SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RODERICK STRONG vs. KUSHIDA – NXT CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Another “Big Money Match” according to Vic Joseph on commentary, but does anyone actually consider a Roddy Strong match a big money match? Roddy is a great talent, don’t get me wrong. But he still hasn’t won me over as the top guy in a faction. That said, I have to give Diamond Mine credit as they have started to look much stronger as of late with the additions of The Creed Brothers and Ivy Nile. As Diamond Mine continues to gain momentum, I’m hoping my opinion of Strong changes. Assuming he’s a major part of that of course.
Kushida’s reign as Cruiserweight champion seemed like a flash in the pan, though he was champion for over 155 days going into the match tonight. Rumors of Diamond Mine being a way to elevate the Cruiserweight division were making the rounds a couple months back, so I was expecting to see Kushida’s reign come to an end tonight. Usually, I don’t condone the entire stable getting involved in a title match. But it worked here, giving Diamond Mine a bit of heat coming out of this title match. A good opening matchup for week 2.0 of NXT 2.0.
Greyson Waller came out and challenged for the title next week. Curious to see how Waller does on his own in singles action. Outside of that, the matchup doesn’t necessarily excite me as of yet.
KAY LEE RAY vs. AMARI MILLER
Amari Miller may have gotten her own behind handed to her by Kay Lee Ray, but she did it after a video package where we got a little glimpse into who Amari Miller is. Not much, but clearly they are looking to give her the spotlight every so often to see what she can do.
KLR has been booked so strongly for so long that anything less than a squash here would have been damaging to her character.
TREY BAXTER vs. DANTE CHEN
Since CFO$ and WWE parted ways, new entrance tracks have been relatively lackluster. A few bangers, but largely the consensus is that the music feels much more generic. Dante Chen has some music that I’m hoping makes it’s way into WWE 2K22, very energetic electronic music.
The music and energy paired with the in-ring action synced up perfectly. Dante Chen made quick work of Trey Baxter and looked fantastic doing so.
Andre Chase is making a name for himself in a skit that seemed like a cross between a The Way vignette and Thatch-as-Thatch-can. Chase was breaking down an Odyssey Jones match and getting angry at his students for calling him out for losing in the first round of the Breakout Tournament to Jones.
Not sure what to make of this skit or what Chase University will wind up being. Andre Chase is no actor, and his delivery throughout the skit was mediocre. I think he was supposed to come across as angry, they even let him drop a bleeped f-bomb. Instead, to me, I saw an adult throwing a temper tantrum.
CAMERON GRIMES vs. JOE GACY
I don’t know enough about Gacy to really have an opinion on him one way or another. I’m just a little unsettled at a man who chooses a surname based on a serial killer. Another very short matchup, but a quick win for Grimes that still allowed Gacy to get his stuff in.
Gacy’s gimmick is a little strange. He’s a heel simply because he’s… not a bad person? His promo and demeanor comes off as “the nice guy you wouldn’t be too surprised at to learn brought firearms to a public place”.
The match itself was fun for what it was, but I’m a little mixed on Gacy’s character overall.
ELEKTRA LOPEZ vs. ANNA SCHEER
The third squash match of the night, Lopez threw Scheer around the ring while telling her that she’s a nobody. Scheer tried to get a little offense in, but this match was incredibly one-sided.
Not a whole lot to sink your teeth into analysis-wise in the match, but Lopez looks to be a very dominant female addition to Legado del Fantasma. A strong, beautiful woman joining forces with three motivated and handsome men? All of whom can work? Hell yeah. Sign me up. Lopez has reinvigorated my love for Legado overall.
B-Fab attacked Lopez from behind after the match, leaving the three male members of Legado standing there looking like idiots due to the rule of intergender violence. I wish they at least tried to pull her off of their familia member, or the rest of Hit Row attack with her. Nitpick, otherwise nothing else to really complain about in this segment.
ODDESSY JONES vs. CARY MILLMAN & DARREN CHIAPPETTA
Hey, another squash match! This time literally, as Jones won with a top rope splash, squashing his opponents for the win.
Andre Chase showed his face halfway through the match, taunting Jones further and continuing the story from the Chase University segment.
The match was okay and played to Jones’ strengths while hiding his weaknesses with his two opponents bumping like crazy for the big man. While he still has a way to go in the ring before he’s a flawless performer, Jones’ charisma is off the charts and he’s connecting with the crowd based off of that alone.
BRON BREAKKER & TOMASSO CIAMPA vs. RIDGE HOLLAND & PETE DUNNE
NXT clearly have their eyes on the son of Rick Steiner, Bron Breakker. Positioning him in a high profile spot two weeks in a row with Ciampa. Breakker (ugh, it pains me every time I need to type the double K) may still need work on the mic, but in the ring he’s definitely won me over. Last week, I was a bit unsure. This week, I felt like he looked like he belonged in the ring with these three NXT main eventers.
Breakker got the pinfall on Holland after Kyle O’Reilly interfered. Breakker looked very strong in this match, and I’m assuming that this friendship with Ciampa will lead into Ciampa’s first title defense against his current ally.