Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic) vs. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli
This is a match that kinda wasn’t really built. It started during the “car confrontation” last week. There was a good amount of mat wrestling here and I liked it. I also loved the homages to Scotty Too Hotty and others that Otis was pulling off. Very entertaining. The match ended with a screwy finish (Riddick’s feet on the ropes during a roll-up). Decent match based on almost no build.
Backstage segment – The Undisputed Era
Kyle O’Reilly got in a bit of talking and he was good. Bobby Fish was too. This whole thing was sufficiently menacing with Adam Cole promising to mangle Aleister Black. Nice to hear a new destructive verb every once in a while.
Roderick Strong vs. Fabian Aichner
As a character, they come no more vanilla than Roderick. WWE has done everything to make him appear a wonderful family man and one with goals and dreams. It hasn’t worked and he’s not really over much at all – regardless of how good he is in the ring. Fabian hasn’t really been explored either so we’ve got a match between two people no one really cares about. It was a pretty good match, though, and the submission was nice too. When it ended, there was very little reaction to it. This is more than a little problem for someone who’s been around this long.
After-match promo – Roderick Strong
The promo he did after it calling out Lars Sullivan was completely vanilla too. There’s really little more to say about it, really. The commentators tried to get it over but we don’t care.
Backstage segment – TM61 (Shane Thorne & Mick Miller)
Haven’t seen these guys in a while. They’re both completely weird and I like it. They were starting to take off until Thorne suffered a serious knee injury at the hands of The Revival back in January of last year that forced them off TV for a whole year. The video they ran told us all about them as human beings and they acted quirky during the interview. They are likable guys and I’m all about seeing where they go next. They’re gonna make a 2-parter out of this and I’m intrigued.
Aliyah vs. Lacey Evans
It was pretty obvious that Lacey was intended to go over here given how she was set up. Aliyah has been around for a while and made no real headway. This really was a developmental match with botches (mostly from Aliyah) and neither lady doing anything of real interest. Lacey engaged in a bit of torture with Aliyah so that was interesting but on the whole, the match wasn’t well-worked at all. The ending completely came out of nowhere. Terrible match.
The promo from Evans had many of the right words but zero fire. This whole thing (including the promo) belonged in the Performance Center and not on NXT TV itself. Thankfully, Shayna Bazsler came out and ended Evans’ nonsense. She went after Aliyah just as she did her previous victim. It tells her story nicely as a beast who doesn’t care about anyone or anything. Ember came out to make the save and when Ember cut a promo on her. Shayna played the sarcastic, cowardly heel and I love it. We now get an Ember/Shayna match and I love the idea of it. Shayna didn’t show enough emotion on her face but she’ll get better with that. Ember Moon will get a very good match out of her at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia” – there is no question in my mind.
Backstage segment – William Regal & Zelina Vega
Zelina is simply platinum. She’s so confident and ruthless. She will get what she wants no matter what. I love her madly.
Backstage segment – No Way Jose
Glad to see they’re bringing him back. He just kind of inexplicably disappeared in the last quarter of 2017 and we haven’t seen him since.
In-ring segment – Johnny Gargano
He was certainly fiery. He also had the crowd behind him while he spoke. He will be heard, darn it! His fire and purpose sold me on this totally and completely. I’m also thrilled that we’re gonna get Gargano vs. Velveteen Dream next week.
Street Profits vs. Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar)
How I do love the Street Profits. I also like the new gear. Montez is completely out of control and Angelo is too. I hate to go here but Angelo’s ring gear emphasizes his gut so he might want to adjust that. That said, I really wanted Street Profits to take this. The impact Ford took on the pseudo-side slam was really dangerous. His neck and head took all of that. Sadly, this isn’t a new thing for AOP as they can be a bit reckless to work with. Perhaps this is what’s kept them in NXT? While Montez was getting killed in there, Angelo really should have rallied the crowd but his focus was on trying to get in. You have to keep the crowd in it and he didn’t really do that. Angelo does a very nice “hot tag” as well. His 260 Stinger Splash is always fun to watch and he nails it each time.
This match was very much a slightly higher-level squash. The Street Profits got in shockingly little offense throughout and they were manhandled by AOP throughout. They were basically “jobbers to the stars”. I know that they had to come out of this looking dominant but dag! The problem with this is that I’m not sure where the Street Profits go from here. They didn’t come out of this looking good at all – especially when we consider that it’s their very first loss. They appeared competitive for less than a minute. Otherwise, they were fish food for AOP.
Despite my disappointment with the main event, the show overall wasn’t half bad. It’s pretty amazing how much of their roster they managed to get on TV in an hour. Look at the tags and you’ll see what I mean. As I do every single time, I’m looking forward to “NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia” because they’ll kill it like they always do. It’s setting up to be another fun event. See you all next week for another edition of “The Illustrious Future”!