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NXT recap & reactions (Apr. 3, 2019): Brooklyn Bound Brawlers

NXT returned last night (Apr. 3) with their final show prior to TakeOver; New York. You can find the results at the live blog here.

War Raiders def. two guys in a squash.

They then insist the next team come out.

This time they get Cezar Bononi and Adrain Jaoude. They squash them too.

This likely was to remind us that the War Raiders both exist and can wrestle.

They’re a fun hoss tog team that have good matches. But at this point, that’s all they are. They’re a team that NXT hasn’t done anything with to give them any additional layers. They’re two big vikings who can toss people around and also toss themselves around.

And that is really cool! But I usually need more from my champions, another layer outside just their basic character model.

Not that I expected that tonight. Again, this was just to remind us that they are fun to watch. But I hope after they retain at TakeOver, and they will retain at TakeOver, NXT gives us a little more with the Raiders.

Until then, we should expect the tag title match at TakeOver to be killer.

Candice LeRae is interviewed on her way into Full Sail, saying she’s very excited to watch her husband. But she’s also excited to watch the women’s title match because she’s always wanted to be a champion. She’s interrupted by Aliyah and Vanessa Borne, who says she is not destined to be women’s champion. Candice steps up and tells Aliyah she’s going to drop her on her bougie ass.

Hey, Candice is going to do something not related to her husband!

This was an effective little backstage to set up a pre-TakeOver match. Candice was good here. I really liked the delivery of the “Wow” she let out when Borne and Aliyah interrupted her. I enjoyed her making sure to tell Aliyah she was going to drop her on her “bougie ass.” We’ve only seen her as “Gargano’s angry wife” so her natural charisma has been hidden from us.

Aliyah annoyed me here, but it was in the way they intended because she’s an annoying heel. I still think Borne has the higher ceiling between the two, but that’s the type of thing we’re here to keep an eye on. That’s another of the interesting things about NXT - that development aspect.

Jaxson Ryker def. Oney Lorcan

Jaxson Ryker is a big dude. Even though he and Oney are the same height, it looked like Ryker dwarfed him. Because Jaxson is one jacked dude.

Lorcan was the perfect opponent to showcase Ryker. He’s slimmer, which showcases that Ryker is a built man. He can sell, which was on display as he sold a bear hug from Ryker, a move that can look super lame if it’s not sold well. He can fire up and get the crowd behind him, which made it that more more disappointing when Jaxson snuffed it out.

This succeeded in building Ryker is a big threat. He’s the enforcer for the Sons but he’s more than that. He mixed it up well with Lorcan. Let’s see him mix it up with some other more established talent.

Keith Lee talks to a throng of reporters saying he and Dominik Dijakovic were bumped from TakeOver. He knows he’s not the chosen one. But he went to William Regal and made sure he can face Dijakovic in two weeks.

We’ll finally get the rematch between these hosses in two weeks. I’m not sure if I care for Lee framing himself as someone who isn’t a chosen one. It’s a very played trope. But if it were just to explain away their match getting pushed back, it’s fine.

Bianca Belair vs. Kairi Sane ends in a no contest when Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir attack both competitors. This brings out Io Shirai and eventually the rest of the locker room. After a large brawl, it’s Io standing in the ring with the title as NXT goes off the air.

Kairi Sane and Bianca Belair have really strong chemistry. This was their second one on one match (at least on TV). Their first was over a year ago at the Mae Young Classic and served as Bianca’s breakout match. That chemistry was on display again tonight. They just mesh so well. Kairi sells Belair’s impressive power very well. She also does the plucky fire up that fits really well against the more bossy Bianca. Their personalities and style just fit. And Bianca is just so talented that they mix up so well.

(Kairi has great chemistry with Shayna as well, so some of it is she’s just kinda awesome.)

The ending was quite predictable, but also fit the story they have been telling the past month with Baszler. But predictable doesn’t mean bad. Neither of these women should take a loss prior to their title match.

The brawl was fun too. The announcers explained the locker room’s involvement by saying Baszler and co. have terrorized everyone. Which is true. But it’s also a story tool they could use in a bigger point down the line. She has terrorized the locker room. Perhaps one day it will cost her more than in just a go-home brawl.

Unsurprisingly, this was a filler heavy episode, with a bunch of hype packages for TakeOver. It is not essential viewing by any means but what they did put on was all fun to watch.

Grade: B-

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