NXT really is in a nice groove and is doing a good job in setting things up post-TakeOver. There was a big six-man tag match set for tonight, a showdown between Dakota and Mercedes and Bronson looked to defeat Theory in order to get another crack at Johnny. Those three things were definitely enough to look forward to for this episode and we shall see what else NXT had for us this week.
Dakota Kai vs Mercedes Martinez
This was a nice little match here and I liked that Raquel accompanied Dakota to the ring for this one. I will also say that Mercedes has one of my favorite entrances in NXT right now because it just screams everything you need to know about her. This was a solid back and forth match between these two and both looked good here. Dakota did look to be in trouble at certain points but she would fight back. Eventually, Mercedes would go after Raquel and she would not stand for it. Raquel would attack Mercedes during the match and it would be thrown out. Raquel really knows how to put the beating on someone because she did not hold back on Mercedes here. I will continue to say that NXT has done a brilliant job in building Raquel to be this dominant force. She would throw Mercedes everywhere and talk trash in both English and Spanish while she did it. I am totally looking forward to the eventual match between Mercedes and Raquel.
Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart Backstage
I thought this would be your typical interview segment but it ended up being different. Shotzi and Ember spoke about their upcoming slate of matches and how they are not overlooking their opponents tonight. They would then have flowers delivered to them and Franky Monet would come in to introduce herself. I like that Franky is taking the time to introduce herself to all the women in the locker room and she would reveal who sent the flowers. She would say that Dexter Lumis was the one and I loved Shotzi and Ember’s reactions to it. Shotzi truly has brought out the personality that was missing in Ember and it is great to see.
Cameron Grimes Shopping
Grimes was in a jewelry store and wanted to get something for someone he cares about, himself. I love how he basically said money is no option and he wanted the jeweler to show him everything. Grimes is money and we will see how this story concludes later in the night.
Grizzled Young Veterans In-Ring
GYV were in the ring and they had a few things they wanted to get off their chests. They do not like that MSK seems to be ducking them and want to face them for the tag titles. Gibson really is stellar on the mic but that does not mean that Drake is a slouch by any means. They did well here and it would get even better when Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher would appear. Ciampa agreed that MSK should be defending the titles but it should be against them. He would then remind them of how GYV beat them the last time they faced off and that Thatcher has been watching tape on them. I loved how Thatcher broke down what he has seen and this would lead to a scrap between the two. I would imagine we will get a tag match between these two to eliminate who may be next for MSK.
Killian Dain & Drake Maverick Backstage
This was great and I love how skeptical Drake is that Dain will not betray him. He used history to explain why but Dain continued to reassure him that he will not do that. This has been a nice wrinkle to their relationship and does show that Dain cares a bit more about his partnership with Drake than he leads on. Drake still is unsure but will go ahead with the tag match against Imperium.
Tian Sha Vignette
I have no idea what this was or what XIa Li said because she spoke in her native tongue. I will say it was interesting but I could not get the image of the music video for Bohemian Rhapsody out of my head when I saw this. This wasn’t the best I have seen from Tian Sha since their debut.
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott In-Studio
I like that Swerve has his own place to cut promos instead of somewhere backstage. The studio fits him and I dug this promo on Leon Ruff that he gave. He said he wasn’t even mad at what Ruff did and was actually proud of him. That is something he hasn’t seen from him and he digs it. He spoke about what Ruff had to say last week and said they can settle things in a falls count anywhere match. A graphic would appear to confirm the match and that should be a really good one.
Toni Storm vs Zayda Ramier
Toni cut a promo on Zoey Stark prior to the match in the ring and pretty much took credit for her being in the spotlight due to their match at TakeOver. She also said she isn’t done with her and plans to show her what she can expect from her in this match with Zayda. The match itself was looking like a pretty standard squash match until Zoey would come out. Toni would get cocky and did not hit Zayda with a Storm Zero when she had the chance and that would bite her in the butt after Stark came out. Toni was clearly distracted and that was all Zayda needed to knock Toni from the top and hit quite the impressive Shooting Star Press for the win. This was very much like what happened with Leon Ruff when he burst onto the scene in NXT and I will say that Zayda really covered some ground with the SSP. I haven’t seen one hit from that far since Ricochet did it. The upset was quite the shocker and I am sure Toni will not be taking this lying down.
