A Freakin’ Fireball (WWE NXT Review)

This week’s NXT had quite a few things to look forward to. There was the triple threat featuring Cameron Grimes, KUSHIDA and a mystery opponent that had many of us wondering who it would end up being. Karrion Kross was set to take on Danny Burch and Bronson Reed had a match against Damian Priest as well. There is also the fallout from the McAfee/Cole stuff that ended last week’s episode that I am sure would rear its head during this week’s episode. Tyler Breeze was also looking to get some revenge on Santos Escobar in a match between the two this week. Let us jump right in and see what the black and gold brand had for us this week.

 

Karrion Kross vs Danny Burch

Kross may have my favorite entrance right now and I know it will only be better once it is able to be done in front of a real crowd. It was obvious who would come out on top here but that doesn’t mean this match was lacking. Burch came out looking to get revenge on Kross for the attack he did to him and other talent last week and I loved how he told the referee to ring the bell as soon as he got in the ring. Burch wanted to waste no time and he certainly made use of the time he had in the ring with Kross. Burch tried his best to do damage to Kross but none of it seemed to have an effect on Kross. Burch did manage to put Kross in the crossface a few times but Kross was able to power out of it every time. Kross would end up gaining the advantage and made Burch tap to the Krossjacket. It seemed like that would be it until Keith Lee would show up and we got out next segment.

 

Keith Lee In-Ring

Lee would come out to the ring with a clipboard in hand and he was all business. Lee would get on the mic and say he expected Kross to leave the ring because that is the kind of person he is. He would eventually tell him that he had to beg and plead with William Regal to write up a contract so he could have a match with Kross at TakeOver XXX. He would tell Kross how much he is ready to beat him up at TakeOver and placed the contract on the mat for him to grab. Scarlett would be the one to grab the contract and would present it to Kross. Kross wouldn’t hesitate one bit as he would sign it and Scarlett would kiss it before placing it back in the ring. Lee would pick it up and a fireball would come from the clipboard and I loved how Lee sold this. Scarlett and Kross looked on with faces of pleasure and referees and medical staff would tend to Lee. Lee sold this perfectly and I loved how he yelled for Kross while being tended to. They would put the rest of the Lee stuff in picture-in-picture and I loved it. It did detract from the match that came after, but it was still good. Lee would be loaded up in an ambulance and Mia Yim would join Lee as he left Full Sail to get medical treatment.

 

Drake Maverick vs Killian Dain

As I mentioned, this match was hampered by the Lee stuff because much of it was in picture-in-picture, but it was a pretty solid match. The dynamic of Dain’s clear size advantage over Drake made for some good stuff in this match. I also had the random idea to put these two in a tag team and I think it could work. Dain is directionless and a team of Dain and Drake could be a good thing for the very shallow tag division in NXT. This was a solid match, but it would have no winner as the Undisputed Era, who were shown arriving as Lee was leaving in the ambulance, came in and attacked both Dain and Drake. They would destroy both men and Adam Cole would take to the mic. This was probably to most intense I have seen Adam Cole in NXT in a very long time. He cut a very good promo on Pat McAfee and told him how Pat is in over his head with their upcoming match at TakeOver XXX. Cole would extend an invite to McAfee for next week so they could have a face to face so Cole could let him know just how in over his head he is. I know it may not be a popular opinion, but I am digging this so far and am really interested in seeing how the match plays out. Also, if you have any doubts about McAfee’s commitment to the match I highly recommend you search out the videos he has posted of him training because you can clearly see he is invested in trying to not mess this match up at TakeOver.

 

KUSHIDA Hype Package

This was a short and sweet hype package for KUSHIDA. He spoke, in Japanese, about the upcoming triple threat match tonight and how this is his chance to shine. I like how NXT does these videos because they do a good job of mixing in promo work with highlights. KUSHIDA continued to talk about the match and even spoke a bit about Cameron Grimes since he did not know who the other man would be. KUSHIDA looks ready to win the triple threat and qualify for the ladder match.

