SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
JOE GACY vs. TOMMASO CIAMPA
If Gacy was able to beat Ciampa in this match, he would be added to the NXT Championship match at Halloween Havoc making Ciampa vs. Breakker a triple threat. Going into the match, I was thinking that Gacy would somehow weasel a win over “Champa”. Adding him to the triple threat would allow Ciampa to retain the title without Breakker taking a pin while still leading to a clean finish.
One thing that we speculated on during last week’s episode of PWT Talks NXT was that Harland, the repackaged Parker Boudreaux, could insert himself in the match and swing things Gacy’s way.
Gacy may not have won, but Harland did attack Ciampa after the match and then shared a moment with Gacy before running off. I’m thinking we may wind up seeing a Wyatt Family-esque stable with Gacy at the lead and Harland as his first follower.
XION QUINN vs. MALIK BLADE
The clash of two terrible Create-A-Wrestler names. Especially Malik Blade. Or as Tony DeAngelo called him “Ma-lickin’ my boots”. Ugh. That name is a groaner almost as bad of Bron Breakker. Almost.
A short squash match in favor of Quinn. So far, I’m a fan of what we’ve seen out of Quinn. I don’t much care for the taunt before his finisher, a la Roman Reigns. But the gimmick, music and his ring work have been solid so far. Malik Blade also needs to get a little credit here, bumping like crazy for the big man.
IVY NILE (w/ Diamond Mine) vs. VALENTINA FEROZ
Nile’s first match in the WWE system, and I think I’m in (wrestling) love with this diamond in the rough. During the match, Wade Barrett actually complimented not only Nile, but his broadcast partner, Beth Phoenix when he compared Nile’s style and power to that of The Glamazon. I was thinking it while he said it. There were moments during the match where she looked nervous, though that could have been by design to incorporate the coach, Hachiman.
Her torture rack finish looks brutal as well. Not everyone may like a basic move like this as a finish, however I think it suits her very well. She may be small, but she has a physique like she could get in the ring and give Roman Reigns a run for his money.
IKEMAN JIRO vs. JULIUS CREED
After Nile’s match, Malcolm Bivens cut a promo hyping all of Diamond mine. Ikeman Jiro came out looking for an opportunity at perhaps the Cruiserweight title and wound up in a match against Julius Creed for his troubles.
The Creed Brothers are two of my favorite of the “2.0” competitors, and Ikeman Jiro was a favorite of mine the moment I saw him earlier in the year. For me, this was a fun match to watch. You got the “Style Strong” and high flying moves out of Jiro, as well as brutal amateur-meets pro wrestling out of Creed.
Creed scored a solid victory over the colorful Jiro, securing the second win for Diamond Mine in a row. Kushida rushed the ring after the match looking to get revenge for losing his title and to save fellow babyface, Jiro. But he was outnumbered and left laying. While Kushida is far higher above Jiro on the roster tier (or at least should be!), if this leads to a short lived duo of Jiro and Kushida, I’m all for it. Gets two great talents on TV.
VON WAGNER & KYLE O’REILLY vs. RIDGE HOLLAND & PETE DUNNE
Von Wagner has had KOR’s back for the past couple of weeks, leading him to becoming his partner in this match tonight. Von Wagner continued to show loyalty throughout the match, saving KOR a handful of times.
The match was built around Wagner and made to make him look strong while continuing to paint KOR in a scrappy, underdog light. Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland both came off as tough competitors for Wagner and KOR to overcome as well. Everyone came out looking better coming out of the match than they did going in.
I also thought it was fitting for Wagner to get the win, as he is the new up and comer. And Ridge Holland was the one to eat the pin, as he is on his way to the main roster.
GREYSON WALLER vs DUKE HUDSON
A solid match for these two “2.0” talents. Greyson Waller shows a lot of promise, though I absolutely hate his use of the Stone Cold Stunner as a transitional move. Other than that nitpick, I love the energy and in-ring work.
Hudson is coming into his own as a dirty heel and the addition of the poker gimmick does add another layer to the character. His quick win with the grab of the tights makes me think that this isn’t the last time we’ll see these two square off.
PERSIA PEROTTI & INDI HARTWELL vs. SARRAY & AMARI MILLER
Sarray came into NXT with such fanfare just months ago, and now she doesn’t even get an entrance. This team with Amari Miller seems very random, as to the best of my knowledge we haven’t seen any interaction with the two of them thus far.
Indi Hartwell and Persia play well off of one another, though it’s a tough sell to replace Candice LaRae as Indi’s tag partner. LaRae is one of the best female wrestlers in the business as far as I’m concerned and Persia, while solid in the ring, certainly isn’t LaRae.
Hartwell and Perotti challenged Io Shirai & Zoey Stark for the titles, signaling the champions to the ring. This lead Toxic Attraction out, all six women brawling in the ring. The champs stood tall, however Toxic Attraction still looked strong during this altercation. With Toxic Attraction showing up multiple times per show the last few weeks, as Cameron Grimes may say, they’re being pushed “To The Moon!”
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
SANTOS ESCOBAR vs ISAIAH “SWERVE” SCOTT – NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Easy match of the night, these two men have put on clinics in the past for the Cruiserweight Championship and this match was no different. Solid storytelling and back and forth action left you wondering if Swerve may even retain at points. The announce team played this up as well, insinuating that Hit Row’s call up to SmackDown could mean that the North American Championship could also move to SmackDown if Swerve retains.
What I didn’t account for was Swerve retaining and Carmelo Hayes cashing in his contract from the Breakout Tournament directly after the match. Akin to a Money In The Bank cash-in, A brilliant way to protect Swerve and put the belt on an up-and-comer all at once.
Verdict: HIT (rowwwwwwwwwwww)