Hey, kids. Welcome to another look at the “Here & Now” that is NXT…quite possibly the last one. We have been taking a hard look at what works on Wrestle Royalty and what doesn’t – specifically at the page views. Some things kinda work and some things really don’t. Sadly (maybe for me only), you have likely seen the last of 205 Live’s “Pickup”. I enjoyed writing it but it’s clear that few enjoyed engaging with it. The numbers for “Here & Now” are a bit better…but only a bit. As a result, the “Here & Now” is “on the bubble”. I’ll be keeping an eye on the response to this week’s blog and you aren’t engaging with it, this, too, will meet its demise.
After all, there is no point in writing content if you aren’t interested in it. You determine what we do here, not me or anyone else. Just because I may love something doesn’t mean you do…and that’s okay. There’ll likely be a more full-featured article coming soon inquiring of you as exactly what you’d like to see here. This preface was just intended to let you know what I’m thinking with regard to the future of this blog. Of course, I’m happy to be surprised. If the numbers on this are good, I’m happy to keep going. Anyway, on to the show.
This week, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is in full swing. As usual, it takes up most of the show and the matches have been stellar thus far.
Mustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake w/ Jaxson Ryker)
We’ve gotten two really good matches from both of these teams over the last couple of weeks. They meet here and the results were every bit as good as they were when they faced other teams. Bate is an absolute machine. It was shocking to see him pick up BOTH Cutler and Blake in an airplane spin. Scary strength!
The outcome here was rather odd. While they are good, the Forgotten Sons aren’t really that over. NXT clearly has a push in mind for them and I’m not sure why. I didn’t expect them to pull out a win here and they did. The problem is that the crowd didn’t greet them with a hailstorm of boos or, really, much of anything. They didn’t care. That is never good and it proves that the Forgotten Sons still have a ways to go to make us care.
Backstage segment – Matt Riddle
Darn it, I like him. I know, I know. WWE made me so I’m sold. Adam Cole is amazing. He did all he could to make this work. He came in with fire, purpose and real emotion to get this over. I wanted more intensity and fire from Riddle but he didn’t bring it; 95% of it came from Cole. He kept giving even when Riddle was talking. I sincerely believe that Riddle will get this together and I really want him to. I think he is better than he was and I think I’m being honest about that. Still, Adam made this work. He brought the tension it needed to sell me a match between them. Riddle will have no trouble there.
Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair
Poor Percy. He can’t get no respect. Shayna ignored him completely as she sat down on commentary – shaking hands only with Mauro & Nigel. Shayna was merciless with both of these women. She’s such a superior heel in every respect and it really came out here. I love that she doesn’t care who wins the match. She kept saying it and it was totally believable.
In the ring, these ladies brought it and the match was a lot of fun for as short as it was. Bianca’s hair whip just flat-out hurts. It hurts me to watch it. Bianca has tremendous upside and is fully-formed. Io is great in the ring too but she can’t do much on the mic. Of course, this isn’t her fault and I hope she’s not held back because of it.
This was really all about Shayna being a monster heel that can’t be stopped. Scary stuff and beautifully done. She took out Io, Kairi, and Bianca – one right after the other. The crowd absolutely hates her and it’s awesome.
Backstage segment – Shayna Baszler
Consummate heel work. I love how her face contorted when she found out she’d be facing all the women she took out. This was short but she nailed it.
Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa)
Of course, the mechanical body board that they were using for Black’s entrance in NXT is now on the road so they don’t have it at Full Sail anymore for use during his entrance. Oh well. Ricochet’s theme is just majestic and it never gets old. It’s the best theme in WWE right now, IMHO.
How could this miss? These guys are magic and they were given nearly 20 minutes. There was a lot more ground game than I was expecting here and I loved it. All of them can do that too as they’re all so incredibly well-rounded.
When the flying began, it began and it was spectacular. We are seeing the running neck breaker/DDT thing all over the place. Lately, it’s been all over the indie scene and Ricochet is using it too. It’s in serious danger of being sling-bladed into tedium. For now though, it’s still fun. Ricochet’s 630 splash is just logic-defying. Just…wow.
Of course, all matches must be judged against the Gargano/Ciampa TakeOver matches but this was awfully good.
After the match, out came Gargano’s wife and noted bad actress, Candice LeRae. Johnny’s turn was spectacular and it worked perfectly. The crowd was all about it. We talked a bit about it backstage and Mat and I both think Ciampa was going to turn first but Gargano blocked Ciampa and did the deed instead. I’m not mad at it. They’re newfound alliance couldn’t last and it’s all over now, kids.
So there it is. If you wish to keep seeing this blog, tell me so below. If I’m doing it all wrong and you wish it to be different, let me know that too. [Insert cliff-hanging sentence here]