Check Mate

Hey, kids, it’s the Botching One with another look at the “Here and Now” that is NXT.  As you all know, I have been very critical of Mauro.  I’m not a fan of his announcing style at all…but that’s where my issues end.  I don’t know the person so how could it go further, really?  He’s been very open with his mental health struggles and I honestly respect that.  I grew up with a Bipolar father and the patient as well as everyone around them goes on a very wild ride.  The disease is unpredictable and it makes little to no sense when things trigger them.  As far as I can tell, Corey said a few things that in and of themselves were rather benign in an attempt to fan the flames of the Survivor Series angle.  As a result, Mauro was triggered.  Corey couldn’t have known he would be and I’m not even sure Mauro could have known how he’d respond.  Such is the unpredictability and unreasonableness of Bipolar.  Those of us who don’t have that disorder can just shrug things like that off and move on.  Mauro cannot.  Either way, I’m just glad that Mauro is well again.  Stability is a nearly impossible thing to achieve with this disease but I truly wish Mauro as much stability as is possible.

Okay, on with the show…


In-ring segment – Killian Dane

About time he talks a little.  His order was simple.  Give me someone and I’m not leaving till you do.  Damian Priest is having some injury issues so he just wants someone to fight.  Short but very sweet.


Killian Dane vs. Pete Dunne

This was fun…just like we all knew it’d be.  The joint manipulation wasn’t as cringe-y as it usually is but it wouldn’t be a Pete Dunne match without it.  I was wondering when the banged left knee would play into the match as they kept mentioned it a few times.  It finally happened when Dunne hopped off the ring apron with a moonsault.  After that, it was time for Dane to torture Dunne…and he did.  It all happened during the commercial break but Dunne sold the damage pretty well.  Dane flipping Dunne onto the apron was just scary.  OUCH!  Killian Dane came away with the win in a truly brutal match.  Dane needed this win so I’m glad he got it.


Backstage segment – Dakota Kai

Dag!  She turned in what was the best heel turn by anyone I may ever have seen and since it’s happened, she’s been amazing.  She does dark EXTREMELY well and it only makes me wonder why it didn’t happen faster.  This was a fantastic promo and I totally believed her.  Now, if only Bayley was anywhere near this good.


In-ring segment – The Undisputed Era, Keith Lee, & Tommaso Ciampa

No Bobby Fish.  It appears their concussion fears were well-founded.  Fish isn’t a kid (40 years-old) so it makes sense given what he’s put his body through lately.

Cole is absolutely magic.  He’s great at absolutely everything and this was just more proof of it.  “Keith Momentari-Lee”.  O’Reilly is a fool.  He’s a really good talker too and he rarely gets a chance to do it.  He did really well here.  He’s like that high school bully you just want to slap around but he’s also really cool so you don’t go through with it.

Keith was really given a shot on the mic tonight and he came through big time.  He was really fun here – articulate and totally believable.  He then tossed the entire UE around and it was hilarious.  We even got Ciampa just for fun.  Great segment.


Backstage segment – Xia Li

Nice heart and passion from Xia.  This was short but I really liked it.  She’s got an axe to grind…and she’s gonna grind it.


Xia Li vs. Shayna Baszler

This one was fun too.  I’m so sick of saying that but it’s true.  We don’t see the arm stretch too much anymore so it was cool to see it here too.  Of course, no one can win until Rhea does (my best guess) so it wasn’t gonna be Xia.  It was a fun match, though it would have been fun to see it go on longer.


Cinéma de…what? – Kassius Ohno

Kassius was totally wasted on NXT so he’s been in UK having some fun over there and he’s done well by all accounts, though I haven’t kept up.  Worlds Collide is coming up so he’s here promoting it.  Of course, Kassius is more than capable on the mic and he was here too.


Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake w/Jaxson Ryker) vs. Adrian Alanis & Leon Ruff (from EVOLVE)

Short jobber match.  Hard as WWE tries, I couldn’t care less about the Forgotten Sons and no jobber match is going to make me care either.  All I can say for this is I’m glad Alanis & Ruff got on TV.  Beyond that, I cared not and you probably didn’t either.


Cinéma de Chaos – Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim, Dakota Kai, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, & Marina Shafir

Rhea was really awkward on the mic this time but it was too quick to hurt much.  Mia Yim came out to bring the ruckus to Dakota.  This was a…wait for it…a lot of fun.  Mia absolutely mugged Dakota and did so extremely well.

Rhea came off as absolutely unstoppable here.  It took three of them to do it and even then, it took them a while.  Still, you aren’t escaping the Kirifuda Clutch if  Jessamyn & Marina are holding your arms.  Nice bit of mic work from Shayna too.


Backstage segment – Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa, & Dominick Dijacovic

Back to war with the three of them against the Undisputed Era.  I am SOOOOO here for that.


Kassius Ohno vs. Matt Riddle

“The Greatest British Wrestler of All Time”.  LOVE that!  Again, I haven’t kept up with NXT UK (only so many hours in a week) but if he’s using that gimmick, I’m all about that.

As for this match, Riddle has run through Ohno in the past on four different occasions as the commentators reminded us.  Be that as it may, there is no question that Ohno can work.  He’s been stellar for years.

He also has amazing hair…but I digress.

The crowd was FULLY behind the Original Bro.  Kassius put up much more of a fight here than he has in past encounters with Riddle.  This was a very good match and good promo for “Worlds Collide” but there was no way Riddle was going to lose.  I never thought he would either.  Still, again, this was a good match.


Kushida vs. Raul Mendoza…or not

Well, that ended oddly.  Cameron Grimes became Kushida’s opponent instead so there’s that.  How completely odd.  Grimes can work his face off so he’s great to face Kushida here.  The repeated attempts at the Octopus were fun – good storytelling.  When Kushida wrenched back on Grimes’ arm, I cringed.  That looked HORRIBLE.  My only complaint is that the match wasn’t longer.  Both of them can throw down and it would have been fun to see them do it.  Maybe someday…


The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole [Bay Bay], Kyle O’Reilly, & Roderick Strong) vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, & Dominick Dijacovic

Dijacovic is a machine.  He’s absolutely one of my favorites.  He has the unfortunate and unenviable task of co-existing in Keith Lee’s shadow but he’s just scary good and that’s absolutely getting through to me.  Watching his throw use Kyle as a battering ram on Strong & Cole was so much fun.  He continued to do it during the commercial break too.  The upper hand on him was only achieved when Cole came into the ring.

Tommaso botched horribly right on to Kyle’s neck about ¾ of the way through the match but Kyle is a crash test dummy so he wasn’t hurt.  The crowd was HEAVILY into Keith and when he finally got into the ring, the crowd pretty much came unglued.

Of course, Finn had to interfere and he did – taking them all out.  Gotta hand it to the TV direction too.  Keith just ominously appeared behind Finn while he was in the corner but it wouldn’t have worked at all had the director not been on his game.  Whoever it is, props.

Keith pinned the champ too!  Man, if Keith isn’t getting pushed, I don’t know what to call it.   I’m sure Queen will still come up with some reason (maybe she’ll even be able to articulate it someday too) why she doesn’t like him but whatever.  He can’t be denied anymore.  He had another in a long line of stellar performances tonight and his ascent is…well…undisputed.  I can’t wait to see who the winner of Bálor/Ciampa/Lee is next week.


So ends another absolutely stellar episode of NXT.  They are STACKING next week’s show and I can’t wait to see it.  See you all next week for another look at the “Here and Now”!