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NXT recap & reactions (June 26, 2019): Warpath

NXT returned to us last night (June 26) with their second episode from the most recent set of tapings. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Angel Garza def. Joaquin Wilde in a Breakout Tournament match

Unlike most people who debut in NXT, I’ve actually seen these two men given my years of TNA/Impact viewing. Wilde (formerly DJZ) was there for while while Garza was there for a little bit but impressed in that short time. And both men impressed greatly in their first televised WWE/NXT match.

The great thing about this tournament is, even though they are NXT rookies, these guys are seasoned wrestlers. This isn’t watching two men who have a couple years between them try to figure out their way through a match. These men know what they’re doing. That’s the case for the vast majority of the tournament.

Because of that, we get bouts like this. This was incredible athleticism and just a baller match. Now it’s entirely possible they put these guys first because they knew they’d open the tournament with a bang. But with guys like the former ACH, Trevor Lee, and Swerve Strickland still in the wings, there’s no reason not to be excited for the tournament match every week.

It’s not surprising Angel won. Between the two, he has the higher ceiling because he just oozes charisma. He can do both cocky heel or smug babyface with that kind of personality. You can hate him or love him. With such a natural charisma, the sky’s the limit for Garza.

Wilde will do just fine as well with such skill. He doesn’t have the charisma like Angel does, but that’s more of a comment about Garza and less Joaquin. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lighting it up on 205 Live sooner than later.

Damian Wilde interviewed outside Full Sail, where he says the name Damian Priest will live forever.

Looks like we’ve got an immortal on our hands! Watch out for Duncan MacLeod, Damian, because there can be only one.

(Sorry, I’ve been rewatching a lot of Highlander on Amazon recently.)

Street Profits vs. the Forgotten Sons (which was made a tag title match prior) ended in a DQ when Jaxson Ryker got involved when it looked like the Profits were going to win. This brought out the Brit-Am Brawlers to help. There was a tense moment when Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch picked up the titles and handed tehm back to the champs. Burch told them “Remember, you owe us.”

This is the type of segment we’ve been getting often when it comes to the tag division. It’s been chaos, but it’s been fun chaos.

It was smart for Jaxson Ryker to get involved in his boys’ title match, even though it handed them the loss. The Street Profits looked like they had this won. If the Sons took a pinfall loss, they’d have to go to the back of the line. Ryker kept them alive.

The better moment was the tense standoff between the Brit-Am Brawlers and the Profits. “You owe us” was a great line to let us know that Lorcan and Burch weren’t doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. Profits/Brawlers is a match you can sign me right up for.

Keith Lee def. Nykos Rikos

I looked down and this one was over. I guess Keith Lee didn’t want to mess around with that wild gear that Nykos Rikos was wearing.

This was a fun, quick match which involved Lee knocking Rikos so hard he may have lost his other sleeve. But I’m also getting tired of Lee squashes and need to see him feud with someone so we can see what he’s really all about.

We see a video of the “Bay Bay Championship Tour” which ends with Adam Cole getting off at a “Gargano’s” deli.

Is Adam Cole going to mess with Johnny Garagano’s family? Is that what this is all about? Johnny has been MIA for awhile so this would be just the thing to wake him back up.

Shayna Baszler def. Io Shirai in a steel cage match to retain the Women’s title

The Horsewomen were heavily involved, preventing Shirai from winning by escape multiple times. This brought out Candice LeRae who neutralized Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke.

Shayna ended up retaining by falling out of the cage when Io slammed the cage door into her head.

After the match, Io Shirai viciously attacked Candice LeRae, who was just trying to help.

I think I enjoyed the post match angle match more than the match itself (and I didn’t dislike the match).

The mess in the middle felt overbooked as it happened, with everyone getting involved and Io being denied the loss multiple times. But in retrospect, it was necessary to pull off the fantastic heel turn.

That segment of overbooking also wasn’t the very end of the match, which helped. The match reset to a great finish between the two competitors. The sequence at the door was great drama with multiple moments of making us think Io was actually going to win it. But Baszler lucked into retaining her title, and that was it for babyface Io.

This turn was both surprising and not at all surprising. Io had already showed that she’s going to attack those who get in the way no matter the reason. She was already hitting people who pissed her off with a kendo stick, just happened to be heels at that time. Thiw week, Warpath Io felt Candice was in her way and LeRae paid for it.

The heel turn actually retroactively makes the questionable TakeOver: XXV ending work better. Io’s post match actions after losing relatively clean to Baszler were not one of a true babyface. Well, now we know there wasn’t much babyface left. She was already driven to her limit and snapping was inevitable.

The only way to keep Io in the title match was turning her heel. No matter the reason, a babyface can’t lose three times in title challenges and get a fourth. But a big change like a heel turn resets all that. Babyface Io, even with an edge, couldn’t get the job done. Maybe one with zero remorse can instead.

Now this leaves interesting trichotomy for the likely triple threat in Toronto. You have the true heel in Baszler and the pure babyface in LeRae. And now we have Io, who is more heel but probably going to fit in as more of a tweener.

Things are looking interesting in the women’s title picture.

This was a fun episode with a banger of an opening match and a great closing angle.

Grade: A-

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