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NXT recap & reactions (Sept. 4, 2019): Championship Material

NXT returned to us last night (Aug. 4) as they make their way to their live shows in USA in two weeks. You can find the results from this episode at the live blog here.

Breezango def. Chase Parker & Matt Martel

It’s almost odd to see Breezango get to actually work tag matches, something they rarely got to do on the main roster after awhile. They continue to be entertaining but now can do it in a wrestling ring.

They’re as goofy as before, with new music playing up the fashion cops bit. So any hope for a more serious side is going to have to wait. This being NXT, I expect we’ll see it when they get into any real feuds. There’s too much ammunition regarding their careers not reaching the heights they wanted to not to go there eventually.

Hopefully they eventually do because such one sided characters have a limited shelf life. But right now, it’s fun to see them together again doing what they do best - wrestling while being charismatically goofy.

We see Io Shirai attacking Candice LeRae in the parking lot with a kendo stick

Not much to say here except it’s good to see them finally using Io as a heel. And not just attempts at being a villain but showing an actual attack. We needed to see a reason to be angry with Shirai to help sell the rematch. Tonight helped with that.

From a segment taped “earlier in the day,” we see Cameron Grimes flipping out about how he didn’t win the Breakout Tournament. He knows he’s back at the bottom and needs to get back to the top and be the champion. Then he puts on a top hat.

Cameron Grimes finally got to show a bit of personality here, which is a strong suit for him. It’s the first time in his brief NXT run where you could be like “OK, I see the appeal.”

Not that this was perfect. He was a bit too repetitive, even for the unhinged, upset angle they were going for. But letting him talk is the way to get fans invested in him. He’s a good wrestler, but he needs to show that charm.

It felt like the payoff to this segment was him putting on a leather top hat. They really took their time with that moment. It sure was a look.

Velveteen Dream def. Kona Reeves

After the match, Roderick Strong pops up on the big screen. He asks if these bright lights are enough and they zoom out to reveal that Strong is burning Dream’s couch.

Here is our second consecutive enhancement match of the match.

Kona Reeves is very good in this role as enhancement talent who can give a longer match, much better than when they’re trying to push him as a featured talent. Unfortunately, this one didn’t click. What looked to be a bit of a botch towards the end left the finish feeling a bit lacking.

It is what it is though. This was all about the post match angle. Roddy burning the couch is a good move. It’s enough to needle the Dream. And credit to Velveteen for not overselling it because it’s just a couch. His reaction was more “Ugh, this f’n guy” than “You’re now my mortal enemy.”

It should be enough to get Strong his match.

Bianca Belair def. Taynara Conti

These matches are always of interest to me because there’s actually a developmental component to it. Belair is established but Conti is still finding her way. So it’s interesting to see if you can see the improvement.

Tonight’s match was the first I really felt “Hey, she’s coming along” when it came to Taynara. It seemed like less thinking about what she’s doing. She brought an aggression she hadn’t prior. She’s not ready for a title match or anything like that yet, but it’s good to see her making strides.

On the other side of the ring, Bianca Belair is still a star. Her booking took a hit from losing to Shayna Baszler. It’s tough to find a path for someone after they lose a title match. She put over Mia Yim afterwards so they really need to find a path to get her back up the card.

She’s super enjoyable in these showcases matches. Her personality shines (something Taynara Conti still needs to work out) and she’s a freak athlete who can go in the ring. She’ll be part of a triple threat #1 contenders match on the first live USA show with Io Shirai and Mia Yim. That should at least lead to a new program.

Adam Cole def. Jordan Myles to retain the NXT championship

This was a strong main event match, one that did as much to build Adam Cole as a strong champion as it did to give Myles a rub.

This was Cole’s match to lose as he had an answer for so much of what Myles was bringing. I’d say he had 90% of the offense in this match and looked good doing it. And there’s no problem with that. Not every match should be close to 50/50. In fact, I’d argue too many are. They can make Myles look good (and they did) while still telling the story that maybe Cole is just a touch out of his league.

That 10% for Myles was spectacular though. He hung around and wouldn’t give up until he got his opportunity to go for it. His fire up at the end was excellent. It just wasn’t enough.

This match was booked as if they plan on Cole being their guy for a long time. It would make sense with the move to USA that he’d be the charismatic heel anchor of the show.

As for Myles, his clean loss will leave him with nothing to do just yet. It was very surprising that Keith Lee didn’t turn on him here to give him something to do immediately after. It was practically telegraphed with their moment walking in today when a somewhat faux supportive Lee made sure to point out that Jordan already had an opportunity. Perhaps because it was so obvious, they opted not to go that route today. But they’ll probably go there sooner than later.

Lee could use a heel turn at this point. And after this week’s effort, Myles is a perfect man for him to turn on. That would set up some great matches between the two, matches that Lee could come out on top and Myles could be solidified as a plucky underdog. I’d bank on it happening, but it may not have the oomph if Keith betrayed Jordan right after Myles just came up short against the champ.

Outside the main event, this episode was mainly showcase matches meant to display established talent. Those matches were all enjoyable enough, but there isn’t much substance to them.

Grade: B-

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