One Man’s Wrestling Opinion
NXT Review 9-16
NXT is back on Wednesday night after spending the last two weeks on Tuesday night. With a Takeover on October 4th, we need new challenges for all the belts. Finn Balor, Damien Priest, & Breezango just won the belts so could they lose it this quick? Maybe Breezango but there aren’t any legit tag team contenders to face them. Maybe the Cruiserweight champion Santos Escobar loses the belt or maybe Io Shirai.
Io Shirai vs Shotzi Blackheart Non-Title Match
I really like how Io’s title reign has been. She has been booked strong. She is the champ so she should be. Shotzi looks like she is getting a push so neither can afford a loss here. So I am curious as to why this match is happening. These two had a damn good match with Io winning. So I am wondering what Shotzi gets out of this match. Is it so everyone knows how good she is in the ring and that she should be considered a legit contender? If so then you just wasted a big match that could be on a Takeover. More on that later.
Very good match. Shotzi showed she belongs in the title picture. But what other business did this do? My themes for all the weekly shows are about character building, storylines, and promos before wrestling matches. And I will always be consistent. I give AEW matches the thumbs down when they do this so NXT deserves the same treatment.
Tomaso Ciampa vs Jobber
I love the ultra-aggressive Ciampa. I am still not sure what else he has to accomplish at NXT. Jake Atlas shows up and challenges Ciampa to a match next week. Not sure what the angle is here. I love squash matches when done correctly. It was done correctly here.
Drake Maverick Arriving
Drake is such a good and entertaining character. Who knows if his release was a work or a shoot. You can do a lot with his character. He is teaming up with Killiam Dain in a match against Undisputed Era. I liked this segment. But I do wish his wife would start appearing again. Those were funny skits.
Finn Balor Promo
Clearly, Balor is better suited in NXT because of his body size and type. It was the absolute right decision putting the belt on Balor. Very solid promo by Balor.
Austin Theory vs Kushida
Theory comes out and says he is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. I get the reference but WWE does not have ballots or voting. The old man decides who he wants to put into the WWE Hall of Fame. Theory issues an open challenge. Kushida answers and gets the win.
When I look at Theory I compare him to AEW’s Darby Allin. Both were featured prominently in one of those wrestling shows on Vice. Darby has had a much bigger impact of the two despite dealing with some injuries. WWE made the mistake of putting him on RAW when he was not ready. Then came the allegations of sexual misconduct which further held him back.
I do think he can be a good mid-carder but he is just not ready yet. I could be on board for a Kushida vs Velveteen Dream match.
The Garganos Promo
Some fans have said they are tired of these promos. But I love Johnny Gargano obsessing over his TV. That is what a typical man would do. And he is staying in his heel character blaming Tegan for the broken TV when his wife Candace was the one who broke the TV.
The look on Candace’s face when she realizes her husband could not care less about her talking about Tegan but only cares about his new 100-inch television getting delivered is priceless and so what married couples would do. Taking shots at crooked teeth Thatcher was funny. I love this segment.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Breezango vs Imperium
Good match with 4 really good workers. But again the winner for this match is predictable. With NXT UK now open for business is Imperium going back to NXT UK? So the winner is predictable which I hate in any match.
Breezango should be placeholder champions but where are the other tag teams in this division? We still have Undisputed Era. Are Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan still a tag team? Where is Indus Sher? In my opinion, I need to see at least four tag teams as contenders for a legitimate division. WWE should just merge all the tag teams into one belt and have it defended on all three shows.
Jessi Kamea and Xia Li vs Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter
This was a fun match with 4 women who need some more exposure. I really like Kayden Carter’s image. Here is the thing. WWE needs more female tag teams. What do we have now? Shayna and Nia Jax are the current champions but that partnership is not going to last long. We have the Riott Squad and that’s it.
All of the established tag teams have been broken up. The IIconics while not being a great team they were at least a tag team. Sasha and Bayley are done. Asuka and Kairi Sane are done. Nattie and Lana are not a real team and Lana is going to get abused now because of her husband talking shit about the WWE. So where are we going with this division?
Beth Phoenix mentioned that you never know when a tag team title opportunity is coming. So I have no problem with this match and with Kacy and Kayden winning. I also loved that Xia would not shake hands after the match. Now in comparison. This was the second women’s match on the show and it’s with the lower level of female wrestlers and it was better than a lot of the AEW women’s matches we have ever seen.
