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NXT recap & reactions (May 31, 2022): Go home, Mandy!

NXT’s In Your House go home show puts the NXT champ in her place, while setting up a big final showdown for the North American championship.

Reminds Me of High School...

Normally, a contract signing doesn’t make it this high on the list. But I liked the work of everyone involved here so much that it deserves some pontification. Kayden Carter, Katana Chance & Wendy Choo were on one side of the table, while Toxic Attraction posted on the other side. And not a single one of them even put on a cordial facade. Kayden and Katana brought a lot of fire on the microphone, expressing how they’re tired of Toxic Attraction and they are the only team with a win over Jacy and Gigi. True. Their frustration with an inability to be champions, along with their palpable dislike of TA, made it feel real. If a bunch of people who don’t like each other got together, this is what it looks like. There’s no calm, cool, and collectedness on the microphone. It’s yelling. It’s verbally violent. It’s a bunch of people doing their best to not take a swing at each other.

Toxic Attraction, for their part, bought some fire too. While Gigi and Jacy stuck to the high school mean girl script, including throwing a short joke at their challengers, they feel disrespected. And I get it. They beat almost everyone thrown their way and they’re dominating the territory. Mandy was perfect in her role as queen bee heel. She correctly noted most people assumed her championship reign would be shorter than leprechauns. But here she is, 200 days and counting. Yes, those words are common for a heel, but they rang true. Mandy Rose deserves a lot of respect for her heel championship run. She wrestles like a heel, uses her moves in concert with her personality, and has no problem doing the things heels should do. Like cheat. She’s not trying to look good for get plaudits from the crowd; she makes her opponents look good and slinks away with wins. Ya know, like a good heel does. Berating Wendy for looking like a “child” only further put the crowd against her.

Everything took a turn for the violent when Wendy Choo chose high school violence. The woman used a spitball to spark the typical contract fight. The challengers stood strong and I’m very interested in the outcomes at In Your House. These six women are polar opposites of each other, and that normally makes for great matches.


Came Back for You

Cameron Grimes and Carmelo Hayes have the feud in NXT right now. Besides the fact it’s for a title, there is a genuine disagreement in philosophy and lifestyle. But Grimes still feels the urge to prove something to Melo, while Melo just wants back what he believes is rightfully his. Grimes’ quest put Nathan Frazer in his eyesights. Frazier, according to Grimes, is a Melo clone. So what better way to train for Melo than beating someone who does everything Melo does and might even be better? Sound logic and it hits harder with Melo and Trick Williams on commentary.

Grimes doesn’t have bad matches, and that Nathan Frazer proved a worthy dance partner. Frazer tried impressing his opponent for the first act. Frazer proved quick but not as quick as Melo. And unfortunately for Frazer, he doesn’t know Grimes as well as Melo does. Which is why Grimes’ Penalty Kick to end the first act was a doozy. And that wasn’t for Frazer; it was for Melo.

Grimes ran the risk of focusing too much on the man talking on the the headsets instead of the man across from him in the ring. Frazer took advantage of that distraction every now and then, countering a German Suplex, taking every shot Cameron threw his way, and almost battling to a standstill.

But like I said, Frazer doesn’t know Grimes as well as Melo does. Frazer went to the top rope and forgot about Grimes’ speed and agility. Grimes hit the German Suplex this time, and hit the Cave In for the win.

Melo and Trick tried the old fashioned sneak attack, but Grimes, showing he knows Melo all too well, dodged the attacks.

Cue the standard stare down as the show fades to black.

I have no idea who will win at In Your House but I can’t wait to find out.


Extracurriculars

Coach!

Is Damon Kemp coachable? That’s the question Wade Barrett posed at the beginning of this week’s match. But that’s not why we’re here. The real question is if Roderick Strong is a good coach. Diamond Mine lacks clarity since Malcolm Bivens exchanged his diamonds for jade, but Strong is doing his damndest to keep the ship afloat. Mixed metaphors aside, we’re still waiting a definitive answer on Strong’s leadership.

This week’s match gets us no closer to that answer. Strong & Kemp vs. Pretty Deadly was pretty damn good and dramatic. It started with Pretty Deadly embarrassing Kemp, making fun of him for being “the wrestler” imitating mat wrestling holds and slapping him around. But one slap from Strong—tough love I suppose—sparked Kemp. The newest Diamond Mine member executed beautiful suplexes, and an explosion of high impact offense. Diamond Mine showed spurts of offense while Pretty Deadly isolated both mine members on separate occasions. The last moment came when a struggling Kemp outsmarted an overconfident Elton Prince and tagged in Strong. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Pretty Deadly grabbed the tag belts while the ref was occupied, and The Creed Bros. came down to stop the chicanery before it happened. Julius Creed pushed Strong out of the way and took a shot to the head. Strong, distracted by Julius and Brutus, left himself wide open to a Spilt Milk.

