NXT is back in black and gold, and live this week!
Claire is also live, blogging away on internet.com for your reading pleasure, while I’m going to connect dots an tell you what it all means.
Let’s talk NXT!
It’s weird seeing Pete Dunne back in NXT as Butch. Even weirder because NXT relies heavily on continuity and not pretending the audience have goldfish memories. But, here we are. Ridge Holland and
Dunne Butch made their NXT returns as challengers for Pretty Deadly’s NXT Tag Team championships.
In typical Brawling Brutes fashion, it was a banger. Pretty Deadly are no slouches either, but the Brutes just elevate everyone else’s game. Which is a great thing for them and their opponents on any given night. Butch and Ridge didn’t win this match but they did look incredibly strong going into their Extreme Rules bout with Imperium. They dominated from the opening bell. Butch broke down both members of PD like fractions, while Ridge just out muscled everyone.
And that’s fine for Pretty Deadly because they’re not the strongest tag team or the quickest. They’re heels who take advantage of situations and somehow always put the odds in their favor.
To that point, the storytelling here was pretty good. The more Pretty Deadly struggled, the more they tried to get disqualified. They tried knocking out the ref! They tried getting caught doing the silliest things that might make the ref ring the bell, but the ref either didn’t notice or moved just out of the way. It showed how desperate these two are to keep their titles and just how much they underestimated Butch & Holland.
If Imperium doesn’t interfere, then you have new NXT tag champs. But they did. And that quick instance distracted the Brutes just long enough for Pretty Deadly to capitalize with a little Spilt Milk. But the Brutes barely cared.
Their focus was all on Imperium at that point, so the four men brawled outside the ring while Pretty Deadly met new challengers in Briggs & Jensen and Edris Enofe & Malik Blade. I love that Enofe & Blade are finally doing a thing with substance. I also love Briggs & Jensen staying in the title picture. I did miss Fallon Henley by their side but I get it. This isn’t her fight.
This was a dope main event that established both teams, segued into Extreme Rules, and set Pretty Deadly on the road to new obstacles. Solid booking all around. Sometimes keeping it simple really is the right move.
Back in Effect
Carmelo Hayes needed this W over Oro Mensa. The A-Champ, despite what he says, was on quite the losing streak. And it came at the worst possible time since he’s competing for the North American championship in a ladder match at Halloween Havoc. Mensa, minus one top rope maneuver that almost ended badly, worked a smooth match against Hayes. It’s hard calling anything with Hayes less than solid at this point, but it wasn’t one of his standouts. The fact that I say that is a testament to Melo’s work.
Storyline wise, Trick Williams intervened and took another bullet for Melo, showing his worth, yet again, and setting the stage for what he may or may not do during the upcoming ladder match.
Here Comes a New Challenger!
Zoey Stark & Nikkita Lyons. Two women who want nothing more than to prove they’re a real tag team. More than just a real tag team, they want to show they’re an incredible one. Toxic Attraction want their titles back, simple as that. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne did nothing but torture anyone who even got close to sniffing what they believe is their gold.
And for a moment, it looked like they were on their way to becoming number one contenders again. Toxic Attraction is a great team. These two women know each other inside out, which is always part of the storytelling. So when they wrestle lesser experienced teams, they normally triumph. They play their game while the other team doesn’t even know the name of the game they’re playing. But like I said, that almost worked this week.
Zoey and Nikkita are facing Katana Chance and Kayden Carter for the titles because they really are a team. And, more importantly, they’re the physically stronger team. Zoey & Nikkita just overpowered their opponents in the end, while playing on Zoey’s experience with tag team wrestling.
While I prefer a heel team vs. a face team for the championships, this looks like an easy way to get some gold on Nikkita. That said, I really think those belts should stay with Carter & Chance for at least a little while longer. They’ll go into this match as underdogs though, which is exactly what they like and what fits them best as champs. Bring it on.
That’s a Thing That Happened
I like Apollo Crews. I like Grayson Waller. I do not like what they’re doing with this feud right now. The fact it was the last image of a segment mostly about Cora Jade and Roxanne Perez’s Halloween Havoc match makes it even more annoying. Cora and Roxanne guested on the Grayson Waller Effect, constantly cutting each other off and doing a great job showing how much they hate each other.
That hate went to another level during their pull-apart brawl. Security pulling wrestlers apart is always a good move. A weapons match is perfect for these two.
But back to Waller and Crews. Apollo showed up disguised as NXT security, dragged Waller under the ring, and then put red food dye around his eyes to make it look like his eyes were bleeding. Yet, somehow, Waller’s vision was great enough to see Apollo walking towards him as he backed up in the straightest of straight lines to get to the locker room. Just think both men are better than this silliness.
I see you, NXT. Putting Von Wagner in a match with Andre Chase to get me caring about a Von Wagner match. You ain’t slick. But it did work. Chase did his best at putting Wagner over as a monster. But I still didn’t buy it. And I believe the wrong person won. Chase is really over and should be in a prime spot. Especially after pinning Hayes. Wagner is fetch and they keep trying to make fetch happen.
Wendy Choo beat Lash Legend. Lash is getting better and Wendy is Wendy. This wasn’t much of a match to speak of but it served its purpose.
Blink and I Missed It
Brutus Creed is hurt, thanks to Damon Kemp. Duke Hudson rubbed salt in Diamond Mine’s wound. Julius said “nah, bravo” and challenged Duke to a match. The match was shorter than the time it took me to write those sentences. Julius squashed Duke, then both brothers beat him up at the end of it. Whew, poor Duke. He needs to go back to the card tables.
The only news from the segment is Julius and Kemp at Halloween Havoc is now an ambulance match. If Julius loses, Brutus is gone from NXT. Julius had the line of the night: “If you call for me, I answer on the first ring.”
Very dope, sir.
Now the Joy, in My World...
Xyon Quinn got a win, everyone! Yes, it was against Hank Walker, the football player turned security guard turned wrestler, but one good turn deserves another. But with that said, Quinn’s win in an okay match was purely set up for a feud with Quincy Elliott, Hank’s newfound friend and someone Xyon doesn’t like. Which means Xyon won the battle but will more than likely take several Ls in the war. The friendship between Quincy and Hank is the one entertaining thing here.
Minus a couple matches, this was a solid outing for the black and yellow brand. Nothing mind-blowing, but we got new matches for next week, more build towards Halloween Havoc, and Alba Fyre kidnapped Mandy Rose. People really need to stay out of that parking lot. Especially when someone who wields a bat just walks around freely.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.