I mentioned the commentary team on “205 Live” in this week’s review and now I’ll speak briefly about the one on “NXT”.
It’s not good.
My disdain for Mauro is documented elsewhere so I won’t start in on his hyperactive style again (I had no choice but to do so later) but the other two aren’t amazing either. Nigel McGuinness just barely seems to care most of the time. You can’t take the ride with him. Percy, while much better than he was, isn’t quite ready either but he does at least show sufficient emotion. I miss Tom Phillips muchly and I’d be happy if Tom and Percy were the commentary team on this show. Of course, that’s not possible but it would be a vast improvement over what’s here.
SaniTY (Killian Dane & Eric Young) (c) vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly
VERY nice match. All of these guys can go so no real shock there. O’Reilly’s leg sweep while he had Young in an arm bar was just inspired! The “both men are lying on the floor oh gee which one will get to their corner in time” thing is completely tired but they did a nice twist on it which made it cool. I love subtlety and the really good ones have it. Eric Young never stopped selling the damage to the arm he took all throughout the match. At appropriate moments, he’d agonize over his arm. Nikki Cross’ attack on Adam Cole was just DELICIOUS! No one does “unhinged” better than Nikki and she totally made it work. Eric’s dive out onto Cole looked particularly bad. The titles changed hands and I’m not mad at it.
Vignette – Roderick Strong
I have zero reason to care. WWE has tried to make me care and I just don’t. He’s completely vanilla.
Backstage segment – Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight) w/ Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss
Yeah, that segment made no sense. Trying to create tension based on nothing. Moving on…
Backstage segment – Sonya Deville
She was supposed to be cutting a promo but no one told her face. It was completely dead throughout. She’ll be facing Ember Moon next week and that should be fun.
Lars Sullivan vs. Roderick Strong
Sullivan is supposed to come cross as a unfeeling monster…and he does. He is incredibly impactful and no way Roderick didn’t feel ever bit of this. Mauro was at his most insufferable during this match and it made paying attention to this match incredibly difficult. He just will not stop yelling. UGH! He knows only two speeds and it’s just awful. Anyway, the match. It told a very nice story – what of it I could absorb. Despite his size, Sullivan was all about this and Strong made a decent foil. I really liked Strong’s Superplex on Sullivan. The right person won and now he’ll be involved in the four-way to become the #1 contender for the NXT championship. I won’t factor “Screamin’ Ranallo into the grade.
Segment – Street Profits
They are beyond fun. Dawkins is a little stilted but I’m sure he’ll come out of that as time passes. Montez Ford is the greatest thing to happen to him. He’s just electric! Can’t wait to see more from them.
Backstage segment – Tyler Bate
This was overly-scripted and Bate was completely stiff. At least it was really short.
Pete Dunne (UK champ) vs. Tyler Bate
Pete Dunne is a definitely a different guy. He uses very unusual offense. As an example, he stepped on Bate’s right arm and pulled his left arm back during the opening sequence of the match. Bizarre move. As he pulled back on Bate’s center digit, Mauro piped in with “he must have heard Bate play the piano”. That was legitimately funny and I had to laugh. The moves in this match were just sadistic. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Dunne’s suplex off the ring stairs just looked incredible (i.e. completely painful). Seeing Dunne stomp on Bate’s middle digit and then watching Bate reposition his own dislocated finger was just…AHHHHH! I can’t watch that anymore….and they made me watch it twice! He continued to sell it throughout the match. It was also really nice to see the Airplane Spin again. It’s a classic!
I have literally never seen a more interesting match. They literally did things and operated in rhythms I’ve never experienced before…and I liked it. I was invested throughout and they told a fantastic story. Rarely is there better “ebb and flow” in a match than in this one. There were so many highlights that I can’t even innumerate them all. It was also nice to hear Nigel exhibit some emotion. It’s long overdue but he was into this. ‘Course, how could you not be?