NXT returned to us last night (Aug. 7) with their final episode before TakeOver: Toronto. You can find the results in the live blog here.
The show opens with the contract signing between the Street Profits and Undisputed ERA. Bobby Fish claims the Profits aren’t on their level. He also claims he and Kyle O’Reilly better bell to bell AND they’re funnier. (Kyle’s joke was “The Street Profits are the tag team champions.”) The profits had a fake laugh before they suddenly got serious. They put over their opponents as possibly the best tag team in NXT ever. And that’s why losing isn’t an option.
Welcome to a contract signing that didn’t come to blows and was still awesome regardless.
These men just sold us more on a match that we were probably already sold on using words alone. And while they all played their part very well (Fish and O’Reilly do goofy douches perfectly), it was Montez Ford who was the star of the segment.
The man has IT. He’s the complete package. He can go in the ring and he’s got all the charisma. He’s got that charisma when he’s poking fun at Undisputed ERA and more importantly, he still has it when he’s serious. The man has star potential.
This isn’t to forget about Dawkins. The man has the chemistry with Tez and has found his groove to hold his end of the Profits. He delivered the closing line and the crowd ate it up. It’s not a one man show by any means. But Tez is the star of that team.
Shane Thorne def. Joaquin Wilde
Joaquin Wilde impressed again here, just like he did with Angel Garza in their first round Breakout Tournament. (This also served as a reminder that the two guys who stood out the least in the tournament are in the finals.)
This match allowed Wilde to wow the crowd before he took a beating from Shane Thorne, who earned the win.
Thorne looked good here in his first singles match as part of his new gimmick. He has a good look and when it was time to get angry and nasty, he did so well. I really liked that he just marched to the back after winning. No screwing around. No playing to the crowd. Just won the match and walked back.
This match left me wanting to see both men again, so it’s a success.
Joaquin Wilde, this is for you:
Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain attacked him prior to the match starting
This was a simple but effective segment that was oddly placed on the show.
This was a less than five minute segment that was bound to leave fan disappointed because they didn’t deliver the advertised match. So why not open the show with this and then close it with the great contract signing? This isn’t live. They can order the show however they want.
Gripes about ending the live portion of a very content slim show with a match didn’t happen aside, this is a good chapter to the story.
This may be the most excited for a Riddle feud I am, and I’ve loved most of his work in NXT. Killian Dain is a legit beast, something the Bro has not dealt with. He’s a cerebral monster. Bro’s weird personality isn’t going to affect the Beast of Belfast.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Riddle responds to Dain’s attacks. How does he change his game plan so vicious beatdowns isn’t his future?
Backstage exclusive from last week where Fandango tells Breeze they haven’t been policing themselves and their fashion has gone down the tubes. Because of that, they need a reimagining.
This video has been floating around since after NXT last week so you may have already seen it. But I’m including it in here because the personality of Breezango going forward in NXT is very intriguing.
The interview here is reminiscent of their main roster personalities. (Fandango claiming he was away because he was in too deep undercover was hilarious.) Does reimagining mean they’ll be a bit more serious? Or just have nicer outfits?
They fight the Forgotten next week. Alongside the Breakout Tournament finals, NXT is stacking the fallout episode a bit more than normal.
Hype Videos Galore
There were a ton of video packages. No doubt more than 50% of the episode consisted of pre-taped material.
The final video was a behind the scenes look at Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano - not so much their feud but kind of just a behind the scenes of them wrestling and training.
They played up Gargano as someone everyone looks up to at the Performance Center, which is likely meant to make his leaving emotional when he loses. It almost felt like we were watching the Performance Center show they used to air on the WWE Network.
At one point, Gargano consulted with Seth Rollins, who proved himself the biggest dummy this week. So not the man Johnny should be seeking any advise from.
They eventually came around to the match itself, interviewing different talent and coaches about it, which often makes a match feel big. (Props to Kevin Owens for outright picking Cole.) That’s when the video, which took up the last 10 minutes of the show, started to click.
Even if they’re well done, video packages are video packages and it brings a show down when it’s so skippable. And this episode did suffer from that.
The live stuff was all good. But there wasn’t enough of it.
Sound off below.