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NXT recap & reactions (Mar. 13, 2019): Turnabout’s fair play


NXT returned to us last night (Mar. 13) with the last episode of this set of tapings. You can find the results at a perfectly adequate live blog here.

The Forgotten Sons def. Mustache Mountain to advance to the Dusty Classic Finals

Man, I’m just not feeling the Forgotten Sons. But is that by design?

They are heels. And you’re not supposed to like heels. But I find myself not caring about them more than disliking them. We’re not supposed to be apathetic to heels. We’re supposed to not like them. So what are the Sons missing?

Part of it is likely the fact they are just generic biker dudes with zero character outside that. And none of them are showing that natural charisma which makes such character detail less important. (Jaxson Ryker has some of it, but he just stands at ringside.) Couple in some average matches, and you have an act that is pretty bland. And I’m certainly not hoping they take on the War Raiders (who I pretty much feel the same way about outside better in-ring work) at TakeOver: New York.

Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler (who I still can’t tell apart even though I know what Wesley Blake looks like), aren’t bad in the ring. Their last two matches were pretty good. But they also had very good dance partners.

This is developmental and a team finding their groove is what this is all about. Let’s hope they do.

On the other side, Mustache Mountain still rules. They’re a UK team, but it’s a treat every time they’re in the US version of the black and yellow.

Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair ends in a no contest when Shayna Baszler decides to attack both women. Kairi Sane runs out to help but she’s laid out too. Shayna learns later she’ll have to defend her title against all three women in TakeOver: New York.

You have to wonder what these heels are thinking. Has Shayna never watched NXT before? She has to know interrupting a #1 contenders match means she’s probably going to have to defend the title against multiple people. This exact same thing happened to the Undisputed ERA last year!

And that’s exactly what happened. She had it coming 100%.

That all said, it was probably worth to look as badass as she did laying out three separate women. Also, props to Kairi for still getting massive pops in the NXT Zone. Fans love them some Kairi Sane.

The fatal 4-way should be fun, and it’s likely a reason to delay a title change until they decide who really is the next big challenger for Shayna. All three women in this match feel like they could be champion, but none of them feel like the one to take it off Baszler one on one right now. (Kairi because she already has, Io because it feels too early, and Belair because she just lost that one on one.)

These four are a good base for the women’s division (though I bet Shayna is gone as soon as she loses the belt) but it feels the top of the card could use a couple new faces to spice things up. Maybe they can start using Candice LeRae as more than just “Johnny’s wife.” Maybe?

Ricochet & Aleister Black def. #DIY to advance in the Dusty. Johnny Gargano tweaked his knee at the end of the match and couldn’t compete so Ciampa had to go it alone.

Afterwards, Candice LeRae walks down to check on her husband. She and Ciampa help Johnny up the ramp. Gargano slips. Tommaso helps him up... only to try to run him into the LED screen. However, Gargano sees it coming and uses his “bad” leg to stop it and reverses it. He tosses Ciampa into the screen and then delivers a kick to the champs head!

Man, what a closing angle to set up to the TakeOver: New York match that unfortunately isn’t going to happen given Ciampa’s neck surgery.

They do so well with call backs to the beginning of the story with changes that serve the story at this stage. We learned this week that Gargano no longer has the wool pulled over his eyes. He sees Tommaso for what he is and was playing him this entire time. He even faked a knee injury to force Ciampa to do it himself, knowing he’d take the loss to Ricochet and Aleister.

And that was fine by him. Gargano never wanted to win the Dusty. He wants the NXT Championship. And he realized he was going to have to play Tommaso to get there like Tommaso was playing him to avoid such a fate.

Using the toss into the LED screen as a go to point in their story is a fun beat to keep revisiting. This time it was Johnny doing the tossing, who had finally wised up to everything. (It was wise to have Tommaso attempt it first so he remained the heel. If Johnny did it first, he’d bee the heel for breaking up #DIY again.)

It’s a damned shame that this is all put on hold (if ever followed up in NXT at all) because of Tommaso’s neck surgery. This business can be cruel, and it was to Tommaso first and foremost. Hopefully, the Blackheart heals up and can return to doing what he enjoys.

It’s a shame for Johnny too. He was likely in line to win the NXT title in Brooklyn. Not that he can’t now. But it doesn’t mean nearly as much if he doesn’t win it from Ciampa.

Of course the match that led to this angle was fun. Would you expect otherwise from these four? It’ll be Ric and Black who are our last hope to avoid a Sons/War Raiders match in New York. Get it done in two weeks, boys!

A great main event angle propped up this show, though we won’t get any follow up unfortunately. The opening bout was fine, but the Forgotten Sons remain forgettable. And the #1 contenders match was all about the post match angle.

Grade: B-

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