 

Tyler Breeze vs Santos Escobar

I know many say that Cesaro is the most underutilized talent in WWE right now, but I would say that Tyler Breeze is. The fact that he has never held a single championship in WWE despite how great he is as a character and in the ring is a travesty. Breeze is by far the most underutilized and underrated member on the roster and I do not think it is even close. I liked that Santos sent Mendoza and Wilde to the back because he is confident he could beat Breeze without their help because of how he perceives Breeze. Breeze would put up a fight in the match though and I think that caught Santos by surprise even though he was able to handle was Breeze would bring to the match. It did look like Breeze was building momentum and that is when Wilde and Mendoza would come from the back to provide a distraction. That was all Santos needed to hit Breeze with his finisher for the win. Legado del Fantasma would gather around Breeze when Fandango, in a sling, would come out with a mop and would break it to make it into a weapon. He would attack Wilde and Mendoza with it and looked to do the same to Escobar, but Santos would attack his injured arm and Legado would beat down Breezango. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott would come out to even the odds and would clear the ring of Legado. They would announce that there would be a six-man match next week and I have a feeling that Swerve will pick up the win there and it will set up a title match between Swerve and Escobar.

 

Dakota Kai Hype Package

Really solid hype package for Dakota Kai here. She is very confident heading into her match with Io Shirai and thinks it is her time to shine now. She feels like she has the upper hand on Io and that she knows exactly what it will take to beat her. She mentioned that she doesn’t need anybody anymore whether it be a friend, lackey, partner or muscle. I guess that statement may confirm that she and Raquel Gonzalez are no longer a tandem and that saddens me a bit. I am liking this confident side to Dakota and I have enjoyed her pursuit for a match with Io because she feels like she has what it takes to beat her.

 

Ridge Holland Vignette

This was rather short and to the point. Ridge spoke about how he has another shot to get into the ladder match and he needs to beat Johnny Gargano in order to do so. Ridge impressed me last week and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do with one of the best in the world right now.

 

Indi Hartwell vs Mia Yim

This was a short match but a rather effective one. Mia was interviewed prior to the match and I loved how she sold how she just came back from the hospital and provided a minor update on Keith Lee. She said he would be fine and that she needs to turn her focus to her match. Mia did play up that her mind may be elsewhere during this match and I liked that Indi tried to take advantage of that. I keep saying there is huge upside with Indi, and I saw a bit more of that here. We do not know much about who she is as a character, but I can see the groundwork for something with Indi. Solid enough match and Mia would end up picking up the win with a rather unique looking submission. I do not think I have seen Mia bust that move out, but I rather liked it.

 

Finn Balor Promo

Finn cut a short promo about being given a second chance. He used some insider terms as he typically does nowadays and said he doesn’t like handouts but will take the second chance. He said it doesn’t matter who doesn’t suffer the pin or submission in the triple threat tonight because he will beat whoever the person is. Finn seems confident he will end up in the ladder match and we shall see next week if that is indeed the case.

 

Damian Priest vs Bronson Reed

This was a very solid match and I am loving how NXT is booking Bronson during this push he has been given. I have mentioned how he has “future star” written all over him and I think we are seeing it blossom over these past several weeks. This was a solid match and I loved how Priest would try to go for power moves on Bronson, but Bronson was too much of a thicc boy for Priest to hit the moves. Reed looked strong here and I did enjoy how Damian would sell his disbelief over Reed being able to withstand his offense and when he would hit offense of his own. I really had no idea who would win this match since both men are in the ladder match so that makes for a match that can be that much more enjoyable. Really good back and forth in this match and Reed would go for his Tsunami Splash and mostly miss it since Damian didn’t quite roll completely out of the way. Priest would try to hit Reed with the Reckoning, but Reed was able to counter for the jackknife cover victory. I loved how Priest was shocked at the outcome and Reed continues to build momentum leading up to TakeOver XXX.

 

Io Shirai Hype Package

It was Io’s turn for a hype package, and this was a fun one. I love how she would lay sick burns on Dakota Kai and how irrelevant she was in NXT prior to teaming with Tegan Nox. She mentioned Dakota’s heel turn and how she will not forget how she was scared of Shayna Baszler when she was in NXT. Those lines just hit perfectly, and Io delivered them so well. Io isn’t afraid of Dakota and said that she will retain her title at TakeOver XXX. Lovely stuff from Io here and I cannot wait for that match.

 

Cameron Grimes Hype Package

Like KUSHIDA, Cameron Grimes got himself a hype package as well. Grimes is uber confident heading into the triple threat match and has no doubts that he will come out victorious. I was a bit iffy on Grimes for a while, but he has grown on me as that smarmy heel. He feels like he will be able to win the triple threat and the ladder match at TakeOver. We shall see if that is true and who that mystery third man is.

