So much greatness in only two hours. I’m still in awe at how bad Raw had been compared to how great NXT is and has been. It shocks me that they are the same company and how certain people didn’t fight for Raw to be as great as NXT (which it still isn’t, but it is better) is beyond me. Now that all three shows are live on TV, I think that things will really shift in which show garners the biggest response from the fans. I know that being on Wednesday nights will be hard for NXT as the fans who watch NXT are the same who are excited for AEW, but it will work itself out pretty quickly as people get in the groove of watching one live, then the other on DVR or on-demand.
You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly! (as reviewed by Botch Reed)
Yes, I’m actually saying this about a match featuring Keith Lee & Dominik Dijacovic! Queen offered me this match because of how big a fan of Keith Lee I am. I’ve been a fan of his since he was Kevin Paine many years ago. We knew that both of them were freakishly athletic (especially Keith) and that the two of them could fly around the ring like cruiserweights. As such, this is no big shock but the story was just told so well! They dove, they flew, they did things neither of them should be able to do and they did it all at the service of a great story that had us all on the edge of our seats from start to finish. I can’t say enough good about this match…and they gave it to us on TV! Dives are absolutely done to death and I’m sick of seeing them. It takes really special and well-executed dives to get my attention but Keith’s can do it because of his size and because of his flawless execution. Many of them miss the mark slightly in some way whether it be timing or in placement. Keith’s never miss. For them to really work from a viewing standpoint, the other worker also has to be in position and his timing has to be on too so it looks like it comes as a surprise. He also needs to do his best to soften the landing by catching the guy. Catching Keith Lee is a scary proposition because of his size. Dominic was up to that task on all fronts and handled his part brilliantly. Both of them completely showed out here and I loved this match.
I adore Dakota Kai. She’s so cute, so sweet, and so had the feels on this return. I have to say I don’t like the white ring gear as it looks like she’s in underwear, but watching her in the ring makes me quickly forget. I have to admit that I love that she doesn’t have extensions in her hair and doesn’t wear a lot of makeup. I wondered how much of that would change for the women of NXT once they made it to TV, but obviously doesn’t mean anything to Kai at this point and I’m thrilled!
Taynara is so beautifully Brazillian! I don’t want it to sound like a cliché, but she has the body, the booty, the blonde hair, and the attitude. I love her with her black belt, it shows how much she respects martial arts, and how hard she worked for that belt.
This match was solid, but not jaw-dropping. I didn’t see much ring rust on Kai, and I’m thrilled for that. Hopefully she will be right back in the mix and working her way up to the main event. As great as Taynara is in the ring, I don’t think she’s as ready to be pushed as Kai is. My personal feelings on the matter, and they could easily change next week.
That exploder suplex on Dane was jaw-dropping, as was the Alabama slam! He moves like a gymnast, has strength that leaves me in awe, and yet all I can see is his career-ending too soon because he won’t wear shoes or padding. I understand that’s his schtick, but it’s very dangerous, especially in the ring with someone like Dane, and in a Street Fight!
Dane flying always leaves me in awe. That man is another who moves like someone half his size. It seems to be more often than not these big guys are starting to move in ways that we wouldn’t have seen twenty years ago from guys their size. It’s almost like it’s becoming the norm, but I’m still not used to it yet.
Ripley Wins, Shocker!
I was giddy when Ripley came to the ring. I adore her. Watching with Stacy was funny as he said Ripley reminded him of Chyna in some ways. I can see where someone could compare her to Chyna at first glance. Also, Stacy has only really seen early Chyna, when she was with DX, not much of the later stuff when she was all glam and drop-dead gorgeous. Personally I think Ripley has morphed a bit as she was more of that early Chyna look and has lost some weight and has glammed up her look a bit, but is still that hardcore woman I fell in love with that first time I saw her. I cannot get over how great Ripley is and I’ve said this for a while now, but it has to be Ripley to take the strap off Baszler.
I heard said there would be a new tag team, sadly they were really boring. Putting them in with Birch and Lorcan might not have been the best move as they are not the most exciting team either. Not saying they’re at all bad, just not the flashiest of guys.
Nothing against Birch as he’s really a character and while not much to look at first glance, he really impressed me in this match. Birch with Lorcan is interesting to me as I’ve been a huge Lorcan fan since I saw him locally well before he was with the WWE and he stole the show. I know I have talked about seeing him live as The Masshole, and how he stole the entire night. His personality and charisma doesn’t come through the TV the way he did when I was sitting ten feet away, but his ring work has only gotten better. Last week he was jaw dropping, and him with Birch this week made me absolute giddy. I cannot wait to see what they do next, I just hope it’s against a team with more to offer personality-wise because that other team was a snooze-fest.
Grimes vs Mendoza
Something about Grimes, I really like him. I think it’s because he looks like a number of my friends. He looks like he could hang with my steampunk friends, and then throw on a kilt and go to a medieval event – there’s a lot of crossover there.
Mendoza coming off the top on Grimes with such speed I actually cussed aloud. I did so again when they both came off the ropes and Grimes did something where they flipped through the air really quickly with Grimes landing on top. I usually only mark out when I see someone I love dearly and we haven’t seen in a while, like Nash, HBK, or Foley, but those moves ripped the reaction from me in a way that WWE rarely did before Heyman took over Raw.
There were some really amazing moves in this match, but I have to admit that it didn’t hold my attention between those huge moves as much as I’d like it to, which is why the grade is as low as it is. I might need to review how I grade as writing about NXT leaves me with (so far) nothing under 3 crowns.
Lastly, I love that the female ref isn’t delegated to working only women’s matches.
WALTER Is Scary!
KUSHIDA with Breezango? Interesting. Not sure I’d have picked the pretty boy and that goober from Maine to back me against those three, but to each their own. I really didn’t think they had any chance of winning, but Breezango is booked so different on NXT from either the red or blue brands. I’m really thrilled to see how they’re used on NXT. I know Breeze was always better in NXT, and obviously my Fandango is as well. It used to be that going back to NXT was a step-down, to most people, but now that they’re getting equal time on the USA Network no one can say it’s a step down at all!
I do worry that the rest of Imperium cannot stand up to the personality, charisma, and level of imposing that WALTER has. During the DD someone said that it feels like it’s WALTER and the rest, and that’s not good for the other three in the group.
Shut Up Mauro, I’m Talking!
I named this the ending segment as a joke last week, but after the piece he tried to take out of me on Twitter, I’m keeping it. Mauro told me that he’s not yelling on TV and I’d know it if he was yelling, but some people are just vanilla – meaning me. The funniest thing about this is that I’d not had a chance to tell Stacy about my little moment with Mauro on Twitter when he came into the house before the first match even started and asked why ‘that guy’ was yelling when there was nothing going on. I almost fell off the sofa laughing. I love writing about NXT because it’s so new and fresh and different for all of us to see what they are doing now that they’re not relegated to the WWE Network. I’m so excited about the future of NXT and wrestling as a whole, we are on the cusp of a great time in wrestling.
Queen KB & Botch