NXT TakeOver 31: A Capitol Idea

The new CWC, Capitol Wrestling Center, formerly known as the Performance Center, looks very NXT in that everything is black.  I can’t say I’m thrilled that they have a similar system of fans on screens around two sides of the ringside area, but they are smaller, darker, and much blurrier than in the Blunderdome.  It looks bush league in a way I’ve not seen NXT in the past.  I wonder if that’s something Trip had to give up in his fight to keep NXT out of the Dome.

Then there are the people in attendance.  I was thrilled that there was wrestling back in the PC/CWC so we could see more of the young wrestlers watching those that came before them, learning by watching it first hand, live.  There is so much they can get from being the fans in attendance, but bringing in actual fans, some who were not masked, and children, it’s a really dangerous move, no matter what the rules in Florida are right now.  It’s not safe for anyone involved!

 

It Was A Match

 

Priest came to the ring first, even though he was the Champion going into this match.  I don’t know what that was about and have to say that maybe I’m still a bit too old school, but I don’t like it.  Not one bit.  I have to give both guys props on their ring gear.  They both looked great in new ring gear.  I’m really hoping that Mrs. Gargano’s ring gear matches her husband’s.

Now for the bad, I really haven’t been drawn into this match the way I feel like I should have been.  Maybe I’m a bit hangry, even though I just at, and maybe I need to watch the match again, but this one didn’t suck me in the way I expected it to.  I truly thought this match would have me captivated from bell to bell, and maybe it’s me, but I wasn’t.  It wasn’t a bad match by any stretch, but it wasn’t the jaw-dropping spectacle I truly expected from it.

 

Marty & Doc Brown

 

That’s the only thing we could think of when Dream came out with his hair sprayed silver.  I hadn’t thought about Kushida’s entrance look at first, but it is very Marty with the orange vest over denim.  Dream was even wearing yellow rubber gloves that had to be horrible to wrestle in as they came off partway through the match.

Now I have to say I love the way Dream sells, it’s very HBK.  I know a lot of people don’t like people who sell like Ziggy these days, but I love it and Dream makes it work.  His facial expressions and how he moves his body when he writhes on the mat is just disturbing in the best of ways.  This match felt vicious, more than it actually looked.  While this could have been a main event on NXT, I can’t say it was a PPV level match.  It had a meaner vibe than the opening bout, but it wasn’t what I’d hoped for.

 

Almost Not A CW Match

 

Wade was talking about how Swerve pushed the top of the weight limit for the CW Division for this match and how that wasn’t a smart move going in there against Escobar.  Now I’ll admit I don’t know enough about Escobar going into this one.  I’ve not seen enough of him, and I’ll fully admit I’ve usually had my eyes on Juaquin when the faction came to the ring.  And there he was!  I loved the work outside the ring, it made things more interesting and different from the two previous matches, and it was needed.  The homage to Eddie in the three amigos and the frog splash, even though they didn’t get him the three right then, were fun to see.  No one will ever do them like Eddie, but I love when certain people do it, and do it really well.

 

Gargano Way Doesn’t Work

 

These two women work the ring every night as though it could be their last.  There are always little issues, as there are human beings involved, but most of the time these two are so crisp in the ring together.  Their moves work so well together.  Candice has been working the ring five years longer than Io, but that doesn’t show in these two seasoned wrestlers.  Further, these two know each other so well in the ring that it shows when they are one on one and really leaving it out there.

We’ve seen ref bumps before, but I think the two in this match were of the most elegant I’ve ever seen, especially the second one from Shirai flying across the ring the way she did.  There were a lot of fun moments in this match as they hit a lot of great moves, but it was Johnny’s personality was the most exciting in the match.  He was a riot with the ref’s shirt and spazzing the way he did.  I really did expect Candice to win this match, and I’m in shock that she didn’t.  I really thought Io would be drafted to Raw or SD in coming weeks.

Woohoo, Ember Moon is back!  So excited to see her again, though it makes me question the pep talk she got from Mark Henry.  It wasn’t that long again that she thought she’d never wrestle again and said as much on WWE Backstage (RIP), and Mark Henry gave her a pep talk.  That was on May 20th and she’s back now.  Makes me think they were more kayfabe than they liked to claim they were!  I’m thrilled she’s back, and I think she will do great back on NXT.

 

Family Support Doesn’t Help

 

I love O’Reilly and really thought he might win this.  It was close and so beautiful to watch.  I really enjoyed this match because of how they worked it together.  It was beautiful and graceful, the way so few wrestlers achieve.  The back and forth in this match showed just how ready O’Reilly was for this match.  I hope he doesn’t get lost after not winning the strap here.

Normally the last thing I want to see after a PPV is a repeat match, but I could watch these two work the ring together all the time.  There’s just something so lovely in how they move in the ring together.  It’s a chemistry that I wasn’t expecting at all, but was so great.  Not sure they needed to use the blood capsule in Finn’s mouth, but it did help sell that knee and O’Reilly being a viable competitor.

I have no clue why Ridge Holland attacked Adam Cole, especially now as I really thought all or most of UE would be moves to Raw and SD in the impending Draft.  So many questions about that, but the biggest one is where was Cole when he was attacked?  I really would have thought UE would watch their 4th member in his biggest match together backstage.  So why wasn’t Cole with Strong and Fish?

 

Shut Up Wade, I’m Talking!

I felt bad panning NXT TakeOver XXX, but it wasn’t a great TakeOver, and this one wasn’t the best either, but it also wasn’t as bad as XXX.  The first couple matches just didn’t live up to the greatness I really expected of them.  When I think Escobar, who I don’t know, gave a better match than Gargano, of all people!  It was a strange night from the new look and name to the CWC, the LameDome, the rest of the place looking amazing, and there being unmasked people and kids in the audience.