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Good and bad things from an eventful night on NXT house shows

As they do on weekends when they have dates scheduled outside of their Sunshine State home base, the black-and-yellow brand ran two shows on Thursday, Feb 22. Most times, live events are fun for those in attendance but don’t make much of an impression beyond that. But the events in St. Petersburg, Florida and Mississauga, Ontario definitely have fans talking - for all kinds of reasons.

There’s good news, and bad news. Which do you want first?

Well, unlike Mixed Match Challenge, this isn’t really an interactive forum. So you’re getting the bad and then the good.

In FLA, there were apparently some real idiots in the crowd. At least Kairi Sane responded to their sexist/racist/xenophobic bull$#!+ with positivity:

This also seems likely to have been one of the things which prompted Finn Bálor to make sure everyone knows his club is open to everyone, so kudos to WWE’s Superstars for making lemonade out of the rancid lemons directed at Sane.

Less bad, but possibly not by much depending on whether the folks who think they can diagnose injuries from their seats or via Twitter are right this time, we have this moment from Ember Moon vs. Bianca Belair in Canada:

Definitely a botch on Belair’s part, because Moon’s Eclipse is the most protected finisher in NXT history. It was the basis for Ember’s entire chase of Asuka. No one is agenting a match on a house show where even a highly touted prospect like The EST is kicking out of it... or, if they did, they’re probably getting fired by Triple H.

There’s a bunch of speculation Bianca got her shoulder up because she was in pain, and/or that the referee ended the match immediately as he got the signal from her that she’d been injured. I haven’t been able to find anything backing that up, and it seems more likely she lost track of where they were in the finishing sequence and the official acted like she didn’t kick out in time to cover, but we’ll see if other word trickles out - or if she disappears from action like injured NXT stars sometimes do.

From the kayfabe-sad-but-storytelling-awesome department, the Mississauga event was the beginning of Johnny Gargano’s “farewell” tour.

That General Manager William Regal specified Johnny had to fulfill his house show obligations to explain why he’s still on these cards after losing his career vs. title match with Andrade “Cien” Almas on Wednesday (DAMN YOU TOMMASO CIAMPA!!!!) is the kind of attention to detail I love about NXT. Mrs. Wrestling helping to sell it with tweets like that makes it even better.

Gargano and LeRae also defeated Almas and Zelina Vega in the main event, so that’s nice. Or at least it’s nice THAT EVIL BASTARD CIAMPA DIDN’T SHOW UP TO RUIN THAT, TOO!!! Ahem, sorry.

Probably the best thing happened at the beginning of the night in Ontario, though. That’s when Trevor “Ricochet” Mann made his WWE live event debut (he wrestled at the television tapings in Atlanta earlier this month, but this was his first time at a road show):

Now bring on that feud with Velveteen Dream.

And let’s stick to marking out and not chanting hateful crap, okay?

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