By: Frank Hyden
GOOD- Karrion Kross relinquishes the NXT Title
Kross suffered a separated shoulder when he beat Keith Lee at TakeOver XXX, and he’s not cleared to wrestle so he gave up the belt. Later in the evening, William Regal announced a 4-man 60 minute Ironman match to determine the new champion. The four involved are Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor, Tommaso Ciampa, and Adam Cole. There’s no favorite among those four so I think the odds are equal because none of those four are going up to the main roster. They tried it with Finn and he didn’t fit in so I can’t see any of those guys on RAW or Smackdown. They probably fit better and will be used better on NXT anyway.
GOOD- Breezango beats Imperium to become the NXT Tag Team Champions
I’ve never been a big fan of Imperium. They’re good wrestlers but I’ve just never connected with them. On the other hand, I like Breezango so I was glad to see them become champs.
BAD- Tommaso Ciampa squashes Jake Atlas
They just shit all over Atlas with this squash. Ciampa beat him in a few minutes, totally dominating him. Then beat him up until they had to stretcher him out, then kept beating him on the stretcher. Are they trying to turn Ciampa heel? Otherwise, what’s the point of having him crush Atlas like this? Who did Jake Atlas piss off to be treated like this?
GOOD- Shotzi Blackheart beats Mia Yim
Before the match, Robert Stone (with Aliyah) was trashtalking Yim before Blackheart ran over “Suitman” Stone with her tank for the third time in recent months. I’ve heard talk that Mia Yim is one of the members of Retribution and with her losing here, I can see that. I love the craziness and energy that Blackheart has. She’s obviously still green but she’s learning and has had some good matches. Most importantly, she’s believable. It doesn’t seem like she’s trying to be something, she’s just showing who she is.
GOOD- Santos Escobar beats Isiah “Swerve” Scott to the retain the WWE Cruiserweight Title
This was a fast-paced and exciting match. No surprise there. Scott was getting the advantage and nearly won but Escobar put on a loaded mask and hit Swerve with a headbutt and got the pin. It bothered me that the announcers completely played dumb with the mask. As Escobar put it on, you could clearly see him messing around with a hard spot in the front and making sure it was in the right spot. Then when he blasted Scott with it, Scott went stiff and motionless to sell it. It just made them look stupid because the camera was right there as he did all this. That aside, Wade Barrett has been a special guest on commentary and I think he did a good job. Mauro Renallo isn’t here for the show, which sucks because I really like his announcing but Wade has done a good job.
BAD- Kyle O’Reilly beats Drake Maverick
The match was fine. It was clear that Kyle was going to win, as Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish were at ringside. That’s fine, the match was good enough. But then Killian Dane comes out and beats the hell out of everybody. And he made them all look so tiny. Dane is a big guy but this doesn’t help the perception that these guys are too small to be on the main roster. They were feeding him and bouncing off him like pinballs. Why would they have what’s supposed to be the top group on NXT doing? Also, The Undisputed Era all worked as heels here, and Cole had talked earlier in a pretape in a very heelish way. What the hell was the point of having Pat McAfee come in and cut a heel promo to try to build hype for his match with Cole?
Why wasn’t Cole out there with the rest of UE? I’m sure the answer was they didn’t want him selling like that for Dane. Well then, the rest of UE shouldn’t have been doing that because it makes them look like second-rate chumps. Which that also makes Cole look bad for hanging out with those guys. It was bad enough when they did that lame comedy shit where Strong was afraid of Dexter Lumis and the vignettes of him running down the street and all that. Now you’re having him do this too? I don’t know, maybe I’m overthinking it but I didn’t care for this.
GOOD- Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez beats Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley
This match was about Gonzalez and Ripley mixing it up and they did a good job teasing it. This was a pretty good match overall. Mercedes Martinez came out and attacked Ripley, setting up Gonzalez hitting her with a big boot and slam (which Rhea sold great) to get the win. This was a good way to end the show, getting across the power of Gonzalez and it furthers the feud between Ripley and Martinez.
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