Guess what? It’s Tuesday! Meaning it’s all about that NXT 2.0! Welcome boys and girls to the semi-big time. Claire has you covered, as always, with the best live blog in the wrestling business. I’m just doing my best so I don’t get fined.
Let’s talk NXT!
There’s Been a Murder
Who assaulted Roxanne Perez? That’s the big question running through NXT this week. At various points of the show, the usual suspects faced scrutiny on whether their hands were clean or not. Was it Toxic Attraction? Makes sense with Cora Jade challenging Mandy Rose for the NXT Women’s championship. Was it Nikkita Lyons? We know she’s still stung over not competing in the Breakout Tournament. Was it a random woman just looking to score points?
Of course, the one person no one asked was Cora Jade. And why would they? She’s Roxanne’s best friend! She’s so happy for her opportunity! To say nothing of the fact they’re tag team champions!
That’s why those vitriolic boos emanated from Orlando when Cora betrayed her homegirl. But looking back, it was obvious this was the final destination. Cora accused Toxic Attraction first. And she was very animated about it. Then, when “medical officials” tended to Roxanne, Cora was laughably upset. I mean, Scooby Doo cartoons are more subtle than her histrionics. The final act of her one-woman show occurred during the main event. Mandy Rose hit the ring and smugly declared Roxanne too gutless to wrestle. Cora’s music hit. She not only wanted to fight for her friend, but would gladly take that title away from Mandy in Roxanne’s honor.
Yeah, uh huh.
Roxanne valiantly made it to the ring, complete with the DDP taped ribs. And for two-thirds of this match, that looked like a serious mistake. This is why I love Mandy as champion; she knows her role and does it extremely well. She beat the snot out of Roxanne. And every shot was targeted to the ribs. She didn’t try any moves to get the crowd chanting how awesome the match is nor did she even attempt to make it a wrestling match. Mandy dominated early and often because she treated this match with Roxanne like a schoolyard fight. She even used the rib tape to make Roxanne a human yo-yo. The challenger, to her credit, sold everything. All the anguish and pain leapt off the screen and I felt sorry for her.
All that horror made her eventual comeback that much better. Somehow, someway, Perez found her second wind like a Z Fighter eating a Senzu Bean. Or Popeye with a can of spinach, for those of you who don’t speak Dragon Ball. It’s a testament to both women that the comeback worked as well as it did. Roxanne chose violence when the match spilled to the outside of the ring, She hit a Pop Rox on the champ and barely got to her feet. The drama, of course, was that the title can’t change hands on a count out. The arena, the commentators, and yes, even Cora, screamed for Roxanne to get Mandy back in the ring before it was too late. She barely did but needed a little help to get back in the ring herself.
If there’s one complaint here, and it’s a minor one, is that Cora made the betrayal too obvious in this moment. She helped her friend get up but kept hovering. I’m not sure if the timing was off or if this is the way they planned it out, but it took a bit too long to get to the obvious moment. That aside, the moment still landed when Cora took her tag championship belt and hit her partner in the back. Toxic Attraction celebrated the win and their fantastic fortune, then left the ring. At that point, we got a brief explanation from Roxanne’s former best friend: Roxanne is selfish.
Cora screamed that she brought her to NXT and, typical of Roxanne, she acted selfish. Oh, and Cora broke her skateboard over Roxanne’s injured ribs. Over and over again.
This was always a possibility but I didn’t predict it happening so soon. Cora Jade challenged Mandy Rose not too long ago and still wants another shot. Being her best friend’s cheerleader didn’t change her focus at all. I imagined some uneasiness in that relationship if Roxanne did the impossible and got the W over Mandy. NXT figured it best to skip that part and just get to the part where the current tag champs are at war.
And I’m down for all of it.
Venni Vetti Vecci
Xyon Quinn be creeping. If you take nothing else from Giovanni Vinci and Apollo Crews’ very good opening match, let that be the thing. Vinci and Crews matched power for power in a battle of strength made better by the fact both men are agile AF. Quinn ruined a good thing when the action went outside the ring. Vinci took a “fan’s” phone and crawled back into the ring. With the ref distracted by...cell phone...Xyon emerged from the crowd and attacked Crews. The beef between these two keeps bubbling and now it’s finally at a boil.
Good opening match with some solid direction afterward.
I’m not sure how everyone feels about Roderick Strong and the Diamond Mine. While I’m not a fan of the group right now because they sorely miss Jade Cargill’s publicist, I dig the story they’re telling with Strong. I do wish we got to the end sooner though because it feels like we’re on a treadmill. He challenged Damon Kemp to a singles match now, clearly wanting the hatred of everyone in “his” group. If it all leads to a gigantic beatdown, all is forgiven.
Kayden Carter is in a slump. That’s the story we’re getting here. She and her tag partner are having awful luck, and their permanent black cloud continued this week in a quick match with Tatum Paxley. Paxley and Katana went at it backstage last week, so of course a match was the only option. It was solid and a very brief showcase for Paxley, while Ivy Nile watched from ringside. Paxley wants in Diamond Mine and Carter wants some Ws. Paxley is the one who got one step closer to her goal.
I Ain’t No Joke
Solo Sikoa is too big for the territory at this point. A match with Von Wagner, a man duller than rain water, only emphasizes that point. They battled to a double count out because both men want to kill each other, but the match itself doesn’t grab my attention. Why? Because of Wagner. No matter how much they put around him, he’s just not popping.
I Miss My Homiez
Hmmm. We got a video of Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes celebrating with the ladies. And the big moment was Melo cutting off Trick mid-speech. Trick, giving props to himself for his victory at The Great American Bash, stopped short when Melo heaped praise on himself and his victory. The first sign of a breakup for my favorite NXT 2.0 duo and you know what? It’s time. Melo has no more challengers and Trick is ready to spread his wings.
Up Jumps tha Boogie
Lash Legend is getting better. They’re finally finding her character’s voice and her ring work is improving. But the match with Indi Hartwell didn’t quite work and that seems more to do with their lack of chemistry than either woman’s skill. The ending was definitely an audible after a Hartwell miscue that, thankfully, she survived. Alba Fyre distracted Legend, Indi got the win, and even Alba almost hurt herself in the aftermath beatdown. Just a weird segment all around.
Everything about LdF and Tony D’s Family bores me at this point. Even this tag match with Edris Enofe & Malik Blade did nothing for me because I don’t care where Cruz and Joaquin stand. Like the Diamond Mine, this story is going a bit long for my taste because they keep teasing and endgame. And every time I see an endgame in sight, I get confused that we’re there yet.
Bring it On
I don’t think the live crowd was into this segment with Cameron Grimes and JD McDonagh. The usual obnoxiousness reared its liquored up head, but I kinda dug it. Grimes is in a weird spot right now and McDonagh is here to make a name for himself. Why not kick a man when he’s down? Although, it’s weird how this shifted from Bron—who we’re told is out with a “shoulder injury”—to Grimes for McDonagh’s first big feud on NXT 2.0.
An okay edition of developmental fun in Florida. The main event made it memorable. We got movement on everything, including news that Joe Gacy’s druids will reveal themselves next week. Oh, and his group is called “The Schism.” Pardon me while I roll my eyes. But whew, that main event really did a lot of good.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.