Pretty Deadly gets the W while Diamond Mine is in disarray heading into In Your House.

The Commission This Ain’t

I wonder how Lucky Luciano feels about this beef between Legado del Fantasma and Tony D’Angelo’s family. Without going into all of the humor from Tony and Santos’ yacht meeting, here’s what you need to know: A six-man tag match at In Your House between LdF and Tony’s family. The stakes? The losing side gets folded into the winning stable. This time next week, we’ll either have Tony, Two Dimes, and Stacks working for Santos, or the entire Legado familia working as soldiers under Tony’s thumb.

I said before, but as someone who loves mafia stories, this right up my alley. Even though I’m still not entirely sure what “work” either of these families do or how either controls NXT. If there’s one issue with this story, it’s definitely the lack of defined roles and responsibilities.

Bad Sign for LdF

Elektra Lopez needs more time in the ring. She’s better each time out, but there’s still a lack of fluidity to what she does in the ring. She and Cora Jade locked up this week in a match that had its sloppy moments (Elektra’s takedown, Cora’s head scissors that launched Elektra out of the ring come to mind) but it was an okay affair overall. That said, story wise, I prefer a DQ here or at least a no contest finish. Elektra talked a lot of trash to Cora and it’s not like Elektra has a lot of wins under her belt. Ultimately, Cora should prosper, but a little more adversity makes the win sweeter.

Heart Pt. 5

Wes Lee got a big win tonight in a short but compelling match with Xyon Quinn. Both men told a good story in a brief period of time, which is a testament to both men. Xyon controlled most of the action with his raw power. Sure, Wes came out hot when the bell rang, but that fire was short lived. Xyon stomped the man’s ribs, countered his moonsault by catching him and launching him into the turnbuckle. But Xyon’s ego got the better of him. He talked lot of trash the entire match, including telling Wes he doesn’t belong in NXT. He ate those words when he charged a seemingly knocked out Lee, who countered with a schoolboy pin. Short but sweet ensuring this is far from over.

CHASE U!

Thea Hail graduated high school a few days ago. She chose Chase U to continue her education. It was great.

Ivy FTW

Kamina James...for basketball reasons...got in Ivy Nile’s face about the Diamond Mine drama. Ivy, clearly not in the mood for her crap, challenged the mathematician/statistician/librarian? to a match. And you know what? It was pretty damn good. Mostly because both women were smooth in their moves, showed a lot of character, and Ivy actually got more development with this one match than most of her time in NXT.

Kamina started on top, clearly taking advantage of a distracted Nile. James countered several of Iyv’s moves and told her she can’t learn that in the gym. THEN, the woman poked Ivy’s muscles. Disrespectful AF, right?

To make matters worse, Kamia countered Ivy’s submission hold. The same submission nobody counters. This set off Ivy, who nailed her opponent with kicks, lariats, and finally a Northern Lights Bomb to finish her off.

In a good moment of storytelling, Pretty Deadly made their way to the ring to “congratulate” Ivy. The Creeds rushed to her aide, and got a moment to stand tall with the NXT tag titles. If they don’t win those titles at In Your House, this is the last time we’ll see those three together as a part of Diamond Mine.

Bigger Fish

Grayson Waller disrespected Briggs and his crew earlier in the show. Briggs, of course, challenged him to a fight. What Briggs didn’t count on was Von Wagner, Robert Stone, and Sofia Cromwell to show up and ruin his momentum. That one distraction led to his eventual demise at the hands of Grayson Waller.

Wasn’t feeling the match much because there just wasn’t enough time and both men need more time to truly make it interesting.

That’s it?!

I like Solo Sikoa a lot. I like Duke Hudson. Unlike an earlier match where two competitors told a good story in a short amount of time, Solo and Duke didn’t have the same luck. Solo got the win via the big splash after he and Hudson traded offense for a bit. The match ended when it felt like it started to find a rhythm.

Gacy, Gaci, Gace!

More ramblings from Joe Gacy about Bron’s anger and predictability. Bron said his anger and predictability is a strength, not a weakness. So he’s doing him at In Your House. Cool.


Enjoyable two hours of television this night from the NXT crew. Great pacing, intriguing stories, and a good go home show before their next big event. Bron and Gacy are still the dark spot but hey, at least it’s almost over.

Grade: A-

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.