News: WWE NXT Introducing Women’s Tag Team Titles, WWE Looking to Hire Younger Talent, WWE Trying to Limit Thigh Slapping
It is expected that WWE will be introducing Women’s Tag Team Titles that are NXT only. That report comes from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription).
This past week on NXT had a Women’s Tag Team Title match where Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated NXT Women’s Dusty Cup winners Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai in a match that ended in controversial fashion. The short version of the story is there was a referee bump, then WWE Official Adam Pearce brought in Raw referee Shawn Bennett and he’s the one that said Kai tapped out to Baszler in a submission hold even though Kai was not the legal woman in the match. The idea was that the WWE Raw guys didn’t want the titles going to a NXT team.
In my NXT review on Wednesday night, I guessed that it would lead to NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles because of NXT GM William Regal teasing an announcement next week.
TJR Thoughts: I don’t mind this because then it would put the Women’s Tag Team Titles on Raw and Smackdown only. The NXT women’s division is a strength right now with a lot of depth. They have legit women’s tag teams like Gonzalez/Kai, Moon/Blackheart, Kacy/Kayden, Candice/Indi, Aliyah/Kamea and so on that can be part of the division. Plus, even though WWE has had the Women’s Tag Team Titles for two years now, they haven’t had the champions on NXT that often. I’m certainly fine with this news because I trust the booking in NXT.
WWE Wants to Sign Younger Talent Under 30 Years of Age
There was also a note in the Wrestling Observer that WWE is aware of the fact that they have an older roster right now. Meltzer noted there was a “new doctrine” relating to new signings where WWE wants to limit new developmental signing to wrestlers that are under 30 years of age. An exception would be “a special situation where somebody is really good or has potential, or if they have a name from elsewhere.”
Two recent signees in their late 30s would count as people that have a name elsewhere since WWE recently signed former Impact World Champion LA Knight (former Eli Drake) when he’s 38 years old and also Impact Wrestling’s former Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie, who is 37 years old.
TJR Thoughts: It’s a smart strategy by WWE because the roster is older, but there are always going to exceptions to rules like that. No doubt that Knight and Valkyrie are very talented wrestlers that will do well in NXT and wherever else they may wrestle while in WWE.
WWE Wants to Limit Thigh Slapping
The Wrestling Observer reports that WWE was considering fining wrestlers for “thigh-slapping” when they do kicks, which is done to make sound effects. Dave Meltzer noted that it has been a part of wrestling for a long time going back to the 1950s.
There was apparently a memo sent to talent in NXT about thigh-slapping, but nobody has really said a word about it. The interesting thing about it is that Shawn Michaels used a superkick as a finisher where he slapped his leg many times and he’s one of the main coaches for the NXT brand.
It was also reported by Fightful Select that was even a sign up at WWE events last week that said “NO THIGH SLAPPING” in big bold letters.
The original memo sent out by WWE was reportedly sent out in February at some point.
TJR Thoughts: This is one of those stories where it seems like WWE wants the wrestlers to limit thigh-slapping, but it’s not like somebody is going to lose their job over it.
When Randy Orton was doing the punt several times last year, he would slap his leg really hard without even touching the guy he was kicking. I’m sure that in cases like that, WWE is going to allow it since Randy is protecting the person he is supposed to be kicking.