War Raiders (Rowe & Hansen) vs. Justin Storm & Ricky Martinez
Jobber match. They’re building the War Raiders. Storm and Martinez did what was they were supposed to do. They made them look devastating. These were not jobbers of the jabroni kind; they actually did well – selling everything well. It was funny watching Martinez trying to do damage to Hansen. When Hanson no-sold, Martinez looked like a deer caught in headlights. That’s exactly what’s called for. I can’t hate. They also took the moves Rowe and Hanson dished out beautifully. Of course, Hanson and Rowe looked completely devastating and even added some spice with a quick promo at the end.
Cinéma de Vengeance – Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, & Candice LaRae
THIS, kids, is how you tell a story and give us great ring work. I cannot WAIT for this match. The last one was so incredible that I almost couldn’t take it. It’s the best match I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure how I’ll get through this one as I know they’ll try to top it. This was a very nice vignette. It caught everyone up perfectly.
EC3 vs. Kassius Ohno
I’m beyond excited for this. These two titans will…nope. Kassius was here to job…like he always does. He’s done precisely nothing since his re-debut on NXT and maybe he’s just there to get other people over. He’s always been the first stop on a new guy’s “credibility tour”. ‘Course, Kassius always looks good filling that role and he did so here too. They both made a pretty good match of this. Still, the outcome was never in question on my end.
Bianca Belair vs. Aliyah
Another jobber match. That’s really all Aliyah’s ever done and Bianca is clearly going to be something special. She already is if you ask me. She’s full of attitude and charisma and she’s a very solid worker. I liked Bianca’s escape from Aliyah’s guillotine choke. She’s also incredibly strong. The slam onto Aliyah into the turnbuckle showed all of that. Bianca is beyond athletic and she’s really going places.
Cinéma de Fearless – Shayna Bazsler & Nikki Cross
I LOVE HER!!! She is just incredible. She is completely sadistic in the ring and she can really talk. Better yet, she’s just DRIPPING in charisma. I also love this storyline between Shayna and Nikki. Nikki is the first opponent that simply doesn’t care. The reason. She’s nuttier than a fruitcake…and I LOVE HER for it! I loved watching Shayna break the fourth wall and walk away from the faux interview.
Backstage segment – Dakota Kai & Bianca Belair
To be frank, this was a little stiff. It was going well until, oddly, Bianca showed up. This wasn’t terrible by any means…just a little stiffer than I’d have liked. Both can do better. There was just something off about their rhythm. Maybe it was the dialog as written or a lack of chemistry. This was just…okay.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne
I love that Kyle does the same thing Adam does and mouths “boom” when the Undisputed Era’s theme is playing. It’s a subtle thing but it works well. He’s also one heck of a worker so this match with Dunne should be much fun. The ground game from both of them is insanely good. I love Dunne’s join manipulation. He has no love for limbs and it’s great. The sequence of moves was just dizzying. It’s like they opened up a wrestling manual and were demonstrating moves because they could. The spot where O’Reilly removed the mouthguard of Dunne was just fantastic. Nice bit of storytelling.
Of course, the rest of the Undisputed Era had to come in too. Lorcan and Burch came in to make the save to sell their match on Saturday.
In-ring segment – Aleister Black & Lars Sullivan
To be honest, I like Aleister much better when he doesn’t talk. His voice is kind of high and it betrays the darkness of the character. I know many don’t think much of Lars but I think they’re nuts, really. Yeah, he’s big but he can go in there and, despite his speech impediment, he’s also really articulate. Very subtle storytelling here too. Laying Aleister on the announcer’s table while Lars stands over him with the title. Very nice!
I absolutely cannot WAIT for “NXT TakeOver: Chicago II”. WWE has set this up beautifully and I’m very excited for it. Join us here on Saturday for “Dignified Discussions: NXT TakeOver Chicago II”