I was pretty excited for night one of the Great American Bash because of some of the matches set to take place. I was uber excited for Io versus Sasha and was equally excited for the Robert Stone and Aliyah versus Rhea Ripley match. WWE also announced that there would be limited commercials and the main event would be without commercials so plenty to look forward to with that in mind. I will say that NXT delivered this week so I will not waste any more time with the intro and will just jump right into the review.
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match
I was looking forward to this match, but I was left a bit disappointed with it. There was good stuff but then I remembered how elimination matches tend to take a minute to get started because they need to get the eliminations out of the way. That is how it played out here because once the eliminations happened, the match certainly picked up. Candice LeRae was the first to be eliminated and it wouldn’t be the last we saw of her tonight. Mia Yim and Tegan Nox would start to double team Dakota Kai since they have beef with her stemming from WarGames last year. Mia hit a beautiful Code Blue during the match, and it would make Amazing Red proud. Mia would be eliminated next and that is when the match got a better. Dakota and Tegan have some great chemistry and it showed when it got down to those two. Solid back and forth and Tegan would end up picking up the win and earn a future NXT Women’s Championship match. I totally thought Dakota would win since she has been calling out Io Shirai, so it was nice to see Tegan finally getting a shot. The match could have been better but still a solid way to start NXT.
Damian Priest Backstage
Priest has such a nice voice for promos because of how deep it is. Priest was backstage and spoke about Cameron Grimes and called him out about what kind of man he is. He questioned his tactics over the last few weeks and wants another match with him. The promo was short but did its job in showing a more serious side to Priest. I am enjoying this development so far with him and they could be building up to something nice with him.
Timothy Thatcher vs Oney Lorcan
From a strictly in-ring point of view, this was my favorite match of the night. I knew we would be in for some great technical and stiff work from Thatcher and Lorcan and they did not disappoint. Thatcher is great with submission work and technical ability and Lorcan was a great foil for that. Lorcan loves to work a stiff style and Thatcher was more than capable of handling it. Lorcan left Thatcher’s chest with a nice shade of red from all the stiff chops he delivered in this match. This match was filled with stiff shots and great catch-wrestling, so it was a nice sight to behold. We do not get this style of match very often so it will always be a nice change of pace in WWE/NXT programming. I know I am leaving a ton out of this review of this match but that is because I would love you all to see the great work these two put in. Thatcher would take the win with the Fujiwara Armbar and held on for a bit. I wouldn’t mind seeing a match between Thatcher and Danny Burch next because that could be a nice match too.
Karrion Kross & Scarlett Vignette
This was quite the strange vignette and that is what makes it special. I have enjoyed how the vignettes/promos from Kross and Scarlett have had their own unique feel to them. It very much reminds me of the old Wyatt Family vignettes and promos we used to see. I liked that I had no clue who or what they were talking about, but it was made clear towards the end. They clearly have their eye on the Lee/Cole match next week and time will tell what their intentions are for NXT.
Rhea Ripley vs Robert Stone Brand
I mentioned how Lorcan/Thatcher may have been my favorite match from an in-ring perspective, but this was my favorite from a story perspective. Robert Stone has become my favorite thing in wrestling right now because he just nails this character so well. It has actually brought out a little something in Aliyah too because she doesn’t feel bland anymore. Rhea also looks to be having fun with this and that is always nice to see. This match was actually a nice mix of comedy and actual wrestling and that is a tough mix to nail more often than not. I loved the gear Stone had for this match because it clearly felt like a homage to Marc Mero when he was having his program with Sable. Like I mentioned, this match was filled with laughs and some nice moves as well. Stone sold like a boss for Rhea and I enjoyed how much offense Stone and Aliyah got in on Rhea. Rhea would end up overcoming the odds and made both members of the Robert Stone Brand tap. It doesn’t look like Rhea is joining the brand this week and that makes me a bit sad because I feel like great comedy could come from her being a member of the Robert Stone Brand.
