Been a quiet few days in wrestling, right? Claire is here doing what she does best and I’m here doing what I do best.
Let’s talk NXT!
NXT 2.0 kicked off this week with Tyler Bate. Yup, the same Tyler Bate who lost to Bron Breakker at Worlds Collide. Bate talked about his respect and admiration for Bron—Breakker by nature he called him—and lamented the fact he lost on behalf of his countrymen.
Speaking of his countrymen, Tyler’s promo brought Gallus to the ring, who shamed Bate for losing and disappointing the entire United Kingdom. Yes, the whole UK is in their feelings right now over this loss. Ah, gotta love heels with delusions of grandeur. Gallus berating Bate brought Breakker ringside. Breakker believes Bate is not only a worthy opponent but the UK version of himself. And if Gallus wants a fight, then he has no problem joining forces with Bate to do exactly that.
What I liked most about this match was illustrating just how in sync Bron & Bate are. They did two great Steiner Bros. homages—the pose and the bulldog finisher—, executed simultaneous delayed vertical suplexes, and knew the exact moments to save one another. They looked like a legitimate tag team, which was the story. These two bonded in battle and realized how alike they are. Gallus, despite their history as an actual unit, wasn’t strong enough to deal with their combined power. Bron, famously a semi-lone wolf finally has a true friend.
Naturally, JD McDonagh attacked that friend while Bron and Tyler celebrated their win. One Satio Suplex to Tyler and JD ran for the hills before Bron laid hands on him. My question is was this about Bron or JD? I have zero interest in seeing JD and Bron go at it again but maybe Tyler and JD is a better avenue for the Irish Ace. One that resets him a bit or at least makes his villainy less cartoonish.
Meiko Satomura was never losing to Roxanne Perez. Never ever in a million and two years. But that wasn’t the point here. This match between the two was all about proving Perez has the chops. Not just from a story standpoint, but as a wrestler. Perez showcased several smooth transitions during the bruising affair, sold incredibly well for Meiko, and proved as a character she’s more than just Cora Jade’s former best friend who agonizes over text message and blocks Cora’s number. Drilling that point home is the fact Cora challenged Meiko to a match after Worlds Collide to which the Final Boss politely declined due to her match with a “worthy opponent” in Roxanne.
This was just dope wrestling with two women beating the hell out of each other and doing their best to break each other down. The story, along with Cora watching from backstage with bat in hand—making it even more awkward—just enhanced the match.
Cora attacked Roxanne afterward because of course she did. Meiko came to her rescue, which is a huge rub for Roxanne going forward.
Jacy Jayne obviously thought she was in the Kumate. During Toxic Attraction’s grudge match with Doudrop & Nikki A.S.H., Jacy kicked Doudrop square in the nose and saved Gigi Dolin from taking a pin. Doudrop kept going but clearly something broke because that much blood doesn’t come from a simple cut.
This was a fine match between the two teams. Surprisingly, for me anyway, Toxic Attraction took the Ls here. Now, unless Doudrop & Nikki are permeant fixtures in NXT’s tag team division now, the win doesn't make much sense. Maybe with a bit more clarity on their role as a team would clear all of that up? Rhetorical question because of course it would.
JD McDonagh puts on technically sound matches. He and Wes Lee wrestled a fun match tonight that put Lee’s high flying vs. JD’s methodical psycho approach. It’s a great contrast in styles and JD eventually got the win, despite some strong offense from Lee. But something about McDonagh doesn’t make me care about his matches even if there’s nothing wrong with them. Maybe it was all of the try hard Sideshow Bob act with Bron. There’s a disconnect here that makes it hard to take him seriously at this point.
Revenge of the Ninja
Trick Williams, as good as he is, is the fall guy. Therefore a match with Ricochet was always a foregone conclusion. Trick’s only job was making Ricochet look strong in getting his revenge for Trick’s constant interference at World’s Collide. And he did that. Now, that doesn’t mean it was an entertaining match, but I do understand the reasoning behind it. And it not being that entertaining is different for anything involving Trick, but indicative of a night where things feel a bit subdued before the anniversary show.
Axiom vs. Nathan Frazer is another example of something that just doesn’t move me. And I wish it did because both guys are really good in the ring, as demonstrated in their first of possible three matches. Axiom walked away with the W in a match all about showcasing how evenly matched these men are, building enough tension and, hopefully, anticipation for their next couple matches. But all of that hits better if both men have a little more character development and build for the match.
Over the Top
Damon Kemp explained his actions, which boils down to his hurt feelings at the way Diamond Mine constantly treated him as an afterthought. Kemp wasn’t really convincing here, as that delivery felt stagnant and fake. BUT, his stray shot at Ivy Nile was extra disrespectful and funny just because it came from left field.
I was not sports entertained this week. We got several matches but only a couple really grabbed my attention due to the storytelling involved. This felt like a running in place show before a big anniversary blowout episode. As a quick note, I have to mention the fact Apollo is journaling again and wants revenge for what Grayson did to his eye. Also, did you see his eye? Whew!
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.