SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE – LEON RUFF vs. ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT
While this may seem like an odd match to have as a falls count anywhere, I’m actually okay with giving undercard wrestlers gimmick matches from time to time. NXT usually reserves the gimmick matches for feuds higher on the card than this, and it’s nice to see two guys show what they can do with an added stipulation.
Finally, after a little over a year on NXT TV, Swerve finally feels like he has settled into and feels comfortable with his character. Mean, cold, callused and calculated, Swerve has been playing a perfect mid-card heel. With a little more time in the character and proper booking, we could see this act in the North American or potentially the NXT Title scene. When Io Shirai first turned heel, I said “Heel Io is the best Io.” Heel Swerve is the best Swerve. In WWE, anyway.
Ruff spent the majority of the match doing exactly what he should have been, getting his butt whooped. However, when the moment called for it he pulled out some incredble offense, including a reverse hurricanrana to the outside and a crucifix bomb from the top rope. Oh yeah, and a flying cross body off of some scaffolding, aiming for Swerve but into the hands of AJ Francis, a member of Swerve’s entourage according to Vic Joseph. That interference led to Swerve’s victory.
I gotta say, I didn’t think I would be as into this match as I was. Ruff played a perfect underdog to this new ruthless Swerve.
ASHER HALE vs. CAMERON GRIMES
Lemme tell you a little story about a man named Grimes. He’s stackin’ money, stackin’ money. Now he’s stackin’ wins on that money!
Asher Hale, while I don’t know a thing about him, really impressed me in this short matchup. He has a great look, moved around the ring incredibly smooth and bumped around very well for Grimes.
GRIZZLED YOUNG VETS vs. TOMASSO CIAMPA & TIMOTHY THATCHER
James Drake can still talk! Ciampa and Thatcher have matching jackets and ring attire! So many surprises before the bell even rang.
I am so enamored with the duo of Thatcher and Ciampa. Two grizzled vets who have so much mutual respect for one another they’ve finally formed a cohesive alliance. They’ve been one of my favorite parts of NXT as of late.
Their in-ring styles are so similar to GYV that you knew this was going to be a great match from the get go. No, definitely not a 5-star classic. But certainly an entertaining TV tag match with some great wrestling.
FALL AND PRAY TO THE PAISLEY CHAMPION
Why, oh why would you wear a paisley vest if your name is Karrion Kross? Paisley doesn’t invoke fear into my heart. Could you imagine Stone Cold cutting a promo in a paisley vest? Could you imagine Kevin Owens in paisley trunks?
Now, it was a nice vest don’t get me wrong. But totally not something that I feel like a badass such as Karrion Kross should wear.
Oh. And then Kyle O’Reilly came to the ring in an Easy-E shirt, a plaid overshirt and a brown fedora. What is up with these fashion choices tonight?
…what’s up with my fascination with them?
KOR challenged for the NXT Championship as Pete Dunne came to the ring and laid his claim to the title. Finn Balor then made his return to NXT for the first time in weeks to lay his claim to a rematch for the title by punching Cross in the face, leading to all four men brawling. Security needed to separate all of the competitors.
I’m kind of sick of having all of the possible challengers come to the ring at the same time and lay claim to a championship but, hey, whatever. WWE will never stop doing this. I’m hoping this doesn’t lead to a fatal four way and to a clear, single challenger.
Verdict: Mostly HIT
ZAYDA RAMIER vs. SARRAY
Two impressive new competitors in the NXT women’s division facing off in friendly competition. Sarray has been billed as the greatest thing since sliced bread (number 2?) and a win over Zoey Stark. Ramier has also entered the division to some fanfare and a win over Toni Storm. This was to show off the two women’s talents and further introduce them to the audience.
Sarray got an hearty win over Ramier here, but wow did both women look fantastic. Ramier put her over like a million bucks, and Sarray proved that she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the women’s division to come.
After the match, they were shown backstage congratulating one another and showing respect when Toni Storm went to attack. She was intercepted by Zoey Stark and some refs before the attack and backed off. Wonder if we are going to see an alliance form between these three new talents?
JAKE ATLAS vs. LA KNIGHT
LA Knight might have an absolutely awful name, but he is probably my favorite thing on NXT TV right now “and that is just a fact of life”. He has the charisma and the chops on the mic that few people actually possess. A solid talent in the ring, he could easily hold a “Miz-like” position in the WWE for years to come.
Jake Atlas still exists, so that’s a good thing. Another great talent in the ring, he just needs to find a character and a personality to latch on to.
This was a decent matchup, clearly designed to put LA Knight over even further. Which is fine by me, I’m all in on Mr. Knight.
STREET FIGHT FOR NXT WOMENS TAG CHAMPIONSHIPS – THE WAY vs. SHOTZI BLACKHEART & EMBER MOON
While I need to give these ladies a lot of credit for putting on a physical matchup, it didn’t do a whole lot to capture me or elevate the women’s tag titles. How can you determine who the best tag team is in a matchup that doesn’t include tag rules?
It was a lot of high spots for the sake of high spots. While I am ecstatic that women’s wrestling has gotten to the point that they are main eventing and pulling off matches like this, with bodies through tables and ladders.
I am also glad to finally see LaRae with a title around her waist, I just wish it was in a more traditional matchup.