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NXT recap & reactions (Jan. 29, 2020): Daddy really is home

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NXT returned last night (Jan. 29) from the Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Signed in blood

It’s official!

He had to go Sicilian Psychopath to get there, but Tommaso Ciampa got his match with Adam Cole for the title at TakeOver.

First, he took out all three other members of Undisputed. We did not see this. We just saw the aftermath of them laid out and a wild looking Tommaso Ciampa standing over them. Then, the Blackheart walked to the ring, grabbed a table, spray painted an X on it, and called the champ out.

He promised he was going to put Cole through that table and then sign his contract for TakeOver: Portland. And he did just that. Even even wiped his blood on the contract after getting busted open in the fight with the champ prior.

Ciampa had a bit more hinged lately, but he let loose here. This was the crazy man we all fell in love with when he was a heel and we weren’t supposed to. It set him up as a real threat to Cole, despite Adam always being flanked by three other men. And I’m not sure if four men can handle a motivated Tommaso in his purist psychopath form.

This is gonna be good.


A quick but satisfying ending

Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox delivered in their possible feud ending match.

I was critical of the beats of the build, but this first meet up was very well done. Tegan walked to the ring with a scowl on her face, a far cry from her usual smile. It sold that this was more important than playing to the crowd. Meanwhile, Dakota had her entrance video as just a loop of her attacking Nox at WarGames. Some strong mind games right there.

They brawled through the crowd and outside the ring. They didn’t hold back, really laying into each other. In the end, Nox used the knee brace that the feud was built around and then a shining wizard for the win.

It was well done, but felt a bit rushed. The match didn’t get a ton of time, and the big splash that kicked this program off felt it warranted more. The feud itself, at least up to now, also felt condensed. We didn’t even get a promo segment between these two.

Maybe it’s not over. And it’s something they definitely should come back to down the road. But the way this was booked felt like it is over for now. And after such as splash at the last TakeOver, it felt like it never lived up due to the pacing and booking along the way. That’s no fault to the talent, who showed tonight they could sell this story when they got a chance to.

The issue with it feeling rush is it didn’t get the chance to elevate both women. Dakota’s heel work was very strong, but throughout this time, she came up looking rough against Mia Yim and then lost this match. Nox looks strong walking away in victory, but Dakota should have been elevated in this program as a fresh heel. It didn’t play out that way.

So hopefully, they have a little more planed to make sure both women leave this feud looking sharp.


Dusty Classic Final

The Broserweights defeated the Grizzled Young Veterans to win the Dusty Cup.

It was a great match between the two teams, which fits in with all the other really good tag matches we got from this tournament and all the really good tag matches that we get in general in NXT.

Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne demonstrated strong chemistry right off the bat and it’s continued to grow. They have the little gestures they do before double team moves (the ones Riddle told us about in his explanation of the team coming together) and one of those double team moves is called the Riddle End, which is quite clever. Also, Riddle called the “bros from another mo,” solidifying him as one of this generation’s greatest wordsmiths.

It was a good overall showing for GYV as well, getting to knock off the Time Splitters and the NXT tag champs before eventually losing in the finals. It’ll be very interesting to see if they shift over to Wednesday nights more often.

NXT’s fascination with ragtag teams winning the Dusty Classic is very curious, this being the third team to do so. It’s not a bad thing, but the tournament could be used to make a new tag team instead of crown two individuals who could very well be feuding at this time in a month.

At least we’re guaranteed one more Broserweights match if that’s the case, and that match is against Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish in Portland.


Who’s next for the North American title?

Mr. Charisma Keith Lee cut a little promo, one week after winning the North American title and three days after looking good against Brock Lesnar in the Royal Rumble. And man is that dude smooth on the mic. You just have to like this man.

He was interrupted by Damian Priest who said some stuff, but honestly, I was so distracted with how he held the microphone. He held it kind of backhand. Who holds a mic like that? Did he think, “If I hold the microphone this way, I’ll look cool.” So many questions.

This was interrupted by Lee’s perennial foe Dominik Dijakovic, who shut down Priest by calling him a “knock off Marilyn Manson.”

This led to a match between Dom and Dam, not officially a #1 contenders match but likely an unofficial one. It was a fun bout between the athletic big men, something NXT seems to have in droves. Dijakovic picked up the win with Feast Your Eyes, and this could set up a final match between the sometimes rivals/sometimes allies Dominik & Keith. They always go all out and deliver some bangers.


Comfortable

Finn Bálor defeated Trent Seven in the opening match. This stems from Worlds Collide when Mustache Mountain stopped Finn from attacking Johnny Gargano. It was Tyler Bate who physically pulled the Prince off Johnny, but it was Seven who Finn targeted first.

Finn attacked his foe before he could even make it in the ring and dominated Seven pretty much the entire time. It was another week of Bálor demonstrating how natural he is in this role. It bears repeating that he’s so much more comfortable in this character than he had been in any other role since arriving to NXT years back.

We’ll surely get Bálor/Bate out of this, and that’s the bout I’m really looking forward to. Trent is good and all, but Bate is a star.


All the Rest:

- Shotzi Blackheart picked up a W over Deonna Purrazzo. This stemmed from Purrazzo attacking Shotz last week. It’s clear that Blackheart is someone they have high hopes for given how they allowed her be the one to get a little rub, despite in a loss, from Shayna Baszler. I’m curious to see what she does with it, especially when put in a legit program.

- Days after being eliminated in no time at all in the Royal Rumble, Chelsea Green lost her first NXT match to Kayden Carter. Not a hot start for the Robert Stone brand, but I definitely appreciated Green trying to talk trash after she lost.


This was an enjoyable episode of NXT. Tegan and Dakota had a strong finish to a surprisingly short, sometimes choppy feud. The Dusty Classic was a banger. Keith Lee rules. And Ciampa has gone full psycho.

Grade: A-

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