This is how you debut a wrestling show. This was NXT through and through, and they aggressively went after the fans. If the WWE Network issues at 9pm EST show anything, it’s that the fans are tuning in to see what was going to happen when USA went to the second to last episode of Suits. The Internet is going wild for NXT today (as they should be) and there are converts! There are a lot of casual WWE fans who have seen the light and are learning about a whole different side of pro wrestling. I’m going to use my friend Natalie as an example because she’s someone I know personally. She watched NXT TakeOver the night before WrestleMania this year and loved the show, but it was a one-off for her. She returned to watching wrestling (because of me) after not having watched since the Attitude Era when her son was young. She doesn’t have the WWE Network because she’s a casual fan who loves hanging out in the Dignified Discussion for Raw and SDLive, but doesn’t go out of her way to pay for shows beyond that. Last night Natalie was completely annoyed that Suits was on and she couldn’t watch the second hour of NXT.
As you can see, we have juggled jobs here at WR. As I go medieval quite a few weekends of the year and that means not being home too many Friday nights, and Botch is busy with work many Wednesday nights, we have decided to shake things up. That being said, there will be some juggling now and then when one of us just cannot keep our mouths shut and need to be heard about the show we used to write about. In this vein, Botch was a bit heartbroken that Lio Rush was facing Oney Lorcan, so I told him he should write the match. This will be happening now and then, so don’t be surprised when things are shaken up. I have to admit that I feel like I’ve come a long way from reviewing TNA to now reviewing NXT. I’m actually smiling as I write this, so I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it!
The start of this match had me confused. Four fantastic wrestlers in the ring and I didn’t know who I wanted to win the match. The problem comes in that I want to see Shayna face Rhea at the next NXT TakeOver. Nothing against any of the women in this match as they are all amazing and so deserving, but none of them are Rhea. That being said, I sat watching this match in awe with the rest of the Wrestle Royalty Community. I think this was a wonderful way to start NXT’s tenure on USA Network.
Belair is the Cesaro of the NXT Women’s Division. She looks like a normally strong young woman and yet pound for pound she might be the strongest woman on the roster. Holding any other female wrestler over her head the way she did, looking like it was almost nothing, is something few women can do, especially how effortless she made it look. Further, I love her entrance with how she works that extended braid and uses the America’s Next Top Model spin where her feet don’t move. It takes a lot to make that spin look effortless and that’s exactly how Bianca looks in her entrance and in the ring, effortless.
I adore Io and Mia as wrestlers. They never give less than all of themselves in the ring and always look amazing doing it. I have to admit that I both love and hate Mia’s look. Those pants she wears are reminiscent of Lita’s but made all Mia by how she works them. The bandanas are great as well, it’s just the way her tops make her tatas look. It’s just not a strong look for her on top, but she makes it work a heck of a lot better than Bayley’s uni-boob look. Then there’s Io who has made very subtle changes to her look since she turned heel and is rocking it in a beautiful way.
Candace’s ring gear isn’t very well built. When the camera closed in on her I could see where some of the mesh fabric had pulled out of the seam under her arm and looked horrible. A couple little stitches by hand, which need to be done by hand because of the type of fabrics (a bra with other fabrics over it, specifically a mesh-like that) needs to be tacked in by hand and it wasn’t. Further, the extended waistband on the bottoms in mesh made her look like she had her knickers pulled up out of her pants!
Yes, I’ve rambled a lot about looks and ring gear here, but getting it off my chest means I won’t be writing about it every week. Further, I’ve noticed over time that readers have come to me more and more over how the women do their hair (extensions, color, curls, etc.), makeup, what they wear, and how it all comes together. New amazing wrestlers for me to write about, so I’m giddy to talk about how they look and how they killed it in the ring. These women took the very first NXT on USA match and made it something to remember. Trip made a great decision to start it all with these four amazing women and they made NXT THE show to watch on Wednesday nights – for now.
Boot To The Face!