I also feel they dropped the ball with Kacy. I am not saying she is main event material. But she was known by American Ninja Warrior. That’s where I first saw her. I would be pushing that.
Tegan Nox Promo
I like this build. They are going to have a match possibly at the next Takeover. I don’t see either winning the Battle Royale and getting a title shot. More on that later. Great build for this match. But no more promos. It’s time to get it on. I could see Candace getting eliminated by Tegan and then pulling her out of the match. We have seen that spot a million times and we will see it again next week.
Drake and Killian vs Undisputed Era
Drake is funny. Killian saying I am not your friend or tag team partner and I am not teaming up with you. Drake no selling it is mad funny. Killian Dane said he is no-showing the match. Drake is getting killed by the Undisputed Era. We get a shot of Killian watching the match from the back.
Finally, Steven Regal approaches Killian and says That is your tag team partner. Are you going to let that happen to him? Killian Dane has lost some weight. So Killian comes out to the ring to watch the match. He throws Drake back in the ring and says just lose and take it like a man. He walks away. Undisputed Era poked the bear and called Killian Dane a Fat Dork. He gets in the ring and destroys Undisputed Era. Bobby FIsh hits Killian with a chair causing the DQ. Drake saved Killian from a chair shot.
Drake gets excited and says we are a tag team and slaps Killian in the chest. Killian lays out Drake with one punch. I do expect them to actually become a team where Killian brutalizes Drake every chance he gets. So I like this.
Jake Atlas Promo Outside The Arena
I love this stuff. I don’t know where they are going with this but I love it. When I first saw Atlas I knew Ciampa was going to attack him. Atlas was saying next week will be different. He was just excited to be in the ring with Ciampa. But after what Ciampa did to him it lit a fire under him.
Ciampa attacks him and says you want to eat at my table boy. Kyle O’Reilly breaks it up along with other security guards, O’Reilly says you are facing each other next week save it for then. Ciampa looks at Atlas and says I will see you next week. Then he looks at O’Reilly and says I will be seeing you too. Great storytelling spot.
NXT North American Title Match: Damian Priest (c) vs Timothy Thatcher
This was a really good match but…. Priest was not going to lose his first title defense. So the predictability kills it for me. As for Thatcher, he seems to lose every big match he has. Finn Balor beat him at the last Takeover. He lost the three-way to get into the North American Title Ladder match. Now this one. His only big win was beating RIddle who was doing the honors before going to the main roster.
So this match did nothing for him.
I have been saying it since AEW started. NXT just needs to do their thing and not try to outdo AEW. But that is exactly what has happened. Despite winning a handful of weeks NXT is not built to defeat AEW on a weekly basis. If Vince wanted to crush AEW he has the talent to do it. He could just send some of the RAW and Smackdown guys on NXT for appearances or permanently for guys they are not pushing. End of story. Then Trips can go back into long term storylines. But out of the four shows I find NXT having the best blend of what I like in my wrestling shows. You might like something different and that’s cool.
Women’s Battle Royal
With another Takeover in a few weeks, none of the main titles have any opponents ready. The closest is Io Shirai because NXT gives their women 2 matches a week. So NXT could have very easily just had a normal # 1 contenders match. Instead, they are going with an 11 women Battle Royal with the winner facing Io. I do expect storylines to form out of this match. It should not be a long match either. I am guessing 20 minutes max. I am not sure who is winning this match but my guess would be either Rhea Ripley or Raquel. Dakota and Candace have had title shots already and Candace has to face Tegan at some point first. I am not sure if I want to see Shotzi face Io again so soon despite the match being really good. I think Raquel could survive with a loss. Rhea Ripley can’t. Unless Rhea is headed to the main roster.
I am so intrigued by this Gauntlet Eliminator Match which is basically just a Royal Rumble that has pinfalls and submissions instead of throwing your opponents to the outside. I like that it is only going to be 5 wrestlers so far and that the intervals will be 4 minutes.
It looks like NXT is going to push some of the lesser wrestlers to the main event. To me, this is brilliant because we know Balor is not losing his first title defense. So why waste a marquee matchup? We only know of three wrestlers who are officially in this match. They are Cameron Grimes, Kushida, and Kyle O’Reilly. Out of these three my pick would be Kushida. I am looking forward to finding out who the other wrestlers will be in this match which would probably be around 30-40 minutes long. There is your counter-programming with Triple H building new stars.