SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
DAKOTA KAI vs. KAY LEE RAY – WOMEN’S WARGAMES ADVANTAGE LADDER MATCH
The teams of Toxic Attraction & Cora Jade, Io Shirai & Raquel Gonzalez stood by to cheer on their partners as they faced off in a ladder match to kick off the show. The winners of the match would get the advantage at War Games. The way the match started was a little bizarre. Rather than traditional entrances, they showed each team backstage walking to Gorilla. The two teams came out on stage simultaneously and began attacking one another.
On paper, this singles match is a dream match for some. I think they absolutely delivered here. A brutal ladder match between two of the best female talent that NXT has to offer.
Having the babyface team get the advantage is a little questionable. If the heels won, they would outnumber the babyface team when the 3rd, 5th & 7th people entered the ring making for an easy heat-building device in the match. Curious to see how the War Games match itself pans out.
CAMERON GRIMES vs. ANDRE CHASE
After Grimes had his beard and hair cut at the hands of Duke Hudson, last week Andre Chase tried to embarrass Grimes in front of Chase’s students, taunting him about the hair loss. That lead into this match tonight.
Andre Chase had his students sitting in the audience, chanting for the Chase University professor. Grimes was able to swiftly take it to Chase in just a few minutes leading Duke Hudson to show up on the balcony above the audience. To promote their hair vs. hair match, Hudson showed off some extremely poorly photoshopped Cameron Grimes photos showing off different haircuts and beard styles.
I see what Hudson was going for here in this segment, and I think he performed it well. But this was stupid, Vince/Bruce Prichard humor. Main rostery stuff. Stuff that makes me just groan and want my black and gold back.
VON WAGNER & KYLE O’REILLY vs. LEGADO DEL FANTASMA
Winners of this match head to War Games to face Imperium for the Tag Titles. We’ve seen this match before and I didn’t feel like we saw anything new. Sure, the match was perfectly fine. But I just can’t seem to get invested in this storyline. I feel like KOR should be in a more high profile spot than putting over my WWE 2k19 Create-A-Wrestler, Von Wagner.
Xyon Quinn showed up mid-match and attacked Escobar, evening the odds for KOR and Wagner as Escobar and Lopez were no longer ringside. With Imperium as heel champions and the push on 2.0 wrestlers, the outcome of KOR and Wagner winning was easily predictable and I’d almost expect to see them capture the gold at War Games. That could set up a singles feud between the two down the line.
Verdict: Lukewarm HIT
GACY INCLUSIVITY INVITATIONAL
Joe Gacy took issue with Roddy Strong and his weight restricted Cruiserweight Title, calling it weight shaming. He got the match for the title at War Games, but tonight he faced three jobbers. One Chad Gable sized-dude, a woman and a super-heavyweight. He said he’d take all three of them on, including the woman chalking it up to overcoming gender biases. Before the 2nd match could take place against the woman, Diamond Mine came out and Malcolm Bivens ran down Gacy and that Diamond Mine will shut Gacy up for good this Sunday. Strong attacked Gacy and Harland came to Gacy’s aid.
I’m a little confused about the state of the Cruiserweight title. Joe Gacy clearly is not 205lbs. Hey, I’m just stating facts here. No shame in being 206lbs or more. But where this is a weight restricted belt and always has been, will it no longer be? And if that’s the case, what’s the purpose of the title at all? The angle itself has my attention simply because of that, otherwise this would be my bathroom break during War Games.
SOLO SIKOA vs. EDIRIS ENOFÉ
I absolutely loved the video package they gave Enofé earlier in the night. From childhood photos to stating a mission as to why he’s here in NXT, these video packages are majorly helpful in getting talent over.
Enofé may have lost against the Samoan Fighter, but he showed some serious potential tonight and I look forward to seeing what he brings to NXT 2.0 going forward. Boa attacked both men after, but Sikoa and Enofé stood together and sent him packing.
PERSIA PIROTTA & INDI HARTWELL vs. YULISA LEON & VALENTINA FEROZ
The story of the match was that Indi is still worried about her injured Husband, Dexter Lumis, and her head was just not in the game. She allowed herself to get flattened by jobber Valentina Feroz without getting a single bit of offense in until tagging in Pirotta who swiftly won the match.
Pirotta is doing her best to keep her friends spirits held high, yet this must come to a head at some point. I’m thinking Pirotta may grow tired of babying Indi, leading to a feud between the two.
JOHNNY GARGANO vs. BRON BREAKKER MEN’S WARGAMES ADVANTAGE LADDER MATCH
The old guard vs. the new. Team 2.0 vs. Team Black & Gold. Gargano vs. The Big Bad Booty Nephew, Bron Breakker to determine advantage at War Games. If rumors are to be believed, and Gargano’s contract has expired with him signing an extension long enough to wrestle at War Games, this could be the last time we see Gargano in an NXT TV ring.
If this is the last time we see him on NXT TV, what a way to go out. In a brutal and bombastic ladder match, helping to elevate the next era of talent. From Bron throwing a middle finger to Gargano wearing some vintage Johnny Wrestling gear, this match was easily the match of the night. