Hey, kids! It’s the Baron of all things Botch – ready to peer into the “Illustrious Future” of NXT. Let’s dive in, shall we?
In-ring segment – William Regal & The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, & Kyle O’Reilly)
Roderick is just so completely unconvincing. He must never talk. Adam and Kyle are a riot. Adam, in particular, has “it”. Like…buckets full of it. His brashness is just amazingly. William and he have incredible chemistry I’ve never noticed until their exchange. William is where he is for a reason. This was a good segment…save for Strong.
Backstage segment – Johnny Gargano, Candice LaRae, & Lacey Evans
This was a bit contrived. It just felt off. I love Gargano and the heart he shows but his stuff here just felt very pat. Of slightly more interest was Candice & Lacey. Lacey is smarm through and through and I’m starting to like her.
Backstage segment – Velveteen Dream
I’m not sure what it accomplished other than getting him some TV time but he was good here. It had no discernible purpose though. Odd…
Lars Sullivan vs. Victor Orchette (Vordell Walker)
Vordell! He’s been on the indie scene for years – even working a bit for TNA – so it’s nice to see WWE getting a look at him. He was apparently given a tryout in NXT recently but wasn’t offered a contract. EC3 came out to continue his feud w/ Lars. Nicely done and it moves things along between the two of them.
Backstage segment – William Regal & Nikki Cross
I dearly love Nikki. This dialog was a bit weird here but okay.
The Mighty (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller) vs. Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
Street Profits’ entrance was far more subdued than last time. Loved Angelo dropping Thorne where he stood before the bell rang. Great visual! Ford is just a ball of energy and his athleticism is a lot of fun. He also sold really well when his leg was being worked on. In the end, the Mighty got the dirty pin and the feud continues.
Vanessa Borne vs. Kairi Sane
We’ve seen a bit of Vanessa and there really is something there so it’s nice to see her do a little more. Her arrogance works well. Her ring work is nothing to sneeze at either. Her twisted suplex looked really good too. ‘Course, once Sane got going, there was no stopping her and she always looks great.
Baszler came out and things became even more fun. Kairi and she will be facing each other at “Evolution”. Makes perfect sense.
Backstage segment – Keith Lee & Kona Reeves
This was pretty hack to me, honestly. They’ll be facing each other next week. The rest of this was pretty forgettable and it totally fell flat. It’s not that Keith was bad or that Kona was either. It’s the scripting and producing of the segment that got them. The whole thing felt like a “Saved by the Bell” episode. Something has clearly changed backstage as this isn’t the only bad backstage segment we’ve had this week. Whatever it is, I hope they get it together. As it’s so early in Lee’s WWE career, he doesn’t need bad segments.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Otis Dozovic
I was much happier when Ciampa had no music. He didn’t need it and the lack of it added mystique to his character. Otis is always fun but on the surface, this match makes zero sense. The match was good though. This even got some time and Dozovic got in some meaningful offense too. He really got the crowd behind him and showed what he can really do. Ciampa took this one clean but it was a real fight to get it done.
I can’t help but have the feeling that something has changed backstage. Maybe responsibility for the talking segments has shifted to someone new – I don’t know. All of those segments save one weren’t great and that’s gotta have something to do with it. They’re usually so together in NXT. Not so this week. Time will tell if NXT falls short here again next week. See you then for another look into the “Illustrious Future”.