Legado del Fantasma Promo
Strong promo by Legado here as they spoke about their opponents for the night. Santos is not happy that KUSHIDA is champion and plans on sending a message to him in the main event. Mendoza and Wilde feel the same way and plan to send a message to MSK as well because they want the next crack at them. I really love Legado because it is clear that Santos is the leader but he doesn’t treat Wilde and Mendoza as his subordinates and rather more like equals. It really brings up their value in the eyes of fans as more of a threat rather than someone with two lackluster henchmen. Strong promo from them and the main event should be a banger.
LA Knight Promo
I really dig Knight’s style of promos because they really stand out from the rest in NXT. He spoke about his victory over Dexter Lumis and how he knows that Indi Hartwell has eyes for him. He really knows how to properly brag about things without going too over the top. He would leave and I thought that was it but I was wrong. Ever-Rise appeared and they wanted their own interview and I loved how McKenzie cut them off before even entertaining the idea.
Bronson Reed vs Austin Theory
This match was a lot of fun and I loved how Indi was just depressed over seeing Lumis “send” flowers to Shotzi and Ember and I am sure it will eventually be revealed that it was either Johnny or Candice that did that. She did not change her emotion at all while she was out there and it was perfect. The match itself between these two was rather good and that was never a doubt considering how good they are. Bronson really seems to be growing more and more and he is starting to really look like the guy I thought could be a breakout star in NXT. Really good back and forth and Dexter Lumis would eventually come out because he wanted to see Indi. Indi was start walking away but Lumis continued to go after her. I loved how she told him that he talks too much and his slight confusion over that was great. Lumis would push Indi out of harm’s way and would eat the strike that was about to hit her. Bronson would end up winning here and earns another shot at Johnny and the North American Championship. Really fun stuff here and the Lumis/Indi stuff continues to be gold.
MSK & KUSHIDA Backstage
This segment was a lot of fun and you can tell how giddy MSK are to be teaming with KIUSHIDA. I would imagine that KIUSHIDA was a big influence on them when he was killing it in NJPW and Queen would even inform me of a tweet KUSHIDA sent out about a talk he had with his former tag partner Alex Shelley. Shelley told him that these kids were the future and that he should look after him. KUSHIDA would uphold that and believes they can change the game for tag teams. I agree with that and I think NXT struck gold by signing them when they left Impact. The segment was fun and they are ready for their match. Also, MSK are technically still the PWG, Pro-Wrestling Guerilla, tag team champs and I will be interested to see how PWG handles that when they eventually make their return which is something I am hopeful for because they are a great promotion out of California.
The Way Backstage
The Way are clearly not happy with Theory losing to Bronson and they all have their scapegoats for who is at fault. Candice blames Shotzi and Ember and I liked how quick they turned it on Indi to do something. They clearly can feel her escaping their grasp and are trying to do whatever they can to bring her back to the Way. Indi would walk off and the rest of the Way would follow.
Imperium vs Killian Dain & Drake Maverick
This was a good match but I think it was more about the story than the ring work. The story continues with Drake not trusting Dain and has the expectation of him betraying him to join Wolfe in Imperium. That story played out nicely in this match that was pretty good. The back and forth was solid and I like how Drake has slowly and slowly been treated as a legitimate opponent in the ring since he has been with Dain. I liked how Wolfe and Dain each traded moments with each other and how Wolfe had the chance to strike Dain with a chair but could not do it. Barthel did not like that and instructed him to do so but the moment passed them by. The match would continue and Imperium would eventually win. They would do their pose on the entrance ramp and were not quite in sync with it. It would seem that Imperium needs WALTER to come put them back into place because they are clearly not in sync at the moment because of Wolfe’s past with Dain.
