Shayna Baszler Promo: It was like it picked up right where it left off. Baszler came to the ring as her dominant self really drawing up on both the heat and cheers from the crowd. She continued her bullying ways of addressing all the other ladies in the locker room, especially Nikki Cross. She called her performance last week a fluke that prompted Nikki to come out and make her presence known. As she dared Baszler to try something, you can just see how badly Baszler was seething until she took her shot and became the recipient of a massive beat down. It was good of NXT to make Baszler look somewhat vulnerable after weeks of sheer terror; it makes the division competitive as a whole. I honestly don’t expect for the title to change hands at NXT: Chicago, but its good just to feel like there is a possibility.
TM-61 vs. Enhancement Talent: A hit mainly for direction. The match itself was nothing to write home about, but TM-61 is slowly, but surely, coming along. This week you could see the more they took on a heel persona with their mannerisms and moves in the ring (gauging, etc,) as well as their cocky attitude. They performed in the ring quite well with strong athletic moves (Thorne’s drop kick was spectacular) to go with their newfound philosophy. They even interacted with the jobbers well as it reminded me of matches back on Saturday mornings where the stars would only fight the jobbers on TV. If there is one thing that I would say is holding TM-61 back, it’s their uniforms. They don’t come off in the most heel fashion, not that its detrimental, but it could only help.
Roderick Strong vs. Danny Birch: Great match between two outstanding in the ring performers from a technical sense. It started off strong with some very good classic grappling to where Birch kept getting the best of Strong. Strong soon took over with some aggressive slightly heel tactics. The new bravado works well for Strong as it gives him more personality, something that was lacking from him before. The tides of the match soon picked up to back and forward as each man gained the upper hand. Birch was on top when the Undisputed Era arrived for “support”. Soon Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan came out to even the odds. A big fight broke out and distracted Birch as Strong capitalized with the end of headache for the win. As Strong celebrated, Dunne came in to seek some justice from Strong’s prior actions only to meet the same fate as Birch. Pretty good rivalry thus far, but we know how it’s going to end, no significant titles changes but being entertained all the while.
Ricochet-Velveteen Dream Segment: Good contrasting of two different styles. As Ricochet would describe something, there would be another scene to where the Dream would give a contrasting view. This is a brilliant set up only adding to their feud and battle at the next NXT Takeover. It was also funny to see the Dream’s response as Ricochet talked about how he was eliminated from Tough Enough (priceless!) Even then their styles were analyzed as Ricochet painted the picture of having to struggle in different promotions before arriving here as to where the dream had a less intense process. All in all, it is surely to be one of the better matches on the card by two performers who have been known to elevate any match.
Lacey Evans vs. Kairi Sane (Rubber Match): I’m for one happy to see the matches between these two come to an end (hopefully I am not speaking too soon…), and not because their matches are bad, but because it just seems like we have seen too many of them. There have only been three, but its felt more like five or six. This match was truly one of the better ones as it seems like everything that they were trying to establish in the first two matches came out to fruition in this one. The intensity was there (maybe too much with Sane’s constant screaming) as well as the moves. Even though Sane picked up the win, Evans has shown to have truly improved and is proving to be one of the premier female performers on the roster. I can only imaging a rivalry between her and Bianca Belair.
Tomasso Ciampa Promo: Another great promo from the Ciampa as he once again played off the crowd in amazing fashion. You could tell that he improvised some of his speech, which drew heat in every way imaginable. He let the crowd get their jeers in as he just relished in the hate. But he took it up a notch when he got down to business and talked about his ongoing feud with Johnny Gargano. The way that he twisted the events and painted himself to be the victim was a thing of beauty. All of this prompted Gargano to come out and as a fight ensued we got a glimpse of their street fight at NXT Takeover: Chicago as they fought in and out the ring, trying to tear the other one apart. If this along with their past matches and brawls is any indicator, this is going to be a fight for the ages.
None, another great week.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: NXT HITS & MISSES 5/30: Aleister Black promo, Kai vs. Baszler, EC3 vs. Aichner, Bianca Belair, Ricochet vs. Dijak