyashev) is truly Bulgarian, of course, with her horrible accent, Lana is as Russian as Apple Pie, her real name is Catherine Joy “C.J.” Perry, and she hails from Florida.
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