Pete Dunne Promo
Dunne cut a promo backstage and pretty much talked about how he wants to go after a title in NXT. He did not specify which one but would talk about each title that is in NXT for him to possibly go after. I do think it will only be a matter of time before he is a champion again and the question is just which title it will be.
Cameron Grimes Shopping Part 2
This was just flat out hilarious and the payoff I have been wanting to see. Grimes finally found something he liked in the jewelry store and it was quite the nice-looking watch. He bragged about how much it cost when a familiar voice would be heard. Ted DiBiase would flash his more expensive watch and would let out his trademark cackle before leaving. Grimes was left seething and I loved every moment of this.
Robert Stone Brand vs Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
This was supposed to be a tag match but that would not happen as Shotzi and Ember were jumped by Candice and Indi after more gifts were delivered to them. This was quite the beating too and both women took some shots from Candice and Indi. Shotzi took the biggest shots though because of course she would. I will also take a stab and say that Candice was the one to bake those cupcakes because she is the known baker in NXT. Robert Stone celebrated in the ring but the referee had to grab a title from his hands because they did not win anything. It would be revealed that the tag title match for next week will now be a street fight and that should be awesome. I am sure we will see Shotzi pull out something crazy because she has a knack for it in these types of matches.
Adam Cole Interview
Cole is just perfect slime in NXT and it is amazing to see because he is such a nice guy outside of his NXT character. He was interviewed about how he felt after his match with Kyle O’Reilly and he said he feels fine. He also doesn’t think Kyle is ready for the main event like fans think he is and I love how he will not acknowledge Kyle as anything more than that guy that was in the Undisputed Era. He also doesn’t regret disbanding the UE and he has his sights on eventually facing Karrion Kross for the title. Cole was great here and then the camera would pan out to reveal that Kyle was watching the interview on a screen in the CWC. Seems like Kyle thought he was rid of Cole but knows that is not the case. I am sure we are heading for another match between Kyle and Cole and NXT has quite the job in selling that one.
Diamond Mine Vignette
I legit thought that this was a commercial and not something for NXT. It was until I looked online that I saw that this was in fact a vignette for some debut in NXT. I know some have pointed to this being a sign Tessa Blanchard is coming but I don’t think that because there was a lot of MMA stuff in this and that is not her schtick at all. The word is that this could be an MMA style group and that could be interesting to see in NXT.
Legado del Fantasma vs MSK & KUSHIDA
This match was a ton of fun and a great main event. The action was fast and it did not let up from the opening bell to the final one. The back and forth was solid and Legado worked well as a team but so did MSK and KUSHIDA. You could just tell how excited MSK were to share the ring with KUSHIDA and the same could be said for KUSHIDA about MSK. Legado would end up taking control by isolating Wes as they took out Nash and Santos took out KUSHIDA by powerbombing him through the announce table. Wes did a great job in fighting them off but he would eat a lot of damage. Nash was able to finally come in for the tag and fought hard but the numbers were too much. KUSHIDA tried as well but would eat a Santos’ finisher and then Nash would eat the finisher by Wilde and Mendoza. Legado would win and stand tall with the gold to close NXT. I will say that the sight of Legado draped in gold was quite pleasing because it works well with their gear.
Kiss My Grits!
Overall, this was another fun episode of NXT. The matches were great and they are doing a great job in building the feuds in NXT. Grimes’ interaction with DiBiase was money, pun intended, and I like Cole’s interview. The opening match was solid and the beatdown by Raquel on Mercedes was great as well. The main event was good and help set the tone that MSK has challengers everywhere that are coming after their tag titles. The Way have their hands full with Bronson, Lumis, Ember and Shotzi and we shall see how the tag title match plays out next week. All in all, great showing by NXT this week.