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NXT recap & reactions (June 5, 2019): Buying Time

NXT returned last night (June 5) with the first of two pseudo-fallout episodes from TakeOver: XXV. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Keith Lee def. Kona Reeves

It feels like Kona has found his place in NXT.

An actual push with the Finest gimmick wasn’t going anywhere. But he’s great in the role as heel who gives babyfaces great matches. Kona did it again here. He sold early on, found a cheap way (fake knee injury) to get the upper hand, and then sold at the end. Keith Lee looked good, which was the purpose, and Kona looked good in the process.

Lee’s bit where he never let go of Reeve’s arm and just kept unloading punishment was fun. His run in NXT hasn’t gotten off to the best start due to injuries (his and other’s). Hopefully they can get him into a legit program at this next set of tapings.

Walking back stage after TakeOver, Io Shirai says she’s not done with Shayna Baszler.

I was not a fan of how they booked the women’s match at TakeOver. I felt it would have worked much better if Baszler cheated to win and then Io lost her mind. That aside, I still enjoy warpath Io a ton. Just stating “I’m not done with Shayna” without breaking her stride was very enjoyable. I wouldn’t mess with her.

She will team with Candice LeRae next week to face Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. This match was taped at a house show prior to TakeOver. That means they must have planned the finish to the TakeOver match far in advance since Shirai isn’t walking into that match with the title.

That’d never happen on the main roster, where the finish can change hours before the match.

The Street Profits celebrate after their TakeOver victory. They put over the camera man who’s been doing it for awhile, and even bring him into the shot!

It was impressive how quickly they built the Street Profits into legit contenders after they had been losing big matches for so long. I didn’t buy them as the next team just a month ago but they booked them very well in the build to this that I was actively rooting for them at TakeOver.

Seeing them celebrate backstage felt real. It was watching two guys who had worked a long time to get here (especially Angelo Dawkins, who’s been in the system forever). The moment when they took the camera man into the shot and acknowledged him as being there the whole time felt like a real moment.

Mia Yim def. Bianca Belair

This is third time these two have faced off in a month’s time, which is a lot of time to run a match and keep fans invested. Especially when each match doesn’t raise the stakes much.

The crowd was livelier than last week’s bout, but that crowd was dead. This was a crowd itching to watch TakeOver (though even here, they were a bit subdued in the middle of the match).

The finish is intriguing. If they want Mia as a contender, she needed to win the feud. Not that there’s room for her in the title scene right now (Candice LeRae and Io are both closer to that story) and there aren’t many other women for her to feud with as another feud.

And what of Bianca? For the brand overall, it’s makes sense to solidify Mia as a player. But between Yim and Belair, the latter has a much higher ceiling. What does she do now having dropped down the card? There are certainly women a bit lower she can beat to work her way up, such as Aliyah & Vanessa Borne and Kacy Catanzaro. But unless they have a story ready, that feels beneath her. It’s possible they have main roster plans for her, despite the fact there are women like Ember Moon who aren’t getting time already.

We’ll find out soon enough.

You know what to expect with these episode. A couple matches (and these you could give or take), plenty of recap filler, and a couple YouTube vids.

It’s going to be much different next week, though the matches may be better with Undisputed vs. Brit-Am Brawlers and a KUSHIDA/Drew Gulak submission match to go along with the women’s tag match.

Grade: C

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