By Frank Hyden
GOOD– Dakota Kai pins Rhea Ripley
This match was pretty good, it was a lot of Ripley showing her power over Kai. The finish came when Mercedes Martinez attacked Ripley while the ref was distracted, leading to Kai getting the finish. Nice match, I enjoyed it. Kai will face NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai at Takeover 30.
GOOD– Bronson Reed pins Shane Thorne
Not a whole lot to this match, other than getting Reed a win. I suppose that’s a good thing but it’s not most people even know who Thorne is.
GOOD– Damien Priest beats Oney Lorcan and Ridge Holland
This was a triple threat match to decide the next guy in the ladder match at Takedown 30 to crown the next NXT North American Champion. Holland looked good in his debut and the protected him by having Lorcan take the pin.
GOOD/BAD– Keith Lee squashes Cameron Grimes
I’m not really a fan of Grimes. He’s okay and all, but they haven’t really done anything with him to make you want to root for him or root for him to get his ass kicked. And that’s exactly what happened here. NXT Champion Keith Lee squashed Grimes here. It gives you some nice highlights of Lee tossing Grimes around but that’s about it.
BAD- Karrion Kross promo
The whole point of the last match was to set this up, Kross yet again calling for a title match. This time he had laid out several wrestlers and garbled out some stuff about destroying Keith Lee. I don’t care for Kross much at all, the whole bugging his eyes out thing doesn’t do anything for me other than make me want to laugh at how much he’s overacting. It’s also hard to take him seriously as a threat because Lee is so much bigger than him. Kross is actually a good size but Lee is massive. Yeah, he’s not ripped or anything close to ripped but you can tell he has big power. Kross is all power but he hasn’t done anything to show he’s more powerful than Lee. Where’s the squash matches with him throwing guys around? All we get is the aftermath of Kross standing over a bunch of guys, including Oney Lorcan, who must have pissed someone off because he gets punked out again.
This isn’t like when Lee fought Adam Cole. Kross is about three times the size of Cole and looks way more intimidating but Cole has the Undisputed Era to interfere. Yeah, it’s still ridiculous to see Lee fighting a small guy like Cole but the chickenshit heel is a time-honored thing in wrestling. Anyway, my point is, I just don’t buy Kross as a legit threat to Lee.
GOOD– Tegan Nox beats Indi Hartwell
I’m a Nox fan so I liked seeing her go over here. Hartwell has potential but I think Nox is a better bet at this point. Hartwell needs a little more seasoning.
BAD/GOOD– Imperium beats The Undisputed Era
The match was secondary, as Pat McAfee was doing commentary. He actually started doing commentary during the Tegan Nox match but this match is the reason he came. McAfee and Cole had a blow-up on McAfee’s podcast, they seemed to squash it, but then McAfee tried heeling it up on commentary. The problem is, Cole is an insufferable ass so I have no idea what the point of McAfee heeling it up is. No one is going to root for Cole, he’s a jerk. And the UE are jerks. That’s the entire crux of their group.
Plus, McAfee much bigger than Cole is. If Cole’s not going to do the heel schtick of cheating and all that, how are they going to do this match? Because it’s obvious they’re building towards a match. They had McAfee trashing Cole with short jokes to the point that Beth Phoenix walked off commentary, and Tom and Mauro both made it clear they didn’t like it. Then, Triple H and Shawn Michaels both came out as Cole confronted McAfee, who at first walked away than went back for more and ended up punting Cole and left him laying.
Imperium won the match but this was all about Cole vs. McAfee. Presumably they’re building towards a match but they’re going to have to figure something out to try to have a good match. We’ll see, though.