KUSHIDA, Shane Strickland & Garza Jr. report to WWE PC

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/04/17/kushida-shane-strickland-garza-jr-report-to-wwe-pc/

The WWE has officially announced that KUSHIDA, Stephon (Shane) Strickland, and Humberto Garza (Garza Jr.) have reported to the Performance Center in Florida.

KUSHIDA (Yujiro Kushida) is 35-years old and was signed by the company earlier this year. He wrapped up with New Japan Pro Wrestling at the end of January after a match with Hiroshi Tanahashi. He was a product of Nobuhiko Takada’s Takada Dojo and debuted in September 2005. He made stops for Hustle, All Japan, Osaka Pro, and Smash before he became a regular with New Japan. He also had eight MMA fights for ZST.

He became the focal point of New Japan’s junior heavyweight division, first as a tag star with Alex Shelley as the Time Splitters before achieving singles success. He won his first of six IWGP junior heavyweight titles from Kota Ibushi in July 2014 and would exchange title with Kenny Omega, Bushi, and Hiromu Takahashi during his reigns. His final run as champion was last June and dropped the belt to Will Ospreay last October at King of Pro Wrestling. His first on-screen appearance for WWE took place at TakeOver: New York earlier this month at the Barclays Center.

Strickland began wrestling in 2011 while still on active duty for the U.S. military. His early career wrestling for CZW and EVOLVE was where he first caught on. His largest exposure came through Lucha Underground where he wrestled under a mask as Killshot and was embroiled in a feud with AR Fox, who wrestled as Dante Fox. Killshot was involved in two violent matches in the promotion’s history with a Hell of War match against Fox and a Weapons of Mass Destruction match with Marty the Moth Martinez. His character was written off the show after he lost his mask to Son of Havoc in their most recent season. He began wrestling for MLW in 2017 and became the promotion’s heavyweight champion in April 2018 and lost it to Low Ki in July. His final match with the promotion was against Rush in December.

Garza Jr. is 28-years old and is the nephew of the late Hector Garza. He started his career in 2008 wrestling as El Hijo del Ninja. While wrestling for FILL (Federacion Internacional de Lucha Libre), he defended his mask successfully three times in matches against Black Morse, Memo Valles, and Estrella Dorada Jr. He would unmask on his own in 2012 but was never defeated for it.

He started with AAA in 2015 and switched his identity to Garza Jr. In 2017, he joined a group of talent that joined The Crash promotion and quickly made inroads at Impact Wrestling at the same time where he teamed with Laredo Kid. He lost his hair to Bestia 666 last November in Tijuana.

If you had September 10 as the day Kushida ended up on 205 Live pickup your winnings

It’s a sad sight to see Kushida on 205 Live.

205 Live should in reality have the same amount of credit with wrestling fans as NXT does if it was done right. The matches on there are regularly very good and overall a lot better than weekly NXT. People that say in ring quality comes first should probably watch it… The main issue I’m assuming that it’s just not seen as an alternative to Raw or SmackDown but seen as an extension to those shows that has no affect on anything so very few end up caring. Ali, Murphy and Alexander were a part of 205 Live at the same time and people still didn’t care.

The show needs a total rebrand. Change the name, change the childish colours, give them a gold belt and if you’re gonna have them appear on Raw or SmackDown maybe mention whatever they’re doing on 205 Live rather than pretending they’re playing different characters on different shows.

I think it has a number of problems facing it that NXT does not

1.) the weight class thing- this will always make it seem like a lesser brand as there is no expectation that these guys would be able to compete against the big main roster guys. The NXT guys are largely smaller as well but they don’t draw attention to it.
2.) getting taped after Smackdown to a largely dead crowd.
3.) lack of truly compelling stories. In ring quality only matters when you care about the characters. It is hard to stay engaged long term if you don’t care who wins and who loses.
4.) seeming like a dead end rather than a jumping off point- to some extent it seems like where they stick small guys who they don’t think can cut it on the main roster, whereas NXT is seen as a place for up and comers looking for their break onto the main roster. This is somewhere that NXT is running into trouble with when they start sending guys down to NXT. Right now 205 comes across as minor league sports, and NXT comes across as college sports.
5.) limited roster -NXT is a full brand with a women’s division, 2 singles men’s titles and tag division. 205 is part of a

In reality 205 should be rolled in with either NXT or main roster. A light heavyweight or cruiser weight belt on a main roster show could work great, then have dominant guys from there make a push to move up and tell that story.

I would go one step further than this and say that NXT and 205 live should be 100% integrated, essentially getting rid of 205 live. The NXT and Cruisweright championship should be combined. Which right now would mean an Adam Cole vs Drew Gulak match which would be really good.

And maybe WWE is already planning on doing this and having the NXT title’s defended on the big shows which is why there isn’t a TakeOver Royal Rumble weekend.

Yes if 205 live is merged with 205 it should be as you suggest as a cruiser weight belt on NXT would be stupid as pretty much the whole roster would be eligible for it. Cole v Gulak would be great with the proper build up.
The only problem I have with the match is that Gulak is like 0-3 vs NXT wrestlers (lost to Kushida, and Riddle twice to my recollection)
I worry about NXT title matches getting lost on Main roster PPVs though, as if NXT continues to be its own universe it could come across much like 205 does now.

It’s two things for me -

  1. Dead crowd - Fans are exhausted from sitting there for so long already and are supposed to get invested in people they don’t know. The atmosphere sucks and in reality none of it really matters or is ever even mentioned on any other WWE ever

  2. No distinct style - Almost everyone on the main roster can wrestle like a cruiserweight, so why do I want to watch another hour of meaningless programming. Let the guys do whatever - forget working a hold and wrestling like a main roster talent.

I don’t know if until recently I would buy that most of the main roster can wrestle like Cruiserwieghts. Now there are certainly a slew of guys who do though (All the guys they pulled from 205 Ali, Murphy, Alexander; Ricochet, Black, Andrade, Rey, Gable.). But a lot of their “top guys” aren’t at all capable of that style of work:Brock, Roman, Strowman, Corbin, McIntyre, Orton…etc.

So it is becoming more common, but it isn’t the norm yet. That said your point one eclipses their work rate. If the audience is not invested in the outcome of the match, it diminishes the match. Just look at Shane Vs Gable yesterday. With Corbin waiting in the finals only one result made any sense. So I watched to see how Gable would win (and by the end I knew it would be submission) rather than if he would win.

Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Kofi, Styles, Balor, etc. all do many of those moves. Point is, enough of that style is already on WWE tv. Why do I have to watch 205 to see things that other ppl do?

Because the great matches largely only happen with 2 of those guys, which we rarely get. I mean just look at Bryan vs Murphy for a really good match. As opposed to Rollins be Corbin, or Mix vs Elias etc. Mind you the answer to your question is you don’t have to watch 205 because unless all you care about is work rate there is nothing to buy into.

The match between Ali and Murphy was a better worked match than most we get, but there was no hook to why it was important outside of it being for King of the Ring.

Isn’t that the news posted on the forum ? That 205 Live and NXT are merging ?