NXT returned last night (May 22) as they build to TakeOver: XXV in Bridgeport, Connecticut. You can find the results in the live blog here.
In his office, William Regal announces it’ll be the Street Profits vs. the Forgotten Sons vs. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan vs. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish in a ladder match for the vacant tag titles in Bridgeport.
This is a good way to go about it. Adding reDRagon to the mix, even though they weren’t part of the brawl last week, is the right move. Making a ladder match adds anticipation that wouldn’t be there if it were just a standard fatal 4-way.
Undisputed ERA open the show. Adam Cole ensures they’re back on the same page and they own everyone in NXT. He reiterates their ambitions to be draped in championship gold. And that’s going to start at TakeOver.
He’s interrupted by Johnny Gargano. Cole repeats his claim that he won the first fall, but the champ reminds him that this was a 2 out of 3 falls match. As Adam is running his mouth back at Johnny, Matt Riddle runs in from behind and takes it to all of the ERA! Johnny joins him and soon officials are holding all these men apart.
On paper, this was pretty standard, but there’s a lot of good stuff going on here.
Adam Cole continues to be a fantastic promo. He’s such an obnoxious douche but at the same time, so damn charismatic. He’s back to claiming that his group, who were just on the brink of imploding, are going to win all of the titles again soon.
The ERA story is very intriguing. Are they finally going to make true on their word and walk out with the tag titles and NXT title in Connecticut? Or are they going to implode again?
Johnny finally shot down Cole’s dumb “I won the first fall” argument, and angered the head of Undisputed in the process, but it still feels like the champ is more of an afterthought in the ERA’s bigger story.
Matt Riddle’s angry side continues to be even more entertaining than his laid back stoner side. I’ve said it plenty, but the fact that he can do both so well could mean huge things for his future.
Mansoor def. Sean Maluta
Mansoor went from enhancement talent last taping to getting enhancement talent this taping.
It’s a big step. And without being the face in peril against a man who’s a bit more established like Dominik Dijakovic, this match didn’t have the fire of his last one. He’s still very good and deserves the push. But the crowd wasn’t into it given it was between two low card acts.
Plus, Mansoor is a great face in peril and Maluta isn’t the opponent to showcase that. They should match Mansoor up with a talent a bit higher on the card and have him play the underdog to really utilize his talents.
Velveteen Dream cuts a promo in the ring but is soon interrupted by Tyler Breeze! Prince Pretty claims NXT feels a bit lifeless, dull without him. He also accuses Dream of being an imitator and cheap knockoff. Dream retorts, saying the spotlight of NXT wants a real man, not a boy playing cops and robbers. Just because Tyler can’t cut it on Mondays and Tuesdays doesn’t mean he should come take Dream’s spotlight.
Tyler says he’s inspired by that North American title and Dream can’t handle an inspired Breeze. The champ tells him the line starts outside, but he’ll allow a selfie with him. Tyler takes the selfie and tells Dream, “When you write your name on your trunks and no one calls you up, they’re not interested.” Then he hits him with the phone.
Oh, this was so so good.
These two had a one off match for the North American title a bit ago, but never got to interact in the ring. And that was a shame. (Correction: That was Ricochet who Breeze had the one off with.)
This is two over-the-top personalities, cocky and flamboyant, clashing. It’s a true “This town ain’t big enough for both of us” with the size of their egos.
This is a blueprint of how a feud should use meta aspects, such as Breeze floundering on the main roster and Dream not yet being called up. They added some “Ooooooh, shit!” moments to the promo, but knowing what they were talking about wasn’t necessary to enjoy this. It’s still story that has the basics at its foundation: Breeze is an OG who wants his spot back but it’s currently held by the impressive Dream.
Welcome back, Tyler. We’ve missed you so much.
Candice LeRae def. Reina Gonzalez
After the match, the Horsewomen come down and surround the ring. They start a three on one beat down on Candice until Io Shirai runs out with a kendo stick and unloads on the horsewomen.
I can’t get enough of Warpath Io. It’s a side of her that takes her to the next level. The fun loving Genius of the Sky is good and all, but using the story of what happened to Kairi to take her to another level is better.
They used a subtlety to set this up. LeRae was part of the women breaking up the Performance Center brawl the other week and the horsewomen didn’t care for that. That attention to detail is something I’ll always appreciate about NXT.
Hopefully, this means LeRae is going to enter a program and do more than just overcome the lower card of the division.
Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish def. Matt Riddle & Johnny Gargano
At the end of the match, Adam Cole came down and distracted Johnny, fighting him outside the ring (while the referee wasn’t looking) when Roderick Strong attacked Riddle and allowed Fish & O’Reilly to pick up the win.
The ERA lay a four on two beat down at the end of the show.
It sure looks like the ERA are back on the same page, but at this stage of the story, it’ll be that way until Bridgeport.
It feels like the ERA are going to win all their matches on June 1 or they’re going to lose all of them. Full victory or full defeat. And unfortunately for the foursome, it’ll more likely be full defeat. And then the fracturing will really kick into high gear.
This was a great main event, but when they put four of their best wrestlers in the main event, it’s not hard to expect that. It feels like I gush over Riddle often, but he is always fantastic to watch. Before he came into NXT, I didn’t “get him,” but now watching his character and what he can do in the ring, I totally do.
Fish and O’Reilly are one of the best tag teams in all WWE (but let’s hope they don’t get called up that soon) and Johnny is Johnny.
Good stuff all around, a strong match ending with an image of an indestructible Undisputed, but that itself may be disputed in a couple weeks.
Fun show this week, setting up some really good stuff for TakeOver.
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