By: Frank Hyden
NXT had a special “Super Tuesday” edition because of the NHL Playoffs. It was kind of cool, but also not at the same time. More good than bad, though. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Breezango and Isiah “Swerve” Scott beat Legado Del Fantasmo
There was some really good action, as would be expected from these six, that concluded with Fandango and Swerve standing on a pallet at the top of a forklift and diving off into the ring on all three Legado members. Crazy spot and an exciting match.
GOOD- Candice LeRae beats Kacy Catanzaro
Catanzaro showed off her impressive agility but LeRae was just too much and she beat her with a curb stomp. Earlier in the night they had another segment where Tegan Nox talked about how Candice is her sister and she hopes that she can fix their friendship by sitting down and talking it out so after the win, LeRae cuts a promo saying that she’s willing to talk to Tegan over a glass of wine.
GOOD- Timothy Thatcher beat Bronson Reed
Reed has apparently dropped the “Thicc Boi” nickname in favor of “The Colossal”. Probably an improvement, at least it is in my eyes. Anyway, this was a hard-hitting slugfest that ended when Austin Theory attacked Reed behind the ref’s back and Thatcher was able to put on the Fujiwara armbar to get the submission. Nice win for Thatcher and we’ll see if Theory can make waves back on NXT.
GREAT/GOOD/BAD- Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor, Adam Cole, and Tommaso Ciampa 4-way 60 minute Ironman match ends in a draw
First off, all due respect to these four men for going 60 minutes. Having four of them in there helped a bit as they were able to keep the action going. I said on Twitter during the match that this would have been better as a 30 minute match, though, because it dragged a bit in the middle. Not necessarily for the wrestling, though there was some slower moments, but because of the length of the match. There also being four people involved took away some from the story they could tell. Every few minutes there was a different matchup taking place.
The ending was also shit. I get why they did it, they’re on Tuesday next week as well, but to have over half the show devoted to this match and not give a real finish is just crap. It doesn’t help that they spent so much time talking about how “We’re going to crown a new champion tonight!” and then you do that finish. I’m not saying anyone is going to swear off watching NXT or anything like that, but I do think this wasn’t handled the right way. Armchair booker, I know, but I think going 30 minutes with this match would have been better because then you could have also had a match or segment with NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai, or Dakota Kai, or NXT North American Champion Damian Priest. They did have a quick segment with Rhea Ripley challenging Mercedes Martinez to a cage match and Martinez accepting.
But even if they still went 60 minutes with the match, the announcers should have addressed the possibility of a tie, certainly towards the end of the match. I know WWE thinks that’s tipping your hand on the finish, but that’s a good thing for one, and for two it’s done all the time in sports. If a football game is close late in the 4th quarter, one of the announcers usually says something like, “We might be heading to overtime here.” Instead, with 50 seconds to go and all 4 men tied at 1 fall, they had Wade Barrett saying “This has to be it! We’ve got a new champion!”
Again, I’m not saying this was a huge deal, I understand this is episodic TV and the point is to get you watch every week so having a “cliffhanger” ending to the show isn’t a bad thing (despite the BAD I gave it), I just think they could have handled it better.
I suppose one of the reasons I feel this way as opposed to when regular shows have a cliffhanger is that you always look at wrestling differently. At least I do. I try to look at wrestling like a sport. The NFL wouldn’t have you wait a week to finish the Super Bowl if they were tied at the end of regulation. I know WWE is more entertainment than sport but it’s kind of hard to not feel this way.
I think another reason this didn’t sit well is that when they do a cliffhanger in a regular TV show, the next episode picks up literally right where the last episode ended. They don’t pick the story up days later, at least good shows don’t do that. There’s thousands of TV shows out there, though, so maybe some of them have done that.
To go Paul Heyman and say this for the third time (though not in a row), this wasn’t a huge deal for me. Yeah, it kind of sucks and I could see some people being really upset but even then, you’re going to tune in next week because to see how it finishes.
I don’t see anyone reading this who hasn’t watched the show or read the results, but just for the record, the finish was that all 4 men were tied at 1 fall apiece. Ciampa hit Gargano with Angel Wings but then Balor hit Ciampa with a top rope stomp and pinned him. Then, as Balor celebrated in the ring, Cole hit Balor with a running knee and pinned him as time expired. So Balor and Cole had 2 falls each, which prompted William Regal to announce a 1-on-1 match between Balor and Cole next week to determine the NXT Champion.
This was a good match and all four men deserve respect for going 60 minutes. Regardless of whether I liked the finish or not, this was a big moment for NXT and they should continue the momentum next week, as I imagine Balor and Cole will have a really good match to determine the next champion.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank