I have a confession to make. Actually, it’s not a confession as most everyone knows I watched AEW live the first night, but I was under the impression that I would be able to watch NXT on-demand on Sling on Thursday when I got up, but that wasn’t the case. NXT was not there to watch in its entirety. It wasn’t up on the WWE Network, which I didn’t expect, but I had to check. So then I went to Hulu and they had cut half the matches out of their show. Finally I was up in arms and asking backstage for help. On a whim I went back to Sling just to check and they had loaded NXT. Turns out that not only did they cut half the matches from the show, they cut a serious amount out of the opening match! I basically went back and rewatched all I’d seen on Hulu and while I’d love to say I did it all for the Wrestle Royalty Community, that would be a lie. I love NXT and wanted to watch it all straight through.
We Are Here To Win!
I say this each time, I comment on an opening video as I try to avoid writing about them as much as I can, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut about this one. I loved the opening of NXT! The little explanation of what and who NXT is was very Attitude Era feeling, but really fresh as well. Everything about this was perfect and showed just how top-level NXT really is.
Those triple suplexes from Riddle were sick! I love the grace of the float-over. They have a similar vibe to Eddie’s leg spin after each of his suplexes. It’s that added panache that certain superstars have and certain superstars don’t. I’m not a big Riddle fan, but he absolutely has a style to him.
I have no clue how Riddle kicked out of that enziguri sequence. That was one of the best bits of chain wrestling I’ve seen in a very long time, and I watch a lot of great wrestling! While I didn’t want Riddle to win (especially knowing the spoilers of what is coming later in the night), I couldn’t see him looking any better and not winning this match. The two of them left it all out there on a night where they needed to do just that. Going against AEW’s very first televised match, the first pro wrestling match on TNT in over eighteen years, NXT won the opening match no questions asked, because Cole and Riddle know what they’re doing and left it all out there. This was the perfect match to start the show with and they blew it away!
I’m now so excited to see what Cole and Balor can do on mic against each other and in the ring together. They are both solid and well-rounded performers which is going to make what is to come that much more exciting, especially knowing that you-know-who comes back at the end of the night and we all know he wants Goldy back!
EDIT: Hulu cut a serious chunk out of this match.
The Velveteen Dream Experience
While watching AEW a number of people in the DD commented on not liking the lighting of Velveteen Dream’s segment. I held off judgment because I hadn’t seen it. Well, now I understand why people felt that way, but I also see why other people stated that it fit who Velveteen Dream is. I wasn’t thrilled with the lighting myself, though it is very Velveteen Dream, and I loved the difference between when he was in the spotlight to when he wasn’t. That was great play with the colors of his outfit and the lighting.
I wouldn’t want him to use that lighting all the time, or even very often, but I get why they did it and I’m all about them experimenting with new things. If they didn’t try new things they would look like, well, the way Raw looked before Heyman took over. We all complained about how boring the show was and how they were giving us the same things over and over again. Not all experimentation works out and maybe they scrap that specific lighting idea for Dream, but at least they’re trying new things to see how they work. They will never know what works and what doesn’t if they don’t at least try, and it seems as though Trip is more willing to try new things than McMahon is in his old age.
Lastly, I have to admit that I was going to abbreviate the title for this segment until I realized what it looked like when I called it The VD Experience.
THIS Is What I Was Waiting For!
I read the reactions in the DD of those who were watching NXT live and was really impressed with their reactions. Everyone was impressed with this match, jaws hitting the flood, but most of the reactions were for Io over Mia, so I was interested as to why as I’ve always put them on the same level, while being very different competitors. As I watches I could see why Io was getting more props. Her agility and balance looked so beautiful, and just a bit more impressive that Mia’s more ground and pound style. Not saying that’s all Mia has in her bag of tricks, but compared to Io, Mia is very grounded. I love the dichotomy of their styles in the ring, it could be a hindrance to some, but these two look like they were meant to work the ring together.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make at least one comment about their ring gear. I thought Io’s ring gear was absolutely perfect for her build and the work she does in the ring. She didn’t seem to have to readjust much, if not at all, during this match. Mia, on the other hand, is still wearing tops that look horrible on her. The thing is that her previous top (I’m starting from when NXT debuted on USA) made her tatas look odd, but this top is slightly different and leaps and bounds worse. I don’t get it because the pants she wears to the ring are great on her. Those pants look like they were designed for her body (which they might be), and look amazing on her, it’s just those tops!
EDIT: This match was completely cut from the Hulu version of NXT.
The Tegan Nox video was really great. I understand pain in a major way, but I cannot imagine going through that type of pain only to get back in the ring and suffer more pain. I think that’s why I respect wrestlers and wrestling so much, they put their bodies through so much to do what they love, but they don’t go out there to actually beat each other up the way they do in MMA. Honestly, that little video helped me put into words what I’ve never actually been able to articulate.
Is there anyone who doesn’t love Gargano? I’m serious, I really want to know if there is anyone out there who doesn’t like him. I’m sure there has to be, but watching his ring work, charisma, personality, and most importantly his heart, I cannot imagine any fans who would truly dislike him. Further Gargano isn’t unstoppable. He gets beaten as much as he wins, possibly more, but he’s more than proven that he’s not an underdog any longer. While Triple H, the character, was calling Daniel Bryan a B+ player he was grooming Gargano to be one of the best NXT has ever seen. I’ve never seen a bad Gargano match because he’s not only great in the ring, but he makes whoever he’s in the ring with look that much better themselves. He’s one of those very special superstars who will sit up there with the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and Seth Rollins.
