Well, if it’s not my favorite WWE show! Please forgive my lateness. It’s a backstage thing. I’m just glad to be getting to this now. On with the show…
In-segment – Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
Of course, we know that Gargano has been showing up on both “Monday Night Raw” and “Smackdown Live!” in the most vanilla of ways but his ring work has made no apologies. He was really good here like he always is. I love how he handled the “Johnny Failure” chants. He took them in stride as thought he deserved them. Before he could tell us why he felt he’d had any success in NXT, out came Ciampa.
Ciampa is a rock star too. His response to the “you’re still champion” was great too. “Save it!” LOL! The crowd wants DIY back together. Ciampa wants DIY to come back together…and that’s what we’re going to get! The storytelling was just masterful. They’ll be in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament together. This’ll be fun!
Backstage segment – Ricochet
He’s really improving on the mic. He was quite shaky at first but he’s fixing it and getting more comfortable. He wants in the tournament with Aleister and that, too, will be fun
Cinéma de Bad Acting – Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, & Tommaso Ciampa
I’m sure she’s a lovely person but she’s definitely not an actress. She’s easily the worst on WWE’s roster and she’s not getting better. That about sums this nonsense up. She’s mad – at least that’s how they told her to act. WWE, please keep her out of this from here on out. She can’t pull off frustration…or anything else for that matter. She’s decent in the ring and that’s about it.
Borne & Bougie (Vanessa Borne & Aliyah) vs. Taynara Conti & Xia Li
I’m glad they’re starting to do something with Vanessa & Aliyah. Both have been around for a minute and neither have really gotten anywhere. That leg lock on poor Vanessa was cold-blooded. On the whole, this match was pretty shaky. Not bad…just shaky. Little looked particularly crisp until Xia got in the ring. She’s great and everything she did looked so much better than anything any of the other ladies did. It was really a “night and day” difference. Borne & Bougie took it and the push appears to be on.
Cinéma de Outside – Velveteen Dream & The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole [Bay Bay], Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong)
Kyle is a fool. “Velveeta Dream”. Dead. Fish is a riot too. “I think you’re fartin’ up the wrong tree”. Gosh, this was fun. Of course, Cole is great and being sarcastic and sniveling. Roderick Strong was…there. Anyway, Dream couldn’t even be bothered with them and he dismissed them in fun fashion.
Backstage segment – Bianca Belair & Io Shirai
Tensions were already simmering and now, Whitney Houston, we have a problem. Short but it put fuel on the fire.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee
I love that Keith does his own theme song. WWE is going to have to work awfully hard to screw him up. Here’s hoping they don’t. They’re doing pretty poorly with the last NXT call-ups so I’m hoping they don’t rush Keith. He’s over like rover in NXT but these are real wrestling fans. They’d know Keith from his years in ROH and indies like Beyond Wrestling. This is the first guy that Dijakovic has faced that’s the same size so the story is obvious; it’s all just down to how well they tell it. Both men sold for each other nicely and the story was told exceptionally well. Keith went down accidentally while performing some offense on Dominik and Mauro covered him nicely. This is the match that people their size shouldn’t have and it was really fun to watch. Dominik’s Asahi moonsault onto Lee looked just awful and he legit hit his head on the ramp. That could not have felt good. The double-count-out finish is rarely used these days but the count felt pretty fast to me. Either way, both of them come away looking great here. The crowd wanted them to continue fighting (so did I) and I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of these two. Fun match.
The Boss & Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley)
They’ll be defending the tag team belts on “Monday Night Raw”,”Smackdown Live”, & “NXT”. How cool!
Shayna Baszler vs. Mia Yim
This was fun! The storytelling was good too. Both of them were injured early – Shayna’s hand and Mia’s leg. Mia sold damage extremely well. It really made Shayna look absolute sadistic. Shayna’s grin while it was all happening was just delicious. Mia didn’t forget Shayna’s hand and it kept coming up throughout the match. The commentators told the story beautifully too. This is how you tell stories. What a great fun match. It wasn’t as long as I’d have liked but what we got was great.
Overall, a very nice fast-moving episode of NXT! The Dusty tournament kicks off next week so join me then for another edition of “The Here & Now”!