NXT returned last night (Oct. 4) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.
The Four Greatest
Pat McAfee’s crew made another statement this week.
They interrupted a tag match between Ever-Rise and everyone’s favorite odd couple of Drake Maverick & Killian Dain, beating the hell out of Drake & Dain. Then Pat turned his attention to his real target: Undisputed ERA.
He cut another long promo, which he’s very good at. Seriously, the man can ramble for five minutes and it is entertaining. Pat’s got that gift of gab. He put over the ERA before claiming his crew were their replacement. Then they lit fire to an Undisputed ERA flag.
After the display, they walked to the parking lot, where Killian Dain was waiting to attack. But even the Beast of Belfast can’t take on four men at once. Pete Dunne ended up kicking the car door onto his head, an action that even McAfee thought may have been too much. His reaction to Pete’s brand of violence was quite hilarious. “I like what you did.That was a little aggressive... we’ll talk about it later.” He delivered the line perfectly so it was funny but at the same time, sold Pete Dunne as the wildcard of the group.
Killian Dain and Drake Maverick will probably get a title shot because of this. That’s good. It gives them a strong heel duo to help the lovable babyfaces get over. They won’t win the match, but right now, it’d be too soon for that anyway.
But the real end game is some sort of Undisputed vs. Pat McAfee and Boys match. Normally, we’d be preparing for WarGames this time of year. But they aren’t getting the structure inside the CWC so they’d have to find some place else or get creative with it. Whatever they choose, this should be fun. It’ll give Undisputed a chance to actually play babyfaces for a change.
To the Moon
Cameron Grimes is hilarious.
After being terrorized by zombies last week, the Carolina Caveman was very on edge. But hey, at least he was alive. Zombies eat people so he should consider himself lucky.
Grimes faced a rolling Kushida and held his own against the Japanese sensation. But towards the end of the match, the referee got knocked out. First, Kushida locked in the Hoverboard Lock to make Grimey tap out to prove he’d win this match without any weirdness. But with the referee unconscious, the match continued.
Cameron took advantage with a Spanish Fly that had Kushida down but once again... no referee. That’s until Referee Darryl Sharma made his way to the ring to count the three. But just the sight of the man, who was zombified in the Haunted House of Terror match last week, set Grimes over the edge. Kushy caught him with another Hoverboard lock for the submission.
I was wondering how they’d follow up Grimes’ campy comedy horror bit from last week. This was the best way to go about it. They didn’t completely ignore it but worked it into the real world of NXT. His over the top delivery was perfect for the bit they were going for. At the same time, he held his own against NXT’s hottest wrestler so he’s still a threat enough in the ring.
Speaking of Kushida, I think he should be in line for a title shot whenever Finn Bálor returns. Yes, they can feud him with Johnny Gargano for the North American title, but Kushida is doing so well right now, I say let’s go right to the top title.
In the main event of the night, Tommaso Ciampa defeated Velveteen Dream. Honestly, if it weren’t the main event, that’s probably all I’d say about it, and I’d put it in the “All the Rest” category.
But since it was the main, I felt I should probably at least speculate on where we go from here.
Tommaso Ciampa seems to be a tweener again, which suits the landscape. With Finn out of action, they need someone who can also play a babyface as well as a heel. Similar to when they turned him heel because of Kross’ injury. If they are adjusting him to fit the current situation, it’s possible he doesn’t have a clear plan at this moment.
As for Dream, he keeps losing. He hasn’t won anything of significance since returning. It is reasonable to wonder if the fan backlash to his presence on TV has anything to do with that, but it’s been pretty clear they are going to push him regardless of that. Maybe they expected those reactions to go away and then had to adjust when they didn’t. Because looking just at the character, turning heel and then losing all the time is not the way to cement that character shift.
Candice LeRae got her revenge on Shotzi Blackheart this week, running over her little tank with a truck.
This distraction, which was aired on the video screen during Blackheart’s match with Toni Storm, cost her that match. It wasn’t a very convincing win for Storm, especially because prior to the Candice video, Toni didn’t really beat a 10 count back into the ring. Instead the referee just kind of stopped counting. Then she won with a quick pin when Shotzi was completely distracted. It’s good to protect Blackheart, but it feels like they could have done it in a way where Toni seemed to earn it more.
Shotzi’s reaction to her tank being run over could be considered an overreaction, though it fits with her exaggerated, extreme character. Add that to the real life emotion she felt about losing and then finding her prized helmet and this didn’t seem like too much.
NXT opened with a surprise win.
Dakota Kai defeated the recent returned Ember Moon. This match felt like it would be a strong win over a solid competitor for Moon before she moved on. Instead, after two segments of good back and forth action, Raquel González caused a minor distraction that allowed Kai to defeat Moon.
This bodes well for Dakota Kai, who could have been relegated to good hand status with a loss tonight. While she’ll probably lose the overall feud (and perhaps set up Moon vs. González), this keeps her in the fray in a talented women’s division.
And hey, tonight’s match was really good. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a rematch.
All the Rest:
- Timothy Thatcher terrorized another one of his students in his Thatch as Thatch Can demonstration. But then the student he did that to last week attacked the teacher from behind.
- We still don’t know the person behind the Scream mask is. They were in the backseat of Candice LeRae’s truck when she ran over the tank and next to Johnny Gargano in his home as he cut a rather hilarious promo about how he now loves wheels. Maybe we’ll learn their identity next week.
This was a solid episode with some good action. But it was also a rather uneventful episode, likely by design. Not only are they treading water until Finn is healthy but they know they’re going to get crushed in the ratings by continued election results so this episode could have been a punt. But it’s one of those Johnny Hekker punts that you appreciate watching.
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