Not at all what I expected, but Grimes looked great and absolutely made a statement in this first episode of NXT on USA. I have to say I find Grimes a really interesting sort. Something about him doesn’t scream wrestler to me, but he really knows his character and knows how to work it. I like the almost steampunk, but not quite, look he has going on, though I hope he doesn’t get typecast and is able to evolve as he goes along.
It’s a Strong Dream!
Many of us in the SDLive Dignified Discussion thought that this match would start this first episode of NXT on USA, but no matter where it landed on the show, we all knew it would be another amazing Dream match.
That Dream-DT was amazing! I’ve mostly seen it on my phone as that’s where I watch 99% of the WWE Network, so the screen is rather small. It works well for keeping up with shows when I’m in bed, but that means I miss how beautiful some of these moves truly are. I’m giddy that not only do I have the best excuse to watch NXT on my TV, but it’s obvious that I’m not the only one! The Internet is totally a-buzz about NXT and all the great wrestling and this match was a huge part of it.
There’s been a lot of discussion for the past year or more about how Dream might get watered down if he gets brought up to the main roster. We’ve seen too many amazing superstars get totally destroyed on the main roster (a term that now needs to be reevaluated with NXT on USA), but now he doesn’t have to worry about that. He’s still in NXT and on TV and he proved that his character isn’t too much or too far for the ‘average’ wrestling viewer. We lived through all of Goldust’s craziness with Luna and the ball gag, I think we can handle Velveteen Dream even as the world starts leaning in a more and more conservative direction.
Bruise This, Break That
I’ve loved Dunne since I first saw him. He’s a strangely shaped ugly little bloke who puts on the sneer and other affectations to make himself look even more ugly and intimidating. I love it because he’s so embraced what he looks like and that makes him so beautiful in my eyes. Dunne has that it factor, that unteachable thing that makes a great wrestler something of a force, a top guy. No clue where the idea just came from as I watch Dunne wait in the ring for Ruas, but I think I’d love to see Dunne work against Rusev. I think they’d be great as partners and would be epic facing off in the ring. Yes, even as thin a Rusev is now.
When I was a teenager I used the finger split a couple times when boys were getting too pushy. It works really well, but I cannot watch it when Dunne does it in the ring. It’s one of those things that makes me cringe to see, and that just adds that much more to Dunne as a superstar.
I’m totally new to Arturo Ruas. His ring style is so different from Dunne, but they worked together so well. They both are big into joint manipulation (cringe) and really know how to make it look great while not losing the flow of the match. Ruas was made to look quite strong against the Bruiserweight, and that’s saying something because while Dunne isn’t very tall, his strength is insane. In fact I’d love to see Dunne and Cesaro in some sort of contest of strength. That could be amazing to see!
This match was really great, kept the fans entertained and continued to show why NXT on USA (even though this was on the WWE Network) is worth the watch.
More Boots To The Face!
I love Xia Li’s ring gear! It’s so culturally appropriate, yet fits her body beautifully and looks amazing as she works the ring. During the DD a couple people commented on Aliyah’s weight. She looks incredibly thin. In a world of thin women who are pretty much solid muscle, she looks fashion model thin. She’s billed at 5’3” 112lbs. That’s a great weight for a woman of her height, but muscle weighs more than fat, so I’d expect her to weigh a bit more than she does, but I’m not going to complain or worry unless she loses more weight.
That was quite the botch by Li, but she handled it well and got right back in there as if nothing happened. Being up top like that, sometimes thing happen and she’s lucky she didn’t land badly and injure herself. Honestly, if that’s the worst botch in this show, I think the kids of NXT have pulled out possibly the best wrestling show debut on TV ever! Honestly, and no offense to Sting, Flair, Luger, etc., but this leaves the first episode of WCW Nitro from Mall of America look bush league.
Is Dejournette trying to bring the 80s back? Between his entrance and ring gear, I have to wonder when he thinks he is. I honestly haven’t been drawn in or interested in watching NXT UK, other than to see Dunne, WALTER, Storm, and Ripley, so I don’t really know who Imperium is, but they are formidable, and hopefully a great faction for NXT UK. Both Dieter and Aichner look intimidating, then you add in Wolfe and WALTER, their overall look, and they could be downright scary! I love it.
