When Solo Sikoa entered NXT’s Florida arena, I rolled my eyes. Not because I dislike the guy; I like him a lot. I just didn’t envision Solo beating Carmelo Hayes for the North American championship. I mean, the guy is on SmackDown and runs with the Bloodline. Why would he have this championship?
Well, color me shocked because we have a new North American championship. The longterm story NXT fell into is the fact Solo called his shot months ago. How many times did he say he had next? How many times was that coronation derailed? The minute he showed up at Clash at the Castle, it seemed like “next” might happen on bluer pastures rather than the 2.0 brand.
The irony here is Melo did it to himself. The fans picked Wes Lee as his opponent. Melo and Trick assaulted Wes, putting him out of action. If you got your head smashed between a locker door, you might need a full timeout too. If not for Melo’s attitude and belief that Wes—and the fans—are beneath him, then he doesn’t face Solo. If he doesn’t face Solo, then he doesn’t lose that championship. It’s a fitting conclusion to a story that started about a year ago when Trick told Melo to stop pandering to the fans and caring about what they think and who they think he should be. Melo talked that talk and believed that ish for a year, only to see it all come crashing down as a result of that mentality.
Solo and Melo, obviously, put on a compelling match. Melo worked Solo’s bad knee while Trick did what he normally does on the outside. But Solo neutralized Williams long enough with a superkick once he found his second wind. Once Trick was out of the picture, Melo had no reprieve against Solo’s onslaught. One big Flying Solo later, and the new North American champ resides on SmackDown.
Great end to Melo’s yearlong story and it makes that title a lot more interesting now that it’s on Friday nights. Will Solo defend it on Fridays? Will he come back to Tuesdays? What happens to Melo and Trick? So many questions and great hooks for next week and possibly the next year of television. This wasn’t a great show but the first match and the main event delivered.
There’s something about the Creed Bros. and Pretty Deadly. These two teams make beautiful music together because they’re so different. Pretty Deadly is all about finesse, flair, and a little finagling. The Creeds are brute force personified. Mix those chemicals in a cage and you get a dope opening match for the NXT’s unified tag team championships.
These two teams beat the life out of each other. The cage is a perfect environment for the Bros. Creed. We got several Brutus Bombs from every angle of the cage. Julius used the cage as a weapon on multiple occasions. And they decided the best course of action was beating Pretty Deadly into submission.
Pretty Deadly got their licks in too. The biggest move from them, besides the win, was a double superplex from the tippy top of the cage. But, again, this was all about the Creeds, continuing the story that Pretty didn’t actually earn the title and just got lucky. That luck continued this week when Damon Kemp walked to the ring and handcuffed Julius to the top of the cage.
Brutus gave us several hope spots, beating back the Pretty boys as long as possible. And he looked great going down in defeat. It took not one but two Spilt Milks to put him away. Pretty Deadly walked away as paper champions again, while Kemp reveled in his chicanery. I hope he finds himself a partner because two vs. one doesn’t put the odds in his favor.
YEE HAW, B*TCH
This wasn’t quite a squash match, but Fallon Henley easily defeated Lash Legend. While I questioned the quickness of the match and the W, it made sense later when Fallon clashed with Mandy Rose. Fallon isn’t afraid of Mandy and said they can can settle this like grown women or they can get into some gangster sh*t. Yee haw, b*tch.
The Fire Rises
But before we get to that, Alba Fyre stepped into Mandy’s world and interrupted Toxic Attraction’s victory lap. To paraphrase Rah Digga, Alba beat those women with a bat.
Alba and Mandy seemed destined to do this for a while but I’m also not excited about it. For me, it’s about someone who really seems primed for a championship run. I don’t see Alba as that person to topple Mandy’s historic reign. Which, again, is a reason I said Mandy should be back on the main roster but that’s neither here nor there.
After weeks of vignettes, Quincy Elliot finally made his debut. The Super Diva has a lot of charisma and can move in the ring. All of that bodes well for him in this line of work. Sean Gallagher fell victim to a Banzai Drop and the crowd went wild.
We’ll be watching, Super Diva.
Zoey Stark & Nikkita Lyons faced Arianna Grace & Kiana James in a match that was really just about one team showcasing for the crowd. And that makes sense. Nikkita and Zoey are two of the territory’s biggest stars. The match wasn’t much to write home about so I’m done writing.
Well, Cameron Grimes faced Tony D’Angelo & Stacks in a tag match. By himself. Because he’s the only one he can trust. I liked that part of the story, as it’s Cameron finding himself and finding some semblance of normalcy. As such, he’s willing to wrestle two men by himself as a bit of a crucible. I like it a lot, actually.
But then Joe Gacy showed up and even then, the story got a bit more compelling. Would Grimes accept Gacy’s help? Would he willingly tag in this man? Grimes didn’t but Gacy tagged himself in when Grimes was in trouble. And, more importantly for the money, Gacy got the W for the team! Grimes didn’t react kindly Gacy showing up, and he paid the price. The Schism beat him down and hopefully, mercifully, this thing is over. Well, no, it’s not. We still have a match between these two down the line. Sigh
Outside of the first two matches, and the reveal at the end that NXT 2.0 might be going back to just NXT, along with a new logo, this didn’t feel like much of an anniversary show. Nothing made me want to turn the channel but it wasn’t the most interesting affair. It really did feel like a victory lap, which is fine in theory, but not the best television. But whew, the opening match and main event were home runs. Those alone were worth the price of admission.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it.