NXT is on your airwaves! Claire is talking about it in her blog so let’s talk about it here.
Let’s talk NXT!
I’m into Indi Hartwell’s story. She’s finding herself after losing her partner and her husband. She’s a woman without a country looking for a home base. She made her lot with Roxanne Perez and Cora Jade, but even with their support, she feels like a misfit on the island of misfit toys. No matter how many times Cora and Roxanne tell her otherwise, she believes she’s a third wheel. Wrestling works when there are relatable stories all humans recognize. It’s hard not empathizing with Indi. And it’s hard not laughing when she tells Roxanne and Cora to cherish their friendship and their love because NXT takes those things away from you! Well, I mean, if you leave those things in the NXT parking lot, that’s on you.
Toxic Attraction, still the bullies and searching for respect on their radioactive name, desired punishment for Cora, Roxanne, and Indi. Of course, they also have choice words for Indi, a woman they called the saddest person in the territory. Now you’re caught up on the prelude, let’s get to the main event.
The match started with the babyfaces taking control. They took so much control that Mandy called a timeout and huddled with her girls outside of the ring. I always feel the character stuff Mandy does with her matches. Whether it’s chicken heel stuff or just pretending she’s Phil Jackson with the troops. Whatever she said worked because the heels took control. But the match presented Roxanne as a threat. The second she tagged in and spared her best friend a beatdown, everything changed. The match broke down, Indi found her second wind, and Perez eventually got the pin on GiGi.
A solid match that put Roxanne in a great light while giving us some movement with Indi’s story.
NXT peaked early this week with the opening match. This is the closest the show got to matching that energy and skill level.
Sleeps with the Fishes (Not like Troy McClure)
We got a tag match telling multiple stories. On one hand, there’s Tony’s soldiers beating up Melo. On the other, there’s LdF finding their way as a part of The Family and when that time bomb explodes. We got a taste of it during the ceremony when Santos Escobar begrudgingly took orders from his “boss.” As it relates to the first goal, Stacks and Two Dimes did none of that. Melo and Trick didn’t destroy them since they got some offense in, but it certainly wasn’t the type of punishment Tony had in mind. Trick took most of the offense, letting Trick play the background for most of the short match.
And that’s when we got to the match’s second objective. With Trick in control, LdF, on their new boss’ orders, ran interference. Of course, they messed up. A springboard attack came a little late as Trick moved and the goons fell victim to that communication breakdown.
Melo tags in, hits his finisher, and goes home happy.
Tony yelled at everyone post match then did more yelling at LdF in the locker room. Look for Santos and his boys to turn Tony’s championship dream into a nightmare next week.
I like the match. Nothing special at all, but all four men—especially Trick—showed out. And the story progression with Legado foreshadowing next week is a nice touch. Like a bomb in a Hitchcock movie, we all know the outcome even if we don’t know exactly when.
So Duke Hudson got in Bron Breakker’s face this week, crowing about his “victory” over the champ. Bron said, “Cool, let’s do something about that, froggy. Leap.” He didn’t actually say that, but that’s basically what happened. The champ then made mincemeat of Hudson in no time. I don’t even think he got a punch in.
This led to Cameron Grimes stepping to the champ. He didn’t just challenge Bron to a championship match at Great American Bash; he detailed why. Everyone knows who Bron’s dad is but no one knows who his is. Which, on its face, is a weird beef to have. Grimes believes Bron is where he is partly because of his last name. Grimes walked a thin line where he called Bron entitled while also acknowledging Bron’s skill. I’m not sure if his logic completely works because one of those contradicts the other. Grimes’ emotion helped sell the idea of the match if not the logic he mapped out. Bottomline, he wants the championship and wants to go all the way to the moon.
Bron was happy to oblige.
Tag Team Breakout
Malik Blade and Edris Enofe needed this. The two wandered a bit aimlessly on NXT for several weeks. Until this week, they were the two cats lusting after Toxic Attraction and doing everything in their power to shoot several shots at Mandy Rose. The fact they gave the Creed Bros. quite the challenge in a tag team championship match is a boost and shows they’re more than comic relief.
Malik and Edris put the champs in jeopardy. Believable jeopardy, which is the most important part of a championship match. They created real drama through high flying offense and withstanding the Creeds’ brand of brutality. The match turned on one of those high risk maneuvers. Malik went to the top rope one too many times. He leapt from the turnbuckle right into Julius’ hands. Brutus makes the blind tag, and the Brothers Creed finish the match with a slam and a lariat.
I liked the ending where both teams shook hands and applauded each other. Later in the show, Cameron Grimes cornered them about their lack of hunger. Grimes basically said if they really wanted it, they’d be out here eating cereal with a fork. He doesn’t want them wasting their talent.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Speaking of Comic Relief...
A rematch between Fallon Henley and Tiffany Stratton caught my attention. But we only got a little bit of, admittedly, good action until Wendy Choo interfered. Choo sprayed confetti in Stratton’s face and that was apparently enough for Fallon to get the W with a roll up. I wanted more from this match after both women showed they can do the damn thing when given the time and space to do so.
Xyon Quinn took quite the L this week. Wes Lee surprised the big man again. Wes Lee is easy to root for but I’m not fully with another short match as a part of this story. Lee comes out with fire, Xyon takes over and dominates, Wes finds a second wind and catches the big man off guard. Wes’ top rope finisher is incredible though and demands your eyeballs immediately.
Joe Gacy’s Dyad wrestled two other guys while wearing their robes. This is stupid.
A Giovanni Debut
After WEEKS of teases, we finally got our look at Giovanni Vinci. A name clearly created from googling Italian sounding names. And it was a dominating win against Guru Raaj.
Like most matches on the show after the opening match, it was very quick and very just okay.
Before I get to the grade, I want to acknowledge the vignettes we got this week. Nathan Frazer, Lash Legend, and Nikkita Lyons all showed some personality and some backstory. And Lash’s segment even led to a match between her and Alba Fyre. Economical storytelling at its best while giving us insight into Lash’s background. On the flip side, we got a weird one with Apollo Crews, straight out of an old school action flick. Apollo, journaling in a diner—as you do—and dreaming about taking on a bully. He then takes on said bully and the camera cuts to black. Weird.
Anyway, this was an okay show. Outside of one insanely stupid moment, it was solid across the board, while setting up some big matches next week.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.