Hey, kids! It’s the Botching One and I can’t wait to take another glimpse into the “Illustrious Future” with you. Let’s dive in!
Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic) vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
TM61 is turning heel and I don’t really care. They haven’t given me a reason to. WWE has spent the time trying to get them over with vignettes and plenty of exposure but I’m non-plussed. Heavy Machinery, on the other hand, is a lot of fun and I always enjoy them. Tucker is even beginning to show some real personality like Otis always has.
The match itself was decent. Watching Nick sell Otis’ caterpillar was a riot. He oversold like a champ. TM61 picked up a dirty victory – further turning them heel. I’m just not invested enough in Thorne or Miller to care.
Vignette – Bianca Belair
We’re gonna get an introductory video for her next week. I’m definitely here for it. She’s really good in there and she has a ton of charisma. This was short but it got the job done.
Kairi Sane vs. Lacey Evans
Kairi has been fun since the Mae Young Classic and while not moving ahead much, has handled what she’s been given very well. I’m still waiting for Lacey to impress me. This is NXT and regardless of exposure, this is still a developmental territory and Lacey is…developing.
During the course of this match, Lacey sold well and made Kairi look good. She’s also become a good deal more aggressive and I like it. The needed an edge and we’re beginning to see one. Kairi, too, sold the damage Lacey inflicted quite well. Lacey’s finisher is uneventful but it sounds quite good.
Of course, after Lacey inflicted her “Woman’s Right” on Sane, Ranallo completely lost his mind. UGH…
Cinéma de Outside – Johnny Gargano & Candice LaRae
Johnny is very convincing on a mic and, while this was kept short, it was very effective. The suspense!
Backstage segment – Oney Lorgan and Danny Burch
Both did this well but I’m still waiting for a reason to care about them.
Backstage segment – Undisputed Era
Cole is so full of charisma and everyone else is…there. O’Reilly and Fish are decent, for sure, but Roderick needs to wake up. He’s trying to force it but he’s every bit as vanilla as a heel as he was as a face.
Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet & Velveteen Dream
What a completely ridiculous idea. They’re having a handicap match with two guys that have thus far dazzled us? Completely silly. If Lars comes wins, he comes out looking great but he’s the only one who can come out of this well. Ricochet and Velveteen Dream get nothing – even if they win. They don’t get over on vanquishing Lars because it took two of them to do it. If they lose, that makes them look even worse because two of them couldn’t put Lars away. I’d understand it if it was a three-way dance given what’s on the line…but a handicap match??? This was an unusually poor idea for a match.
During the match, both Ricochet and Velveteen Dream started looking like jobbers-to-the-stars at first and then business picked up a bit and I saw what was really going on here. They used this match to build the feud between Velveteen Dream & Ricochet. The story of why Velveteen Dream sought revenge is rather murky but okay. That feud continues. Still, neither Velveteen Dream and Ricochet come out of this looking great and for stars that they’re building, that’s not a good thing.
Backstage segment – Dakota Kai & Shayna Baszler
This was pretty cartoon-y, honestly. Dakota way overplayed her excitement over being in a match for the Women’s NXT Championship. The corniness was impossible to ignore until Shayna came out. She made things real. She’s a fantastic bully. The time between Baszler’s last statement and Dakota’s “we’ll see about that” was an eternity – proving Dakota’s timing isn’t good at all. This needed work and should have been re-shot. Not sure why it wasn’t.
In-ring segment – Johnny Gargano & Candice LaRae
Johnny is so good at stuff like this. It almost sounded like a retirement speech but, of course, it wasn’t. We saw both sides of him here and its as great. Johnny coming off the ropes and injuring Candice was a little pat but it tells the story that needs to be told. Nigel coming down and the commentators going silent was a nice touch. It gave it a “this wasn’t planned” feel that I liked.
Oddly, this wasn’t an award-winning episode, hence the time it took for me to get this out. I wanted to make sure I was being fair and not just having a bad day. I wasn’t. This wasn’t good. Their track record speaks for itself so I know things will get better. Hang in there with me next week for another look at the “Illustrious Future”.