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NXT recap & reactions (Sept. 1, 2020): But wait, there’s more

NXT returned last night (Sept. 1) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Iron Men

After an hour long Iron Man match, NXT did not crown a new champion.

Instead, because Adam Cole and Finn Bálor were tied at the end, they’ll go one on one for that championship next week.

Any time a show promises something big like a new champion, especially when it’s after an hour long match, it’s going to be disappointing when that isn’t delivered. How disappointing is going to depend on a few different factors. Did it feel cheap? How good was the match? Did it service a greater story?

So let’s start from the top. Did it feel cheap?

It did in the sense that they promised us a winner and then after watching a match for an hour, just used it to advertise a different championship match for next week. And how are we to know they’re not going to cry wolf next week too? Failing to deliver a promise this big is going to leave a bad taste in the mouth no matter what.

How was the match?

It was pretty good.

Iron Man matches are tough. They’re bound to have periods where there isn’t much going on given the amount of time they need to fill. That’s just the nature of the beast, even if four incredible workers are in the match.

But overall, this one was entertaining. They booked it in a way that at any time, a pin or submission could completely change the course of the match. No one was every running away with this. The biggest lead a man had over his opponents was one.

And there were plenty of high drama moments with nearfalls that could have shifted the momentum of the match. As the match wore on, the tension built until the climax in the final 60 seconds. That last minute was exciting with a swerve at the end.

They were limited by having to fill 60 minutes, but they did the best they could and that was still pretty dang good.

Did it serve the greater story?

Only in the sense that it got us to next week. And then we’ll see where it goes from there.

I understand the urge to avoid crowning a champion immediately. To make the journey for the eventually winner arduous enough that the title feels earned in the end. To pit the two longest reigning NXT champions ever against each other after a grueling hour long match makes the eventually win feel bigger than if it just happened this week.

Unfortunately, to get that extra layer of challenge to earn the title, fans have to be promised one thing that was not delivered here.

So in the end, I’m not too salty. It’s disappointing, but not “F this” disappointing. The match was enjoyable, though not something I feel needs to be sought out if you didn’t see it. The match next week is one that has needed to happen. (Yes, it happened once before, but that was more in service to the Finn Bálor/Johnny Gargano feud. This is the real deal.)

And in the end, I’m still a fan of NXT and in general, they have a pretty good amount of creative good will with me. It’s not like they pull this type of crap all the time. But if they don’t deliver next week, then I’m going to start getting salty.

Street fight!

Breezango & Swerve Scott defeated El Legado del Fantasma in a street fight this week.

It didn’t look like it’d go their way. Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner of Imperium attacked the tag team champs mid match, and given this is a street fight so no disqualification, they looked to be done for.

But Fandango and Scott were able to break off, ride a forklift up, and jump on all five of their foes to even the score. This was probably the moment of the match, but it was a really fun bout overall.

I do have one gripe though.

Tyler Breeze and Fandango wrestled this match in their regular street gear. This is a street fight! The only thing that differs a street fight and a regular hardcore is wearing jeans. Or at least some sort of street clothes. I’m not asking them to sacrifice their fashion. They can wear some designer jeans. But a street fight needs a different outfit.

It looks like Imperium is going to get a rematch for those titles, so the new champs will have to contend with them and likely Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. Having to deal with the former champs likely means Breezango won’t be a one and done team.

Building a Friendship

NXT is working hard to build the friendship between Tegan Nox & Candice LeRae, a friendship that is already very strained.

They were always friendly on screen prior to LeRae’s heel turn. They had teamed together and been backstage together. But they were never established as close friends, not in the way say Tegan and Dakota were. That’s why the last two weeks, NXT has aired very effective videos establishing their past friendship and why it’s upsetting that their paths have diverged.

That’s going to play out in the future. After Candice defeated Kacy Catanzaro in her new more aggressive style, she got on the mic and admitted she was distracted by Tegan’s video from earlier. So she invited Nox to her house to talk things over.

It’s surely not a trap.

Enter Theory

Timothy Thatcher defeated Bronson Reed, but needed help from Austin Theory to do so.

Thatcher wasn’t looking for Theory’s help. And Austin didn’t do it to aid Tim. It was revenge from the slap Big Thicc gave him backstage last week.

It’ll be interesting to see who takes this feud. They’ve booked Reed very well the last month or so. But they’ve seemed high on Theory as well, at least prior to his absence. So I’m curious to see who comes out of this feud stronger.

While the first hour of this show was pretty entertaining, especially the street fight, the whole evaluation on the show is based on the meat of it. And that’s the main event.

As I discussed earlier, I stand that this was an entertaining match with a disappointing ending, but an ending that leads to an even better match next week. I’m not angry with the finish. But I did leave the night feeling this was all just OK.

Grade: B-

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