I Wanted More…
Mrs. Johnny Wrestling isn’t just the average blonde in the WWE. She really looks like the girl next door, not the glam look that Lacey, Charlotte, Bliss, Nattie, and Dana all have, and her look belies her ring work. I loved seeing Candice reverse Shayna’s hold on her. The smile on Candice’s face was sheer delight!
The issue I had with this match is that I wanted so much more. I know Shayna is incredibly dominant and needs to be shown that way until she loses her strap to Rhea Ripley, but I know Candice can last longer than she did and I wanted to see more. It just felt like it wasn’t enough for the NXT Women’s Championship, especially with the other women’s match on the show.
EDIT: A lot of this match was cut from NXT on Hulu. This match was so much more than what I saw the first time I watched it. Shayna didn’t easily beat Candice in less than five minutes with very few real moves, they killed it in this match. The Hulu version of this match showed about five real moves in the ring and almost nothing outside the ring. I change the grade I originally had for this match and gave it what it truly deserved rather than the three crowns I had given it.
Now, I know NXT was presented with limited commercial interruptions. I don’t know as the on-demand version gave me the same courtesy as there were two sets of commercials during this match and I found them very jarring. Honestly I was so into this match that I started cussing at USA and Sling when the second set of commercials came about. I was so into Candice being in control of Shayna, then I was cut off. Coming back from commercial I was shocked to see Candice lock Shayna’s hold onto Shayna. The thing is that in the original version I saw, this happened almost at the start of the match, so they only showed the very end of the match as if it was the whole thing. Basically I’m saying that WWE/Hulu cut out most of this match and all of the Io/Mia match. Way to abuse the women when they were a huge part of the show.
British Strong Style
While chatting in the DD last night I stated how much Dunne reminds me of my ex-husband. Short, acne scars, seems to like being mean, and an accent. Okay, the accent is very different as my ex is from North Carolina, but still, there’s an accent compared to what I’m used to hearing locally.
Anyway, I really like Dunne and Burch facing each other in the ring. Dunne has a thicker build, but they both have this intensity that takes what they have to a whole new level. It’s that British Strong Style that is so different from wrestling in the USA. These guys are not getting the love they deserve with NXT UK struggling the way it is, so I think having them on NXT on USA could be great for their careers. Personally I don’t think NXT UK is working and I want to see Toni Storm on NXT on USA along with WALTER, Burch, Dunne, and Rhea Ripley.
That DDT off the top rope on Dunne was SICK! Orton’s through the ropes has NOTHING on what Burch did to Dunne there. Well, it was great until Dunne took Burch out the way he did. That was a sick way to end the match and then a sick way to end Dunne when Priest too him out.
Eh, The Low Point
I have to say that Undisputed Era came off really whiny when they came up on Cole. They looked really weak and somewhat pathetic whining about Balor on NXT when, as Cole said, they need to focus on the Street Profits. It felt so obvious but made O’Reilly and Fish look rather pathetic.
Cheat To Win
I’ve loved watching Street Profits on Raw lately. They’ve shown their personalities so much and have given us some of the best backstage segments on Raw lately. I really thought they were going to lose their straps and move to Raw, and have to wonder if that was the original plan for them before they went with NXT on USA. Either that or NXT was using a couple of their most charismatic talkers to get more people excited for NXT on USA. The only problem I have with the latter idea is that you’d expect them to show how beautifully they work the ring to really get the Raw fans interested in NXT, and they didn’t do that. Yes, Street Profits are great on mic, but they are as great in the ring, and that’s something Raw fans didn’t learn about them through only talk.
I love O’Reilly’s butterfly suplexes. They are so different from anything we’ve seen in a long time. I just wish he had the personality to go with his ring work. Actually, both Fish and O’Reilly looked like little kids in the ring with the Street Profits who are both physically bigger than each of the Undisputed Era. It’s even more obvious when Dawkins hits things like his leg capture throw because it made O’Reilly look that much smaller than he is. That being said, O’Reilly really knows how to fly and make it look amazing! Their work together in this match left me grinning, especially when both teams were in there and it looked like the Street Profits were done in those holds. So much greatness in this match because of how good both teams are, but also because of their chemistry in the ring together. Of course the UE had to cheat to win, but it is who they are – love them or hate them for it!
The way Ciampa stared at Goldy all the way around Cole before staring Cole in the eye was perfection. The thought of Cole, Ciampa, and Balor in the ring together fighting for Goldy makes me giddy. It makes me so happy to be a wrestling fan and a writer at this point in pro wrestling.
After NXT on USA and AEW on TNT ended I saw someone post a pic of Leg Luger next to a picture of Jack Thwagger and the caption said, “Eh, close enough.” I had to laugh as I’ve never had a use for Thwagger, but I have heard that Belatore has been good for him and he’s grown up a lot and got a lot of that ick out of him. Only time will tell, but his cauliflower ears and more clear eyes seem to show a man who has grown up a bit.
Anyway, if we are looking at WCW, AEW and NXT, NXT absolutely wins the return appearance with Ciampa!
Shut Up Mauro, I’m Talking!
Backstage we were discussing which was the match of the night for AEW and we couldn’t agree between us as none of the matches were that stellar. On the flip-side, discussing the match of the night for this episode of NXT we couldn’t agree because the matches were almost all downright amazing! I watched AEW because it was their first night, and their ratings were better, but NXT was leaps and bounds better. That being said, it was their first night and there are a lot more nights to go. It’s going to be fun to watch how things go, but I have to say that for this first week, NXT killed it in a way that they have for years now.