Following the crowning of a new NXT Champion on the NXT Rival special event, more surprises were to follow on the taped broadcast a night after. Kevin Owens thrashed through former NXT Champion Sami Zeyn much like the way WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar dismantled former champion John Cena at Summerslam. This bout raised a lot of eyebrows but nowhere close to the night after.
Finn Balor has been making heavy splashes on NXT lately with his innovative move set and in-ring colorful appearance. He’s a huge fan favorite and he continues to create big moments to the delight of the WWE Universe and on this NXT show, he made another.
Or he started another. He went toe to toe backstage with a returning legend in the former ECW, WWE Hardcore and NWA champion, Rhyno. Rhyno received a quick NXT debut win over Elias Samson much to the delight of the crowd. “The Man Beast” enjoyed chants of “Wholly SH%T” “Gore, Gore, Gore” and “E-C-W” before putting Samson away.
This marked Rhyno’s first appearance in a WWE capacity since 2005. Rhyno was heavily involved with one of the biggest angles in WWE history when former WCW guys and ECW guys “Invaded” the WWE. Rhyno made himself part of the Alliance on the ECW side under Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman, where Paul would enjoy the announcement of Rhyno’s finishing move, the gore on many occasions.
Rhyno was frequently under utilized and mainly only received attention anytime the WWE wanted to use him for their ECW One Night Stand shows. In his last match with the WWE he lost to Sabu at the One Night Stand of 2005. However he would join the roster of Total Nonstop Action and achieve a ton of success.
He was immediately pushed into the main event and title picture, and received the same kind of success in his tour with Ring of Honor. He came back to TNA briefly, recently over the summer to turn heel and assist Ethan Carter III in his feud with Bully Ray Dudley. He turned face shortly after and started his own feud with EC3 but was beaten any time they faced off and they ended their feud with Ethan getting the final victory in a NYC Street Fight much to the dismay of the fans in attendance.
It’ll be interesting to see how the WWE uses the War Machine Rhyno from here on out.