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NXT recap & reactions (May 29, 2019): Wake Up

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NXT returned to us last night (May 29) with its final episode prior to TakeOver: XXV, which takes place at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. You can find the results from the episode at the live blog here.

Mia Yim def. Bianca Belair

This was a fine match. It hit the right beats and the right woman won. But it just did not come off well on TV.

That’s mainly because the crowd was dead for this match (and this show in general). Outside a spattering of applause and one round of weak chanting for Mia, this crowd couldn’t be bothered to get loud for this match at all. Perhaps that’s because this was a long taping and they were tired. Or maybe this match wasn’t doing it for them. Maybe Mia isn’t over as they thought and Bianca has cooled off significantly. Whatever the reason, when the crowd is that quiet, the match suffers from it.

Yim needed this win. Another loss here would pretty much solidify her as enhancement talent. And with the women’s division feeling a tad thin, they can’t afford that.

Tyler Breeze/Velveteen Dream video package

I never talk about video packages, but this was too good not to. It featured Velveteen Dream talking into a phone via selfie stick, recapping how Breeze’s main roster run didn’t go as plan. And since Tyler’s been gone, NXT has upgraded to Velveteen Dream.

Using the clips of Breeze finding out about his call up and then faltering on the main roster while Velveteen thrived in NXT was great storytelling. This match only had one segment to set it up, but it’s already the most anticipated match on this show.

Shayna Baszler is interviewed about Io Shirai. She says that at TakeOver, Io isn’t allowed to use kendo sticks. And while Shirai is all out of friends, Shayna still has friends.

This was very simple but effective. Io has gotten the upper hand on Shayna and the numbers game by using a weapon. She won’t be allowed to do that at TakeOver. And she is out of friends. Will she have to overcome it on her own or will she recruit backup?

That promo just added some little things for fans to think about when watching their match.

KUSHIDA def. Drew Gulak

The two jaw after the match, Gulak feeling the pin KUSHIDA won with was cheap.

Man, the crowd was pretty dead for this one too.

They woke up a bit more in the end, but it was still a pretty lackluster energy. And it’s a shame because this match was good. This grapple style isn’t one to wake up a dead crowd, but they did their best.

Hopefully Gulak’s anger at losing means that we’ll see more of him in NXT and they’ll continue this program. Gulak is a talent and NXT would be better with him.

Io Shirai interviewed, asked about TakeOver and Shayna’s remarks. Candice LeRae interrupts and thanks Io for helping her last week so she’ll have her back on Saturday.

Welp, this removes the questions that Shayna’s interview posed, which is kind of disappointing. How will Io overcome the issues Baszler mentioned was a good hook for fans going into TakeOver. Now it’s already answered.

The fact they revealed it now makes me wonder if we’re looking at a LeRae heel turn or if it’ll be by the book.

Forgotten Sons vs. Brit-Am brawlers ends in a no contest when the Street Profits intervene and attack the Sons. (So maybe the Sons won in DQ.) Then the Profits and Brit-Am fight and it all breaks down. Of course, Undisputed ERA join the fray as well.

ERA take out Jaxson Ryker with a ladder. Then Adam Cole climbs the ladder and cuts a promo about how this is what will happen at TakeOver.

Brawls are fine, but this was so predictable that it felt more lazy than anything. Of course this is how it would go. There were no surprises. Ending the go home sbhow with such a used trope isn’t exciting.

Closing out with the ERA standing tall makes sense. TakeOver is all about them and their journey to win all the titles (or break up). It reminded fans about that aspect of Saturday.

But asides from that, this was pretty much what you’d expect and didn’t add anything to the show this Saturday.

It feels weird saying this, but that episode of NXT wasn’t good. Part of it was the crowd. I would have been more into KUSHIDA/Gulak if the crowd were a bit more alive. But really, that’s all I would have been into. This was an entirely skippable episode of NXT.

Grade: C-

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