Powell's Blog: Is there a bigger name behind the NXT invasion of WWE Raw?
By Jason Powell
Tuesday, June 8 – 12:45 P.M. (CT)
During the member exclusive Dot Net Triple Threat audio review of Monday's WWE Raw show, Rich Twilling, Chris Shore, and I questioned whether an established name or two could eventually be revealed as the leader(s) of the NXT faction.
It's possible that the story will be that the NXT wrestlers are acting on their own and Wade Barrett is their leader, but that won't stop us from speculating about whether someone else could be behind the hottest Raw angle in years. Let's have some fun with this. Here's a look at some of the potential candidates for the role of NXT faction leader.
Michael Cole: The obvious candidate if only because he somehow managed to escape unscathed last night when everyone around him took a beating. Sure, he has on-air heat with Daniel Bryan, but as Twilling mentioned last night, it's possible their characters could bond over being disrespected by WWE. I can't say I have much interest in seeing Cole cast as a mastermind, but I can't get over the fact that he slithered away last night without taking a beating even though he should have been first on Daniel Bryan's hit list.
Chris Jericho: Jericho has been on the losing end of a lot of matches lately. He was pinned by R-Truth last week and looked like he was on the verge of tears afterward. Could his character be so frustrated that he got his protege Barrett on the same page with the other NXT wrestlers? It would also explain Big Show beating Jericho so decisively last night with the idea being that he'll get his heat back in a big way if he's revealed as the leader of the NXT wrestlers.
Jericho is among the elite talkers in the game, and the NXT crew could use a credible mouthpiece/leader. I could even see the NXT wrestlers taking out Randy Orton next week and opening a spot for Jericho in the Fatal Four Way match. Perhaps Barrett could even give his leader the pay-per-view title match he earned by winning NXT. That's a lot of ifs, but Jericho calling the shots for the group makes storyline sense and would be a logical move to give the group credibility.
Vince McMahon: The big invasion style attack on Raw last night had "ruthless aggression" written all over it. The talk had been that Vince McMahon was done as a character following his lopsided loss to Bret Hart at WrestleMania 26. Then he popped up last week and teased fans with the possibility that he was setting up Hart for failure as the general manager. Vince has had past beefs with Cena, who was the primary victim last night, and
William Regal: This would make sense for many of the same reasons as Chris Jericho heading the group would. Regal is an exceptional talker who has been wasted in an undercard role in WWE for far too long. It's worth noting that Skip Sheffield started as a hayseed character and looked like a vicious heel by the time the first season of NXT concluded. He essentially credited Regal with his transformation. I'd love to see Regal get more air time and he could certainly hold up his end of the bargain as the primary mouthpiece for the NXT faction.
Bret Hart: We're starting to reach from here on down the list. A couple of readers have thrown out Bret's name as a possible candidate. I suppose there's a way to get there, but no seeds have been planted thus far. I don't really see a connection between Bret and the NXT crew, and I don't expect this one to happen as Bret is doing just fine as the babyface general manager.
Jim Ross: The company tried using Ross as a heel during the fake Razor Ramon and Diesel run and it was a lousy fit. Ross could probably cut one hell of a scathing promo on WWE at this point, and it's well known that he's an advocate for discovering new talent. However, I don't care for the idea on paper. If Vince McMahon ever opts to bring Ross back on a weekly basis, it should be as the beloved play-by-play voice, not as a bitter heel.
Shane or Stephanie McMahon: A major long shot. I openly questioned whether Shane or Steph would be revealed as the brains behind the Legacy faction when it first formed. It never came to fruition, but I suppose either one of the younger McMahons could use the NXT wrestlers in an attempt to bring in the next generation of McMahons and wrestlers.
Batista: Everyone I've spoken with is under the impression that Batista has worked his last scheduled date for WWE. It's probably only a matter of time before he returns, but it's probably too soon if he's serious about stepping aside and taking a break. I'm not high on the idea of Batista leading the group. Sure, he'd give them a credible leader, but I also fear that he would overshadow the group and give us constant visual reminders that some of the NXT wrestlers are undersized.
Ted DiBiase: One of the guys brought this up last night in audio and I really like the idea that Ted has the financial resources to buy these guys and have them do his bidding. However, it would be a dramatic shift from what we've been seeing with The New Million Dollar Man character in that he's been cast as a mid-card act. There was nothing about his comedic casting last night that made me think WWE was on the verge of giving him a substantial push. Furthermore, I'm not sure if Ted is ready to serve as the mouthpiece for a faction.
Kane: Another reach. He's out to avenge his brother's attacker. I suspect that the deranged Kane could eventually be revealed as the actual attacker. More than one person has mentioned the possibility that the NXT wrestlers attacked Taker, and I suppose they could have done via Kane's orders. I don't like the idea and I actually hope the NXT wrestlers aren't involved in Taker's storyline, but I suppose it's possible.
Abraham Washington: Well, he was reportedly the leading candidate for the general manager job at one time. Please, no! I hope they find a role for Washington as something other than a talk show host, but he doesn't have the credibility to pull this off.
Vickie Guerrero: She gets great heat and they need a new role for her, but this just doesn't strike me as a good fit or logical storyline progression.
Al Snow: Maybe he's still pissed off that WWE didn't renew Tough Enough back in the day. Yes, I'm kidding.
Dot Net Members are listening to the 104-minute "Triple Threat" audio review with Jason Powell, Rich Twilling, and Chris Shore reviewing Monday's WWE Raw and the big NXT angle. You can listen to gain access to all membership perks including the first look at Dot Net News, access to all audio past and present, the members' forum, and more on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
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