Roderick Strong vs Dexter Lumis
I loved the short vignette they had before this match that had Strong sitting in a chair and reflecting on everything that has happened between himself and Lumis. I loved it even more when it transitioned into Strong and he made his entrance. Lumis has quickly become one of my favorites in NXT and I wondered how this match would play out. This was probably one of the best strap matches I have seen and they did not hold back at all. Strong is know for more of a stiff style and it played perfectly into this match. Plenty of back and forth and they even teased Lumis putting Strong into another trunk. This time it would have been in a very nice-looking Viper but Strong was able to avoid that. Plenty more back and forth in this match and I loved how Lumis would no-sell certain things because it goes into his character. He is seemingly impervious to pain and he would thrive in a match like this. Bobby Fish would try to help Strong, but it would end up being to no avail as Lumis was able to pick up the win. This is Lumis’ biggest win by far and I am intrigued where they go from here with him.
Prime Target: Lee vs Cole
This was another Prime Target video package that NXT has started to use, and I really enjoyed this one. This did a great job in highlighting both Keith Lee and Adam Cole in their time in NXT. Lee was up first, and he spoke about his journey and how he has risen to this position to where he can become a double champion. Adam Cole was next, and he took credit for Lee’s success because it would not have happened with him doing things first. Honestly, this was a great video package and one I would say to seek out because it was darn good. It did a great job in hyping up their match next week and I hope to see more of these when it fits the right story.
Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano Backstage
The lovely couple of Gargano and LeRae were backstage and they spoke about how she lost in the opening match. I loved how Candice complained that they ganged up on her and how Johnny was there to support her. Candice would end up darting off and Johnny wondered where she went. Candice spotted Mia Yim and the two started to brawl. Johnny looked pleased by it and they were having to be separated by officials, referees and one Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Johnny got into it with Scott and looks like we may be getting a match between those two. You can sign me right up for that match because it could be a banger.
El Legado del Fantasma In-Ring
I said it once and I’ll say it again, I am loving this trio right here. They come off like a cartel and they have that swagger you see from a cartel in movies and television. Santos Escobar came out to explain what their mission is, and it is a simple one. They hate what has become of lucha libre in the USA and they are here to bring it back to the way it used to be in the old days. Santos just oozes confidence and swagger and that is what you need in a leader of a stable/faction. Drake Maverick would end up making his return and rushed the ring but was quickly beaten down by Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza. It looked like Drake would be eating another bad beat down when Breezango would come out for the save. Fandango would get on the mic and challenge them to a match, and it would be made official later.
Cameron Grimes Backstage
I was a bit iffy on Grimes at first, but I have come around to realize he is good at what he does. He is quite the heel and really does whatever he can to make you dislike him. I loved how dismissive he was of Damian Priest and how he is focused on whoever comes out the winner between Keith Lee and Adam Cole. I have a feeling that will bite him in the behind and I cannot wait to see it. It is clear that Priest is not done with him so this challenge feels like it will be for naught since Priest still wants some of Grimes. Grimes is coming into his own as slime and I am loving every minute of it.
Io Shirai vs Sasha Banks
This was a fantastic main event for night one of the Great American Bash and both women delivered. I know Lewis mentioned in the DD that Io may have been working stiff and I personally wondered if that was by design. Sasha is a fan of the Joshi style and I would imagine she would have jumped at the opportunity to work in that style with Io. Like I said, this was a fantastic main event and both ladies brought it here. I also mentioned in the DD how I have come to enjoy Bayley as a heel, and I think she excelled once again here. This was such a fun back and forth match that left me wanting more. I think that is always a testament to matches when they leave you wanting more because that says it was great, but I know you have another level to hit. I had no idea who would come out the victor here, but it would be made clear when the closing moments happened. Bayley tried to help Sasha but that would end up not working as Asuka would show up and give Sasha the green mist. Sasha sold it like a boss, no pun intended, and it would allow Io to pick up the win. Great main event to cap off a great night of NXT action.
Honestly, I have no complaints about this week’s episode of NXT. I thought NXT delivered with one of their best episodes of the year so far and it was fun from start to finish. I guess the lowest point was the opening match but even then, it was still a solid match. I loved the Robert Stone Brand match against Rhea Ripley and the Thatcher/Lorcan match surprised me with how good it was. The main event was a ton of fun and that sentiment could be said throughout night on of the Great American Bash. All in all, NXT delivered one heck of a show and I cannot wait for night two. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all around the WRC.