SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
July 18, 2018 episode
Dakota Kai vs. Lacey Evans – Solid match but what really stood out was how much Lacey Evans is coming into her own. She is getting better every week in the ring and has really developed a successful persona. Her in the ring heel tactics make her intriguing as she is one of the few female heels on the roster. Besides her tactics, her athleticism is great (hopefully she will land a moonsault one of these days). Dakota Kai was her white meat baby faced self as she fought from the bottom to only mount a short lived comeback that ended in defeat. It seems as though there are plans for Evans in the future to be a feature on the roster as they are prepping her for the role, so far so good.
Kairi Sane vs. Nikki Cross vs. Candice LaRae (#1 Contender to the NXT Women’s Championship): This match was horrible on all sorts of levels. The first one being that the pace of the match and the move sets just seemed off. The chemistry between the participants was not the best. Secondly, none of these ladies even belong in contention to be the number one contender. Kairi Sane lost her last bout to Shayna Baszler as did most recently Nikki Cross. LaRae seems to green and she has not picked up any significant wins to be in the title picture. It just seems too soon to see any of these competitors to be facing Baszler. Unfortunate that Bianca Belair is injured as she would have made a great opponent, but we will have to wait and see as we will watch Sane take on Baszler for the title at Takeover: Brooklyn. Its kind of nice that it will take place a year after the Mae Young Classic where these two initially faced off, but I’m pretty sure the outcome won’t be the same.
Final Thoughts: Very mediocre episode this week. There was a great segment on War Machine as it seems as though NXT is trying to do another roll out for them because it seemed like they were just spinning in circles up until this point. Other than that, this week’s episode was full of promos that were not that compelling and somewhat pointless.
July 25, 2018 episode
Adam Cole vs. Sean Maluta: Overall, this was a good match for Cole to make him look formidable. It was somewhat reminiscent of matches in the past where a superstar faced a jobber and you got to see what made that superstar as they performed their signature moves and showcase their persona. This also went along with the narrative that Cole portrayed at the end of the match during his speech of giving others an opportunity at greatness that he has already achieved. This lead to Ricochet coming out to challenge Cole at NXT: Brooklyn. In true heel fashion, Cole declined the match and left the ring adding more heat to him and anticipation of the possibility of a match between these two. Soon Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong to come out to support Cole only to be greeted by the War Raiders. While trying to leave, the UE was approached by Mustache Mountain. This was the low point of the segment. Seriously, why was Mustache Mountain out there, they just lost cleanly to the UE, so for them to still have a gripe to pick with them is senseless at this point. But it will be interesting to see where this goes between the UE, Ricochet and the War Raiders, one could only imagine some possible matchups for NXT: Brooklyn, hopefully Mustache Mountain won’t be involved
Aleister Black vs. Tomasso Ciapma (NXT Championship Match): This was an awesome match that should have probably taken place at a Takeover event. The intensity as well as the pace of the match was perfect. These were two men who legitimately do not like each other and it showed. The pace of the match was not too fast, but not too slow to where you would get dull. It was great as each competitor took turns going back and forward for control. The clash in styles was spectacular as well as Black delivered hard hitting strikes and moves that we have not seen him perform in a while proving that Ciampa was taking him to the limit. Ciampa on the other hand was very heelish but on top of his game as every time Black put him in a move, he would get right back up instantly and counter. This match had a lot of exciting near pinfalls that got the crowd and engaged as they chanted, “This is awesome…” The icing on the cake was when Johnny Gargano came out to help Black (or more so get revenge on Ciampa) and inadvertently costed him the match by hitting him with the belt that lead to Ciampa picking up the win and the Championship. While Ciampa celebrated, the looks on the faces of the people in the crowd was priceless as they stared on with shock and disbelief. This match told a great story of honor, evil and revenge all at the same time making this one fantastic championship bout.
Kairi Sane/Shayna Baszler Promo: The worst thing about this promo was the performance of Kairi Sane. “I know, and you know” that it was horrible. She kept saying the same thing over and over again while she pounded on her chest and got louder and louder. This promo was just pointless as it didn’t make Sane look stronger, only weaker to where she does not seem like she should be challenging for the Women’s championship as she did not and could not make a strong case.
Final Thoughts: Decent show, great set up for what’s to come. They played it safe with no super over the top action and it seemed like everything was straight to the point and entertaining. Small parts like Candace LaRae approaching Baszler after her promo and the good, but a little too much promo from Bianca Belair that also possibly plays a part in things to come. A very solid show this week.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: 7/11 NXT HITS & MISSES: The Best Adam Cole has looked so far, Bate throws in the White Towel, Gargano continues to be crazed