By: Frank Hyden
GOOD- The Way (Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory) beat Leon Ruff and Kushida
Ruff took the beating here, with Kushida looking strong and Ruff taking the pin from Theory. Kushida looked the best in this match.
GOOD/BAD- Tommaso Ciampa beat Tyler Rust
I wasn’t feeling this match, at least not like I should have. I don’t know, I’m just not a big fan of Ciampa. Just like I’m not a big fan of Roman Reigns. Now, Ciampa’s a much better wrestler than Reigns is, but I’m just not into his character. I’m sure some of it is the match felt a little too long, maybe some of it was I was more into Cody Rhodes vs. Angelico on AEW Dynamite, I don’t know. Ciampa won, as they continued his feud with Timothy Thatcher.
GOOD- Kyle O’Reilly beat Pete Dunne
These guys fought like hell for a chance to challenge NXT Champion Finn Balor. O’Reilly won in a very long match where they went back and forth and gave it their all. Dunne kept doing his finger-bending/breaking spot which, to me, isn’t much better than throwing punches in that when you do it too often, it exposes that you’re not actually doing anything. The announcers don’t help when they keep screaming that Dunne is breaking his opponent’s fingers. It is a unique spot, though, which I like. Anyway, this match was really good, with O’Reilly winning to set up his rematch against Balor at New Year’s Evil. Side note- Dexter Lumis is the host of that show, so I guess we’re going to get more stupid painting segments with him. Lumis needs someone to play off of, someone to react to his creepiness. It doesn’t have to be a wrestler, it can be one of the backstage interviewers.
BAD/GOOD- Shotzi Blackheart beat Indi Hartwell by DQ
This really wasn’t much of a match because Hartwell hit Blackheart with the trophy shortly into it to force the DQ. It probably would have been better to have that happen behind the ref’s back so that Hartwell got the pin and Blackheart was protected, though. I like this heel group, though, and I really like Blackheart. I don’t care much for the whole tank thing, that’s cringe, but I love her attitude and style.
GOOD/BAD- Karrion Kross beat Desmond Troy
This was just a squash intended to get some heat on Kross and try to make him look like a badass. That’s fine. The BAD is because I really wish Kross would tone down the wide-eyed mugging and snarling he does. Even Scarlett does it during their entrance. It’s not really a huge deal but I do think it would be better if he dialed that back a notch.
GOOD- Toni Storm beat Rhea Ripley
This was a pretty good match. The finish came when Raquel Gonzalez interfered behind the ref’s back, allowing Storm to get the win. One of the best things NXT does that RAW and Smackdown don’t is have different people in the main event. On RAW, every main event has either Drew McIntyre or Randy Orton in it, often times both. On Smackdown, Roman Reigns is always involved in the main event. It gets tiresome to have the same guys in the main event every damn week. I don’t like Orton and Reigns but I do like McIntyre, but it’s still tedious to have those guys in the main event every week. If there’s a title match (tag, women’s, U.S./Intercontinental) that should be in the main event, period. Rather than having some damn brawl we’ve already seen a hundred times main event, it should be a title match.
Anyway, enough ranting, I liked seeing Storm and Ripley main event and the continuation of Ripley’s feud with Gonzalez.
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