By: Frank Hyden
NXT featured plenty of good long matches tonight. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Dakota Kai beat Ember Moon
Moon did a really good job of selling her injured shoulder early in the match, screaming bloody murder. That fell off after a while, which sucks, but gives her something to work on. They went back and forth for a while trading moves, until Raquel Gonzalez distracted Moon and allowed Kai to take advantage and get the win.
GOOD- Kushida beat Cameron Grimes
This was a really long match but these guys did a nice job of being physical. There was a ref bump that led to Grimes getting a phantom win over Kushida, I don’t know why they did that to protect Grimes, but then the “Zombie Ref”, as they call him, came in to count and Grimes got distracted. This allowed Kushida to put the Hoverboard Lock on and Grimes tapped out.
GOOD- Killian Dain and Drake Maverick vs. Ever-Rise ends in No Contest, Pat McAfee and crew show up
The tag match was just getting started when Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, and the NXT Tag Team Champions Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan showed up and laid them all out. McAfee talked about retiring the banner of the Undisputed Era and ran down the crowd. They then voted but no one else wanted to raise the banner to the rafters so they burned it in a trash can instead and left. They also named themselves the Kings of NXT. As they were leaving, Dain attacked them but they left him laying, with Dunne kicking the SUV door into him and busting his mouth open.
GOOD/BAD- Toni Storm beat Shotzi Blackheart/Shotzi’s tank destroyed
The actual match was pretty good, with Blackheart utilizing her reckless offense. Blackheart was distracted because her tank was stolen by someone. Candice LeRae showed up on the Tron with the tank and that distraction allowed Storm to toll up Blackheart for the win. This is where things took a turn. LeRae ran over the tank in a huge truck and Blackheart was inconsolable. Look, I’m a big Blackheart fan, you could even accuse me of being a fanboy because I love how unique and crazy she is. The hair, the attitude, the mannerisms, all that. I love all that. But the tank thing always struck me as lame. It’s what I would expect from an 8-year old. It’s this little tank thing that when she drives it, her knees are up to her chin, it looks ridiculous. Yeah, she sells it, and I give her credit for going all-in 100% with it but it’s the opposite of cool factor. A friend of mine and her 12 year old son were over and happened to see that part. The kid says “That’s so cheesy” and the mom just rolled her eyes. Again, I give Blackheart all the credit in the world for trying her best with this, but it’s just not a good thing. She shouldn’t have acted devastated by this, she should have been pissed off. She should have been furious that someone messed with her stuff. I guess they’ll get to that part next week but still.
GOOD- Various backstage moments and matches made for the future
Jake Atlas attacked Legado Del Fantasmo in the parking lot with a steel pipe. Timothy Thatcher continued his Thatch-as-Thatch Can stuff until Anthony Greene attacked him. Xia Li asked for a match against Raquel Gonzalez, and Rhea Ripley accepted NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai’s challenge from earlier in the night. I liked pretty much all that.
GOOD- Tommaso Ciampa beat Velveteen Dream
Ciampa went after Dream’s broken arm and broke his cast. Dream finally stopped Ciampa’s momentum but Ciampa beat him with his finishing sequence. I was glad to see this was the main event because it didn’t feature the same guys that are always in the main event every week. I know NXT Champion Finn Balor is injured but my point remains. Just about every episode of RAW has Drew McIntyre and/or Randy Orton in the main event. Just about every episode of Smackdown has Roman Reigns in the main event. It’s just nice to not have the same guys week after week. It’s not about liking or disliking those guys, it’s about giving the spotlight to someone else for a change.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank