AS any wrestling fan knows, the entrances, with their music, lights, fireworks and spectacle are half the appeal.
In the world of “sports entertainment” the most epic entrance around belongs to “Glorious” Bobby Roode. Last week the Canadian grappler made the grandest of arrivals at NXT TakeOver Toronto accompanied by a full choir singing his operatic prog-rock theme “Glorious Domination”, which has all the pomp of Queen at their most bombastic.
“It was very cool, especially being in my home town so to speak,” Roode tells Weekender from Ontario. “To do that sort of entrance, it doesn’t happen every day, so I really enjoyed it.”
Roode will bring his “glorious” entrance to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre next Saturday when NXT Live makes its debut in Australia. NXT was founded in 2012 as the development league for WWE. Since its inception it has been suplexing out a production line of talent to the WWE’s main roster including reigning Universal Champion Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Sasha Banks.
The brand has subsequently attracted a cult following among older hardcore wrestling fans, who have become increasingly frustrated with the PG-orientated WWE product of the past decade.
“I think it’s the hottest brand,” Roode says. “I will sound bias. If you look at Raw and Smackdown they have tremendous talent and a worldwide audience and have been around a lot longer than NXT, but if TakeOver Brooklyn or TakeOver Toronto is any indication, you can expect high energy every match, they’re like a main event.
“There isn’t any match where the guys go through the motions. The guys and girls on this roster are hungry and athletic and they want to prove themselves every night.”
The majority of the NXT roster, including Melbourne’s Buddy Murphy, are in the formative stages of their wrestling careers.
However, at 39 Roode is an 18-year veteran. He gained fame through his 12-year stint in Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling - the second largest promotion in the US after WWE – where he competed in the ring against legends Kurt Angle and Sting and current WWE World Champion AJ Styles. Roode also became a two-time TNA Heavyweight Champion and was one half of the promotion’s greatest ever tag team, Beer Money.
By the end of Roode’s TNA contract in March, his passion for the business had waned.
I think it’s the hottest brand.
“It was really why I had to move away,” he says. “Obviously my first talks with WWE were over Wrestlemania weekend and I had some good talks. Literally just being part of Wrestlemania weekend and seeing how it’s done, the presentation, the professionalism and the guys and girls in the locker room I met that weekend, I knew from that point on I had to be a part of it.”
In recent months Roode has been locked in a bitter feud with his former tag-team partner Tye Dillinger, after his “heel turn” (wrestling speak for becoming a bad guy), during one of their matches. Roode defeated Dillinger at Toronto TakeOver and has his sights on NXT’s top dogs, Shinsuke Nakamura and champion Samoa Joe.
“There’s a lot guys in this locker room that I’m looking forward to getting in the ring with within this company as a whole,” Roode says. “I think my best match is yet to come.”
Roode will receive his wish in Newcastle when he and Samoa Joe lock horns with Nakamura and Dillinger in the tag-team main event.
NXT Live comes to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on December 10.