Over the past few years, NXT TakeOver events have consistently stolen the show from WWE main roster pay-per-views. Longtime WWE commentator Michael Cole was recently a guest on the Sky Sports Lock Up Podcast and discussed his love for NXT. He said TakeOver is what he looks forward to the most during WrestleMania weekend outside of WrestleMania itself.
"I'd say, over the last two, three years, I think NXT TakeOver. I really love NXT. I have been part of that product since day one. I am on Triple H's team to help build that brand. I work closely with the Announcers; we have some really good Announcers that came from that system; Corey Graves and Tom Phillips are two really good examples, so I've been part of that since it started," Cole said. "To me, that is where my heart lies, in NXT, especially for TakeOver because that sets the stage for WrestleMania, and to see these performers go out there in front of thousands and thousands of people in an incredible, pressure-filled weekend, and to see them each year steal the show, to me, it's such a great moment. To see the passion of the NXT Universe is incredible as well. To see where the brand has came in the last 5 years is absolutely incredible. That to me is always the highlight of my WrestleMania week."
Cole was asked which NXT superstars he's looking forward to seeing on the main roster and he mentioned some of the brand's most popular wrestlers. He said he expects big things from a lot of the superstars once they make the jump to WWE.
"I'm really big on the Iconic Duo of Billie [Kay] and Peyton [Royce]. They are on the cusp of something really great. They have developed quite the team; quite the 'gimmick' to use an old-school wrestlers term. I really think they are talented and I think there is going to be a place for them," Cole said. "Ember Moon is another one who I really think is going to be a player as part of the Women's Evolution on the big roster, and I really have been impressed with the NXT Champion, Andrade 'Cien' Almas; he really has taken his game to a different level. His viciousness, his aggressiveness, he's really going to be a player, too. Finally, Aleister Black; I've followed his career for a decade now. I was so glad when we announced last year that he was going to be part of our programming. He is a guy who I really believe is going to take this brand to another level."
Cole also mentioned an under-the-radar superstar who is on the cusp of emerging as a top superstar. He had very high praise for The Velveteen Dream, who he believes has what it takes to be a cornerstone superstar for the company for the foreseeable future. He said he admires The Velveteen Dream for completely immersing himself into his character.
"I'll tell you a sleeper in all of this, who I believe is going to develop into a big star, he's got star written all over him - The Velveteen Dream. This kid has everything. He's young, good looking, he's got incredible charisma. He's a hard worker, great work ethic," he said. "He has a very unique character, and he lives and breaths that character. A lot of times, in this day and age, that's become a lost art. When the cameras are off and you are living the rest of your life, but he is that character, and lives it 24/7, so that is what I think makes him a real up and comer, and a star in the making the next couple of years."
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit the Sky Sports Lock Up Podcast with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: Sky Sports Lock Up Podcast
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.