NXT 2.0 is on your airwaves this week. Just like every week. And like every week, Claire’s blog is the best place to be for your wrestling needs. This is the second best place to be so with her at one and me at two, how can you lose?
Let’s talk NXT!
Time to talk Bron Breakker and Joe Gacy. Again. As a rule of thumb, any time a wrestler reiterates the beats of a story, that means it ain’t working. Guess what Gacy did this week? All of this en route to challenging Bron to another championship match. BUT, this time, if Bron gets DQ’d, Joe steps away with the NXT championship. Which makes for a good story if we saw Bron lose his cool over time. He didn’t get DQ’d during their first match, and even when he does “lose his cool” against Gacy, it seems like controlled chaos. He never goes over the line or needs any NXT officials intervening. Once again, no legwork done here to give the stipulation stakes. Especially since no one believed for a nanosecond Bron thought joining Gacy’s cause was a great idea.
There was potential for this feud, even with Gacy’s knack for annoyance. But NXT skipped the most interesting parts every single time, leaving us to fill in the blanks like a twisted game of Mad Libs.
No thank you.
For some matches, even when you know the outcome, they still deliver. The Brothers Creed and The Viking Raiders put on one of those matches. A bunch of meaty or semi-meaty men slapping meat, and two of them can fly. The story going into the match is the Creeds believing they don’t need Roderick Strong’s help to beat anyone. And after he interfered in their last match with the Vikings, this week was all about atonement.
There was one moment where Brutus hit a Brutus Bomb onto the Raiders but he didn’t hit all of the move. While he didn’t get hurt, he didn’t exactly land gingerly either. He finished the match, so no harm no foul. But let’s hope he doesn’t wake up in a lot of pain.
Both teams battled to a standstill, dishing out their respective best that just wasn’t good enough to get the job done.
And then Roddy did what Roddy does. Strong jumped into the match with his sights set on attacking the Raiders. Julius blocked his attack, threw Roddy out of the ring and exclaimed, “We don’t need you, Roddy!” Of course, that was all the time the Raiders needed to go all War Raid on Julius and Brutus. And that was all she wrote.
While the Creed Bros. get their tag title match at In Your House against Pretty Deadly, they clearly have something else standing in their way: Roderick Strong. Very good match with the right finish.
I’m still not sure what Tony D’Angelo and Santos Escobar are fighting over. Which family runs NXT? Do either of them actually run the place with no championships? And no one showed us what “running NXT” looks like.
That said, Tony D and Santos put on a damn fine match. There was tension, great moves, Santos brought the best out of Tony D, and it told a story of two bad men. Santos isn’t a saint. Just because he’s focusing his might on Tony doesn’t mean he dances on the side of the angels. Neither man cheated during the first two acts of the match, but they both showed ruthlessness and a will to do whatever for the W. Santos in particular targeted Tony’s hurt left arm in ways that aren’t exactly sporting.
That idea of two demons duking it out played into the ending. With both men in opposite corners, Tony went for his crowbar. We know the drill by now: Tony reaches for the crowbar, uses it when the ref’s back is turned and goes to the pay window. But that doesn’t work when battling someone just as devious. Tony searched for that crowbar and found nothing. Turns out, Santos’ LdF brethren beat him to the punch.
And right on cue, Escobar loaded a punch of his own with a pair of brass knuckles. Santos, for at least one more week, still runs the bingo in NXT. The finish, along with the appearance of LdF and Tony’s goons let me know this is far from over.
Guess what? Solo Sikoa, Cameron Grimes, Carmelo Hayes, and Trick Williams put on a good tag match! Shocker, right? It started with Solo and Grimes going extra aggressive because both have a lot to prove to themselves, each other, and Hayes.
Therein lies their problem as a tandem. Or at least potentially. Both men tried one-upping each other, most notably when Grimes signaled the Cave-In and Sikoa tagged himself in the match. Weirdly, that didn’t play into the finish, making for a bit of a jarring narrative towards the end.
Another issue, one hindering the match on the scale of goodness to greatness, is the the fact Hayes took the pin. Trick is his fall guy, even though he’s an entertaining cat in his own right. With a big triple threat match coming up for the North American title, Melo eating the pin rubs me the wrong way. That’s kinda the beauty of a tag match, right? Grimes and Solo teased more tension at the end of the match, with Solo clearly owning all of the momentum. Good match but a few booking moments away from a great one.
Lash Legend needs some momentum right now. After taking numerous L’s to Nikkita Lyons, this first round of the Breakout Tournament is a big deal for Ms. Legend. No wonder she defeated Tatum Paxley pretty handedly. It was too quick to get a feel for any type of quality, while also acknowledging the length was necessary.
Friend of Mine
Tiffany Stratton demanded Grayson Waller nip this Chase U thing in the bud. And that he did. Grayson and Andre Chase were back and forth for a while, until Andre accidentally tossed Grayson onto Bodhi Hayward. Chase, showing humanity, worried more about his boy’s health than his opponent. And he paid the price.
One More Chance (Remix)
Roxanne Perez and Kiana James put on a pretty entertaining Breakout Tournament match. Both women worked smoothly, nothing felt too rehearsed, and they showed some real emotion when it devolved into a fight. Roxanne got the W with Pop Rox and now Lash Legend is squarely in her sights. Looking forward to it.
Von Wagner ruins my enjoyment of things. Wes Lee and Nathan Frazer were doing the damn thing. Then along came Wagner. The big oaf blew up their match and I just can’t get with any of this.
The most interesting thing was post match when Wes Lee, in a moment of insecurity, challenged Sanga after he felt the big man disrespected him and Frazer. Frazer knew it wasn’t a shot but Wes, clearly finding himself and that chip on his shoulder, stepped to the big man.
This was a fun show with good matches and a solid pace. The NXT championship story is such a black hole for this show and, mercifully, it will end soon. It’s the one thing truly bringing the show down this week as they doubled down on everything this week, along with tacitly acknowledging it ain’t working. Aside from that, there’s legitimate intrigue going into next week and In Your House.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.