 

Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro vs Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez

I mentioned in the DD for NXT that Kacy and Kayden could be a nice team for the women’s tag division if they are built properly and I still feel that after this match. You can see the natural chemistry due to them being friends and I think they could become a strong tag team if given the chance. Aliyah and Mercedes on the other hand are on quite the different end of the spectrum. Mercedes is all business and Aliyah is a bit different in what business she is trying to be in. I don’t mean that as a slight on Aliyah but just going with how the story is being told. Robert Stone would try and talk Kacy into joining the Robert Stone Brand prior to the match but she would decline by kicking the leg of Stone that was runover by Shotzi’s tank. The match itself was solid and I liked the teamwork shown by Kacy and Kayden in the match. Mercedes and Aliyah showed some nice teamwork at times as well. I think Mercedes could actually be a nice tutor for Aliyah because she has a wealth of knowledge and she could easily share that with Aliyah to help her grow as a competitor. Kayden and Kacy would put up a fight but Mercedes would pick up the win with the Air Raid Crash. Rhea Ripley would come out after the match and attack Mercedes in the ring. Aliyah would help out Mercedes to turn the odds but Shotzi Blackheart, my favorite, would come out to even the odds and clear the ring. Side note, such a shame that Shotzi’s car was stolen and so was all her ring gear. Her helmet that she has had for years was also taken and the person that did that should be ashamed of themselves. Solid match and I wonder if this will lead to a tag match or Rhea versus Mercedes.

 

Dinner With Candice & Johnny

I had forgotten how much I enjoy these segments since it has been some time since we saw the last one. Candice was telling a fairy tale to their dog and it was clear she was talking about someone in particular during it. The camera would shift, and she would reveal she was talking about Tegan Nox. Candice clearly has beef with her, and I am sure this is leading to a match between the two. Johnny was on a ladder fixing a lightbulb and he had some words for Ridge Holland. He said he would take care of him because Ridge, and everybody else in NXT, is not on his level as a wrestler. He said would beat Ridge and move on to the ladder match to reclaim the North American Championship. This was a nice little segment and I will also add that I loved that they were in matching tracksuits during this.

 

Thatch As Thatch Can

This was a shorter segment than I am used to with Thatcher, but it was still effective. He spoke about adapting and showed how to do that on one of his students. He would place him in a half Boston Crab and would transition to other submissions to show how one adapts. I love how he cranks on the submissions to make his students scream in pain. That was just about it for this segment and this wasn’t as good as the previous segments but that isn’t to say it was bad.

 

KUSHIDA vs Grimes vs ???

KUSHIDA would be the first one out and he would be followed by Cameron Grimes. The third man’s music would hit, and it would be a returning Velveteen Dream. Now I know what you all may be expecting but I am not here to discuss anything regarding the allegations made against Dream. This is neither the time nor the place for that and clearly something may have been settled in private for the powers that be in NXT to give the go ahead for Dream to be in this match. Now that that is out of the way, let us talk about the match itself. This was a rather fun match and Dream looked good in there. Again, I am focusing on the match and not the stuff outside of it. KUSHIDA looked great as well and I just love his transitions into submissions. I would love to see a program between KUSHIDA and Thatcher because imagine the submission work we would get in those matches. Cameron Grimes looked good as well and picked his spots like the smarmy heel he is. Really good back and forth in this match by all three men and I really had no idea who would win. KUSHIDA looked to have the momentum when he had Dream in the Hoverboard Lock, but Grimes would hit him with the Cave In, would roll Dream out of the ring so he could pin KUSHIDA for the win. Grimes has now qualified for the ladder match and Dream will face Balor next week in a second chance match. Dream would seemingly turn heel after the match by attacking KUSHIDA and I am fine with that. Dream works better as a heel than a face, so this is probably for the best. Finn Balor would then appear behind Dream and the two would have a stare down as NXT came to a close.

 

MAMMA MIA!!!

Overall, really solid episode of NXT this week. Before I forget, Vic Joseph was on announce this week instead of Phillips and I will say that I think he meshed better with Mauro and Beth than Phillips did. I still think he fills the same role as Mauro, but he did work better with him. I enjoyed the triple threat match this week and also enjoyed the Priest/Reed one was well. Good story building happened as well in the Breeze/Escobar match with what happened after and the same could be said for the women’s tag match as well with Rhea and Shotzi showing up after Mercedes and Aliyah won. I really enjoyed the Lee/Kross stuff and am really looking forward to their match at TakeOver XXX. I will also add that I enjoyed seeing the Undisputed Era looking more serious and intense and how Cole is doing the same. Cole wants to beat the living daylight out of McAfee, and I am enjoying the build. All in all, solid stuff from NXT this week. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all around the WRC