Hey, kids. It’s the Baron of all things Botch with another look into “The Illustrious Future” that is NXT. Okay, so the story is that Gargano’s obsession with Tomasso Ciampa cost Aleister Black the NXT Championship. It’s a good one too. Black’s response make perfect sense too. He wants retribution for Gargano’s incredibly stupid mistake. That’s what the Black Mass kick was for. What I’m not sure about is Gargano’s statement: “I’ll give you one…it’s not gonna happen a second time”. In storyline, I’m not really digging Gargano’s selfishness implied in that statement. Had it not been for him. Black would still be champion. Further, he allowed his personal issues to infringe on someone else. Not cool. Gargano is becoming selfish in his obsession (which is, to be fair, how obsession works). I’m just seeing a lack of true contrition in the Gargano character. We’ll see how this plays out, of course. On with the show!
Amber Nova vs. Nikki Cross
How Nikki doesn’t just die after that entrance is beyond me. It’s Ultimate Warrior-like in it’s unhinged-ness. It also must take a tremendous amount of energy to do it each time. Amber Nova had a really nice move driving Nikki’s face into the turnbuckle with her legs. This was basically a jobber-to-the-stars match with Nikki taking it as expected. Fairly short but effective.
Ricochet vs. Not So Fast (The Undisputed Era)
Well, not quite. Adam Cole showed some viciousness here and I like it! They ambushed Ricochet and dragged his carcass out to the ramp with them. Cole cuts a great promo and he gave us another one here. I’m not mad at this.
Backstage segment – Vanessa Borne
Arrogant female. This has been done a thousand times. Got it. She did it well. She’s just not being given much to work.
Adrian Jauode vs. Kassius Ohno
Things appear to finally be looking up for Ohno. He was just used as a job guy for a long time and now he seems to matter a bit. Good for him. Jauode got his capoeira on to start the match and it looked…odd. Again, nothing more than a jobber-to-the-stars match. Ohno has taken on a viciousness that’s pretty cool. He’s also not afraid to mock either which I like too.
Cinéma de Dream – Velveteen Dream & EC3
Oh, this is brilliant! I don’t know whose house that is but it’s gorgeous! The two of them are an absolute riot together. They’ve got good chemistry. This was a little bizarre but it was supposed to be. I only wish it could have gone on longer. It’s an hour show so they can’t really stretch these things out like they would have on “Raw” or “Smackdown Live”.
Marcel Barthel vs. Keith Lee
Marcel looks uncomfortably like Finn Bálor. I could not be happier that Keith Lee is finally in WWE!!!!!!! I’ve been watching him since he was Kevin Paine. He’s been everywhere and done everything. He’s got that Vince look, he can talk, and he can work his face off. He can also do so like a man less than half his size. He’s just scary good and I can’t wait to see what he does here. They even gave Marcel a good bit of offense and he did really well here. I was actually quite surprised by the back and forth we got here. I figured this for a jobber match and that’s not what it was. This was an unexpectedly good match – not that Keith can’t pull off good matches (he can). I just expected a different kind of match here. Glad I was wrong.
Cinéma de Street Talk – Street Profits
They are great. Their thing is Cryme Tyme-ish but I still like it. Montez is just dripping in charisma and Angelo has improved in that respect too. Fun segment.
Vanessa Borne vs. Taynara Conti
Vanessa really shouldn’t talk during matches. All she could come up with is “I deserve it, not you”. Good to know. Neither should Taynara. “It’s mine…MINE!!! or, even worse, “ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?” wasn’t very informative either. Very short match and little to it. Made little sense to have such a short match as the winner becomes the final entrant in to the Mae Young Classic. This really should have been a bigger deal.
Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano
Gargano is such a nice guy in real life. His moment with that kid on the ramp was really nice. Good on him for being such a good dude. He also goes at such a sickeningly high level. Of course, this match wasn’t going to go down without Ciampa interference. This was meant to set up the Triple Threat we now know we won’t get…at least not yet.
Of course, you know by now, we posted an article which you can read (here) that Aleister Black has been injured and can’t compete at “TakeOver”. What a shame as this match could have been a whole lot of fun. Maybe we’ll get it at some point anyway when Aleister is healed up.
To be frank, this was kind of a humdrum episode of “NXT”. Only the Borne interview was bad; the rest was either good or sufficient. Still, NXT always delivers big time. Not so much this week. Too many jobber matches for my liking. Only the Keith Lee/Marcel Barthel match really delivered. With “TakeOver” so close, they really can’t afford to have shows like this. It’s not what we NXT fans expect nor is it what we want the shape of things to be. See you next week for another look into “The Illustrious Future”.