SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MILLION DOLLAR CORONATION
Sunday at Takeover 36, Cameron Grimes defeated LA Knight to become the new Million Dollar Champion, the man to carry on the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase’s legacy. Grimes cut a great promo celebrating his championship victory. It was really just a set up for Grimes and DiBiase to scream “To The Moon!” and have hundreds of “dollars” from the ceiling.
It was a fun little segment, but I wouldn’t have opened the show with this. Perhaps if it lead into an angle for Grimes, but to kick off a potentially historic NXT with a quick little spot like this seemed odd to me. I would have expected to see this right before the mid-show break. I won’t give it a miss because the segment was okay, but it did seem like a lackluster way to kick off NXT.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
TIMOTHY THATCHER (w/Tommaso Ciampa) vs. RIDGE HOLLAND
A match that could have been on Takeover, if there was room for it of course, Holland and Thatcher have been building their rivalry over the past few weeks. This match certainly isn’t for everyone, but it was right up my alley. A lot of mat work, submission holds and brute strength from both men.
Thatcher, while not a small man, was dwarfed by the larger and more imposing Holland. It’s not often where you view Thatcher as an underdog. He and Ciampa may not win as much as I would like, but I still think they come across as a team not to be messed with.
Holland needed the win, as he’s freshly returned to the brand and needs to be booked strong. His victory served as a way to get Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch back on TV, uniting these four men once again. Well, almost once again. Holland was originally slated to be part of Team McAfee, perhaps in place of McAfee himself, last year.
KACY CATANZARO & KAYDEN KARTER vs JACY JANE & GIGI DOLAN
I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Jane & Dolan. Dolan, the former Priscilla Kelly, was a great signing for the women’s division and she’s starting to come into her own alongside her tag partner.
While they may have lost tonight to Karter & Catanzaro, NXT is putting enough time and investment into the duo where I feel like they’ll be pushed sooner rather than later. While I think it may be too early to compare them to the IIconics, the duo certainly puts off a vibe similar to early-NXT IIconics. Before Peyton Royce and Billy Kay became an incredible comedic act, that is.
After the match, the victors got on top of the announce table and screamed at the announce team that they want the tag titles. I don’t think the announce team can really book that match, ladies. But, I’d love to see them get the opportunity for gold.
KAY LEE RAY vs. VALENTINA FEROZ
Now, I’m always a proponent of trying something new for your gimmick. But, was Feroz hoping that the feathers on her attire may help her float a little lighter and give an advantage against the former NXT UK Women’s Champion? What exactly is she going for with this peacock look?
Ooohhhh. She’s trying to appeal to the NBCUniversal executives by dressing like a Peacock. Got it.
KLR showing up after the Women’s Title match at Takeover was a welcome debut for the majority of fans, we’ve been waiting for her to jump ship to the states for quite some time. This match was a showcase for KLR in what I’ve come to call the “NXT Squash”. It’s not a traditional squash match as the jobber gets more offense in than in most squash matches. I think it benefits the jobber, giving them a little more credibility than just simply losing, but it still makes the winner look imposing and dominating.
KLR as the next NXT Women’s Champion? Yes please.
CARMELO HAYES vs ODYSSEY JONES – BREAKOUT TOURNAMENT FINALS
Have I mentioned how much I love Jones’ throwback attire to Mark Henry’s Nation of Domination days? If you cross Henry and Keith Lee, you get Odyssey Jones. Going into the match tonight, he was my hope to win, though I had a feeling Hayes may go over, as he seems to be more in the mold of what they see as a “superstar”. Jones also has less time in the ring, just starting his career as Hayes has been wrestling for over a decade, he seems like someone you can build around without too much worry about their in-ring work *cough Gonzalez cough*.
The crowd was solidly split behind each man with chants of “Lets go Melo! Odyssey!” as both men put in quite the performance in the finals of the Breakout Tournament.
Hayes busted out the most devastating move in all of wrestling, a roll up pin, to win the match. A bit of a lackluster finish to a bombastic and energetic match and overall tournament. However, I wouldn’t consider it a failure, the breakout tournament was consistently some of my favorite content on weekly NXT TV.
XYON QUINN vs. BOA
Boa has been out of the ring for the better part of two years, lately in the shadows of Xia Li and Mae Ying. Xyon Quinn, the former Daniel Vidot, won after Mae Ying signaled to Boa, distracting him from the match.
I’m not quite sure what this was all about, but I’m hoping that it leads to Mae Ying punishing Boa, unleashing a beast we haven’t seen out of him. If that doesn’t happen, this seemed like real strange booking to me.
HIT ROW vs LEGADO DEL FANTASMA
In six man tag action, the two teams clashed before the bell rang. Legado attacked first, trying to separate Top Dolla from his team mates to take the big man down. A great touch by Legado, the team constantly touting tradition and honor, attacking before the match began proper.
This set the tone for the rest of the match, Legado looking to pull out all the stops to win the match. Top Dolla was the MVP for Hit Row, always on the offensive when he was the legal man. Adonis was the bump machine for the group, Swerve being “the guy”.
A fantastic feud, and a potential addition to Legado del Fantasma, as Electra Lopez, a new comer to NXT, attacked B-Fab with a pipe. This caused the distraction for Swerve, allowing Legado to get the win.
This means that this feud isn’t over, and I am absolutely looking forward to the finale of this feud. Hopefully Hit Row putting Legado in their place.