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NXT recap & reactions (Dec. 12, 2023): This is getting silly

Nikkita Lyons gets back in the ring, Dragon Lee & Tyler Bate put on one for the ages, and words can’t explain the latest development in the Trick Williams & Carmelo Hayes saga on the latest NXT.

Black Magic

I’m not sure what to make of this continued As the World Turns saga between Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams. Oh, and it now involves Ilja Dragunov. It went from Melo attacked Trick to Lexis King did it but in cahoots with Melo, to Lexis didn’t actually do it he just wanted the clout, to Melo getting attacked this week and now him pointing the finger at Ilja. I’m all about longform storytelling complete with twists and turns, but this just feels ridiculous at this point. Actually, it’s felt that way for quite some time but here we are.

The most obvious culprit is still Melo. Ilja read my mind when he questioned whether someone actually attacked Melo this week. It feels way too convenient that right when his best friend gets a shot at the championship he lost that someone hurts him the same way someone hurt Trick a few weeks ago. And the injury isn’t bad enough that he misses his shot at a bigger championship on SmackDown. It’s just hard caring at this point because it’s gone on so long and it’s not compelling or remotely interesting. Even when Melo accidentally hit Trick (or was it?) it didn’t move me. And I love all three guys in the ring. They’re some of NXT’s best and I can’t wait to see them on the main roster. I just wish they had something better than this. We’re repeating the same beats from weeks ago with Melo and Trick, just replacing the third person in the equation.

It’s wild that on a show I liked, the main event segment is the least exciting. And it’s really disappointing.


B-Sides

Boom Biddy Bye Bye

A lot happened during this inter-gender match so I’ll do my best at sorting it out.

For starters, Josh Briggs got the W for his team. That’s important since he’s clearly getting elevated beyond his tag team, I only a little bit. And he looked dominant in getting the win. And he pinned Noam Dar. He wants the Heritage Cup even if his partner thinks it’s not the greatest idea. Interesting...

Secondly, Fallon Henley and Tiffany Stratton continued their beef. That not only kept Lash Legend from taking a pin or getting a pin, but it threw more logs on the fire that is Tiffany and Fallon. Tiffany interrupted the match and Fallon cares way too much about her to even bother with this Meta-Four mess. I sympathize.

Lastly, I don’t think this is the end of everything between these two teams. Not for anything specific that happened in the match, just a feeling. Meta-Four doesn’t just let things go and they want their wins. They even cheated during the match and it still wasn’t enough.

Fun opener that provided just enough chaos.

Bam

Oba Femi. Powerful. Charismatic. Incredibly powerful. One slight hiccup when the match started on an exchange between Oba and Myles Borne, but this was short but sweet. I thought they’d give Myles the victory since he’s got the Drew Gulak connection, but I’m not mad at them going the opposite direction.

Bomb First (My Second Reply)

Time to come clean like Jeru: I usually don’t like open challenges. I prefer more story-based stuff and an open challenge lacks the story. BUT that doesn’t mean dope matches don’t come from them.

This was one of those matches.

Dragon Lee dedicated his reign to Wes Lee and hopes he lives up to that legacy. He started on the right foot during his match with Tyler Bate, who answered the call to get his mojo back and take some gold in the process.

Just watch the match. This is my pick of the week. These two put on a clinic and served as a great tone setter for Dragon’s title run. I do hope we get some stories but if this happens every week, I might shut up about it.

X-Wing

Before I talk about Riley Osborn and how he did well working from underneath, I need to give a shoutout to Keanu Carver. The man rocked tights that I choose to believe homaged X-Men. I mean, it has to be X-Men right? It was X-Men.

That aside, Keanu is another powerhouse who looks fantastic. Riley looked good on the comeback and hit a beautiful Shooting Star Press for the victory, but this match belonged to Keanu.

Psycho

Some story progression here as well. Bur before we even get to Lyra Valkyria & Nikkita Lyons vs. Cora Jade & Blair Davenport, let’s talk about how we got here. It’s actually pretty simple.

Cora talked her usual trash when the show started, Lyra interrupted because she owed Cora after what happened at Deadline, Blair reminded Lyra that she has next, not Cora, while Nikkita reminded Blair they have unfinished business. A brawl broke out and either Shawn Michaels or Ava made a match.

I liked seeing Nikkita in action here. They kept her and Blair away from each other for the most part, which saves most of that for a one-on-one match. She looked like she barely lost a step and moved a little better than a year ago.

But then something happened that took me out of the match entirely because, well, it’s just weird. Tatum Paxley showed up out of the crowd and just did her weird Tatum stuff. But this time with a feather. Now, before the match, Lyra & Nikkita noticed that Tatum placed her face on top of Becky Lynch’s in a photo of Becky and Lyra. Creepy Single White Female stuff. That explains why Tatum’s appearance caught Lyra off guard and brought the whole match to a standstill.

And thankfully, that moment reverberated throughout the rest of the match. Lyra never found her footing again and Cora pinned her.

More weird things happened after the match with Tatum...yeah just weird. I like it though! But it’s weird.


A very fun show...until the end. But I’m doing my best to not let those closing moments leave a sour taste in my mouth. An enjoyable two hours of exciting matches, violence, and storyline progression.

What say you, Cagesiders?

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