The Ascension of the Velveteen Dream
In 2017, the NXT Universe was reintroduced to a familiar face, only with a brand new name, look and attitude. First, he was Patrick Clark, a standout competitor during the 2015 edition of Tough Enough. He had the look, he had the ability and he seemed to have the mind for the business. The only thing holding him back at the time was his attitude, and it was that reason that led him to being eliminated in just the fifth episode.
However, the company obviously saw something in the young man as he was soon brought back under the WWE umbrella. Then in October of 2016, he debuted on NXT television, but a different man than he once was. Clad in purple and donning a fancy pirate shirt, we got a look at someone who would go on to be one of the most captivating stars in NXT today. The Velveteen Dream was born.
Since his debut, The Dream has been quality in nearly everything he does; whether it be his mannerisms, his in-ring style or his promo skill. There have been very few superstars as He's picked up key victories against the likes of Kassius Ohno, EC3 and most recently Johnny Gargano. Who could forget his 2017 feud with the mysterious Aleister Black? It was an unlikely pairing, featuring two stars who were virtually polar opposites of one another; The Dream as the flamboyant and vainglorious heel and Black as the stoic yet deadly good guy. The two put on a clinic at last year's TakeOver: War Games, and although The Dream came out on the losing end, he proved his worth as a major star in NXT. Plus, let's be honest here: The Rick Rude-inspired tights were a thing of beauty.
Then, of course, came his first shot at the title during this year's TakeOver: New Orleans event. Again, The Dream stole the show despite coming out on the losing end. If you have noticed a pattern here, it's that he is almost always the one fans are all talking about after the night is over whether he wins or loses. Now after his latest victory at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, The Dream returns to the very stage he made his mark at, with his sights set on a major piece of gold: Tommaso Ciampa's NXT Championship.
After the two faced off in the middle of the ring a few weeks ago, the match was made official for WarGames and one has to wonder: Is there a ceiling for this 23-year-old phenom? Can The Velveteen Dream be the one to end Ciampa's reign of terror? There's only one way to find out, and that is to tune in to the WWE Network on November 17th and watch NXT TakeOver: WarGames live from the Staples Center!