Like Dejournette and half of Imperium, I really don’t know KUSHIDA, but I love his look and how he used to get get out of WALTER’S grasp and flee the ring. From chants for WALTER to chants for KUSHIDA, this is going to be a lot of fun! The only thing that would have made this better for me is if my beloved Regal had come out and scheduled a match between the two for next week.
Speed vs Fire – Botch
Story-wise, our own David Jr. mentioned that it made zero sense and that neither had done anything to be in a number-one contender match. He’s not wrong but here’s the sad truth: no one watches 205 Live. As such, most don’t even know the champ so they might as well reset the whole thing. I’m sure David, a few others, and myself were the only ones who noticed. That said, story be darned. I have nothing but great things to say about the match itself.
I absolutely love the speed that Lio works at. I’m truly sick of dives but I’m fine with them when Lio does them. He comes at his opponent with such speed and force. He also sold all of Oney’s offense like a champ. To Oney’s credit, he took each one extremely well so that neither one was injured. Lest you think I didn’t notice Oney at all, he was equally fun. He’s more a bruiser and we got that here tonight. I loved his work on Lio’s knee. He was merciless and it looked great. He’s hardly without speed himself and we got plenty of that too. They told a fantastic story in there and the right guy won. Overall, a great surprise match and both were more than up to the task.
Don’t Blink, Again!
I’m thrilled to see Dain on TV. When Sanity was brought up to the main roster they were all totally screwed over by McMahon and Creative. When they went gone their separate ways, which I’m completely ticked off about, it looked as though they all might fall by the wayside, but finally things are coming around. With Wolfe in Imperium, Dain trying to take out Riddle and Nikki holding gold and winning over all the fans, it appears as though the only member who isn’t going anywhere is my original favorite from the faction, and someone I’ll always love no matter what he’s doing, EY. Fingers crossed that he will be brought back to NXT to be interesting and exciting again.
I’m not the biggest Riddle fan and I have a feeling that much of that is because I don’t want to see him hurt himself in the stupidity of not wearing any padding or shoes in the ring. His knees, elbows, and feet are all going to have issues for how he’s working without any protection. I know it’s all part of his character, but if he wants to still have a character in five years, he needs to start protecting his body.
No clue why Imperium jumped Riddle, but I’m sure it will come out soon. Then the locker room clearing brawl that left me grinning from ear to ear. I love things like this, especially when I get to see some of my old favorites like Gunner, I mean Jaxson! I loved him in Impact and I’m thrilled to see him stand out so much in this fight. Maybe because I like him so much I notice him more, but he stands out to me as the best of the Forgotten Sons.
A man Dain’s size should not be able to fry the way he does. He really proved his worth in this match when he really was competing to be seen through almost the entire locker room!
Shut Up Mauro, I’m Talking!
Undisputed Era is proof that factions work and should be utilized so much more than they are on WWE TV. Or, WWE TV before NXT debuted on USA. I’ve been calling for a lot of things from the WWE and they have been serving up some of them, but the rest are great things they used to do and seemed to have forgotten how well they worked. I’m not talking about the bad parts of the Attitude Era, but the things we really loved. Face versus face matches between some of the best on the roster where we all just sit there drooling with grins on our faces. Fights that go backstage and all over the arena (which the WWE did quite a bit this week before NXT). Locker room-clearing brawls that leave us questioning everyone and where they’re going next.
So many of those things I’ve been wanting on Raw and SDLive are happening in NXT because Triple H can see past his own ego to push the kids who deserve being pushed and working with some of the best ideas in the industry that haven’t been used by the WWE in too long. Those things I listed above are not hard, but it seems as though McMahon won’t even think about them for more than thirty seconds before he gets bored and goes back to Reigns, Rollins, and Brock Lesnar! The last really strong faction, larger than three people, was Nexus, and that was before NXT was really NXT.