Hey, kids. It’s the Baron of all things Botch with another look into “The Illustrious Future”…and it is illustrious indeed. There’s so much great talent in NXT that Vince can do nothing with once they make it to….I mean so much great talent in NXT that can move on to great success. Yeah, that’s it. Sorry, I had to. This is the show WWE gives us that has both great writing and great work. The others largely miss one or the other. It’s also the one show I look forward to the most all week under the WWE banner. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Backstage segment – William Regal
A classic whodunit! I like it! It’s like the “who shot JR” thing we had in the 80’s. He’s serious about this, gosh darn it! Very well done!
In-ring segment – Johnny Gargano, William Regal, & Velveteen Dream
This was masterful. You can’t do this any better. Tommaso’s in his head and he is trippin’. Love it. Velveteen Dream came out and made this even more fun. He is so over and I love it. Johnny was likely never injured. Thankfully, we only reported it as a possibility. We’ll get Dream vs. Gargano next week and I’m her for it.
Dakota Kai vs. Aliyah
Decent match. Aliyah loses every match but she does decently in there so she’s hardly terrible. It’s just not her time yet. Nice back and forth between both for them. They’ve still got something planned for Dakota so full steam ahead.
Backstage segment – Who Got Aleister (Forgotten Sons, William Regal)
This wasn’t good. Regal did what he could but Blake can’t talk so there’s that. Totally unbelievable. Save for Regal, this looked like a bad high school play.
Backstage segment – EC3
EC3’s been attacked! What’s going on here! He has a match later tonight. What’s going to happen? I love that I have no clue. This is fun!
Backstage segment – Who Got Aleister (William Regal, Nikki Cross & Bianca Belair)
Nikki is unhinged and it’s great. How they kept a straight face is beyond me. He never cracked a smile. What a pro. Bianca had little idea what to do with Nikki. That was fun too.
Raul Mendoza vs. Lars Sullivan
Poor Raul. He got completely squashed. I enjoy a good squash when the squashee does it well and Raul did. It takes two to make it look good and Raul was game for it. Lars, of course, looks just devastating in there. This was really short but effective. I also like the idea of a feud with EC3.
Cinéma de Darkness – Tommaso Ciampa
Few are better with segments like this than Tommaso. He’s great and I have no other words.
Keith Lee vs. Luke Menzies
I still can’t believe I’m seeing Keith Lee in WWE. Amazing. Menzies is not a small man so this wasn’t bad at all. Keith does NOT move like your typical big man. He has no fear of flying around a bit and he gave us some of that here. Keith’s chops are just life-ending. I like his high power bomb (called The Spirit Bomb) too. Full speed ahead for one of my absolute favorites!
The Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Adam Cole [Bay Bay] w/ Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Ricochet & Pete Dunne
Can we just talk for a second about Ricochet’s theme? This is easily in my top 3. It suits him perfectly. It’s utterly epic with nice orchestration. Fun fact: Pete Dunne is on the very few competitors who doesn’t wet his hair down before he comes down to the ring.
Ricochet is just a bad dude! His speed is second only to Cedric Alexander & ACH (they tie for me). Nice storytelling here. Ricochet mis-dived and created chaos that neither Dunne nor he could recover from. This creates a feud between Dunne & Ricochet. I like it. The after-match beatdown was fun too. There are multiple directions they can go in now. Excellent writing.
The War Raiders came out too for some fun. I don’t care about them yet but they’ll probably make me care as time goes on. It’s early.
Okay, so only one major screw-up. In fact, it’s the only major screw-up I can think of in recent memory. NXT just doesn’t let us down and I enjoy it every single week. Hope you did too. See you next week for another look into “The Illustrious Future”.