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Dusty Cup – Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Karter
I have to hand it to Kacy & Kayden, they really looked like a solid and cohesive team. Going into this matchup, there was no question that they were the underdogs. Two undercard wrestlers going against the likes of Kai & Gonzalez wouldn’t usually have a showing like this. But they have been slowly building them up over the weeks to a point where the audience could believe that they may just squeak out a win. They’ve shown so much heart, like Kacy diving off of the scaffolding during this match.
Unfortunately, heart doesn’t usually overcome pure power. Unless it’s a Takeover, of course! Kai & Gonzalez advance to the finals.
Leon Ruff vs Austin Theory
Ruff has been feuding with “The Way” for the last five years. I mean two weeks. Three months?
Time is such a weird thing during a pandemic.
I wouldn’t say this feud has grown stale for me quite yet, but it’s starting to get there. Ruff, while very talented, is clearly not going to be positioned as a top star. They aren’t going to get behind him as a star. All four members of The Way will be. I’m hoping after NXT Takeover Vengence, this is the final nail in the coffin and Theory & Gargano can move on to bigger and better.
The match itself was well told. Ruff came off as that scrappy underdog with a mountain to climb to win. Ruff played his part perfectly when he had Gargano ejected after pretending he was hit. He played Gargano’s own game and turned it against him, a la Eddie Guerrero. Without any external distraction – could Ruff put Theory away? No. Of course not.
Further proving my point that Ruff needs to move on to a different feud and allow Theory to flourish and grow.
After the match, Dexter Lumis continued to be as creepy as possible by ripping out Theory’s hair and sniffing it. I’m… I’m not going to spend time analyzing that. People get paid a lot more than me to analyze those types of issues, professionally.
Mystery Woman Backstory
YES! YES! YES! I’m not chanting for Daniel Bryan. I’m chanting for this story, vignette and the incredible cartoon during this segment!
I’m a tabletop RPG gamer, I love storytelling and fantasy. This is not a story I feel like I would usually want in wrestling. A thousands year old woman? Mentoring Boa and Xia Li? But the more I wanted to know more. Yes, this is far beyond what I would have liked to have seen in NXT a year ago. But with this new NXT in the COVID era where they are trying new things – you know what, give me more of this! Suspend your disbelief and just go along for the ride. As Vince might say, “this is some cool sh!t”
Dusty Cup – Lucha House Party vs. Legado del Fantasma
The Pinata vs. The Kingpin, LHP representing the traditional colorful culture of Lucha with Legado representing the dark side of Lucha Libre. Both believing they are correct in what Lucha Libre should be, while the other is dead wrong.
Say what you will about LHP and how much they’ve been defined down on the main roster. In NXT, they are given some time to shine. No, it doesn’t say much when RAW jobbers are going 5+ minutes with your top tag teams. But, in a bubble, they have pulled off some impressive matches in this short NXT stint. This was no different. A high-flying luchador slobberknocker. All of the flippy stuff you’d expect out of these two teams
Legado del Fantasma was the right choice given their story over the past few months. MSK came out after their win, trash talking and getting the audience hyped for their match next week. I have to say, I like them on the mic. Extremely charismatic and captivating.
Dunne, Lorcan & Burch Hit The Ring
The three bad boys of NXT came to the ring and called Finn Balor out after making fun of snapping his fingers last week. Finn answered the call and announced that the two will fight for the title at Takeover Vengence Day.
Onn This Dayyy I See Clearlllyyyyyy — Edge made his NXT Debut! The Grizzled Veteran put the passion of NXT over, especially the passion and fire of Dunne and Balor. He spoke about how NXT gave him his passion back. He also said that his Royal Rumble win allows him to challenge any champion in the company.
When he said that, I literally jumped out of my chair. Edge might be my all time favorite performer. I love the man, Adam Copeland. Edge was the first character I really latched onto as a kid, and I’ve loved how he’s changed his character over the years. From the goofy Edge with his buddy Christian to the Rated R Superstar, I’ve been on this journey with him the entirety of my wrestling fandom.
I would need to become a mason after how many bricks would fill my pants if Edge was to challenge for the NXT title. I don’t know if any other Legend could do it justice. Adam Copeland would carry that title like a champion, put so many eyes on the product, and help educate every single performer in the locker room – man and woman. Please let this happen.
Gargano Hates Wheels. Errr, Curses. Gargano Hates Curses.
Gargano was being interviewed backstage by a new backstage interviewer. She told him that Regal announced that he would defend his North American title against Kushida at Takeover and Gargano flipped out. She said the “K” word, the curse! The curse! As they cut to commercial, he was bringing her to Regals office, essentially calling her “fake news” without using those words.
Back from the break, Gargano knocked on Regals door with the new announcer and Kushida answered. He said Regal was busy, then Gargano attacked him. Regal could be heard trying to stop them, but it wasn’t until refs stepped in that he phsyically stepped in too.
Totally down with this, I want the Ruff/Kushida/The Way angle to finally end.
Jessi Kamea vs. Toni Storm
I sincerely hope that Kamea can win a match relatively soon so she can afford the rest of her ring attire.
Kamea may have gotten some offense in to start the match, but that didn’t last very long as Storm quickly got the upper hand. For all of Kamea’s shortcomings as a relatively newbie in the ring, I feel like she looked better than Storm at times. Storm may have the charisma and look to be a star, but her shortcomings have seemed to shine through lately.
Mercedes Martinez and Io Shirai came for Storm, ending the match in DQ. I expected this to be a quick squash, but it turned into story advancement. So, I’m all for it.
NXT Cruiserweight Title – Santos Escobar vs. Curt Stallion
On 205 live months back, Stallion won a battle royal for a shot at the Cruiserweight title which finally took place tonight. Peering over the action, Scarlett looked on from a nearby platform reminding Escobar that Karrion Kross is near.
I really like Curt Stallion. I’m not sure what to make of his character just yet, but I don’t hate it. The gimmick can come later, fact of the matter is that he looks at home and as natural in the ring as the best of them. I think I might have liked him to look just a bit more dominant even if he still lost, but that’s just a nitpick really. Overall, this was a heck of a match and I think it established Stallion as a player in NXT.
Karrion Kross made his way to the ring, as we expected. He took out Wilde and Mendoza before stepping to their leader. Kross said to Escobar that they have an evergrowing problem and the solution was the gift of time. More time to think about the inevitable. He shoo’d Escobar away and told him to run along. Escobar actually backed down and walked out of the ring with his tail between his legs. Kross might not be able to challenge for the Cruiserweight title, as he is 50lb too heavy. But, I cannot wait to see them actually come to blows. A sure styles clash, from two excellent performers.
Kross Confronts A Legend
Karrion Kross walked right up to Edge in the parking lot, saying that he shouldn’t need to worry about Dunne or Balor as he will be the next NXT Champion. Edge said that he should keep his mouth shut, or it might be motivating for him to come back…
Will Edge be a frequent player on NXT? Setting up two potential angles? Please!
Verdict: YES! I mean, HIT!
Dusty Cup – Undisputed Era (Strong/Cole) vs. Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa
Usually, I have an idea of which team may win. Here, I was split nearly down the middle leaning 51% Undisputed Era, 49% Thatcher/Ciampa to win. Even then, I was questioning it back and forth.
This was a much more plodding pace than nearly every other match tonight, but that played right into the catch-wrestling style that Thatcher & Ciampa have been using as of late. Thatcher & Ciampa worked extremely well as a tag team too, not showing any signs of a fledgling team that I could see.
Undisputed Era being eliminated out of the Classic raises a lot of questions. What is next for UE?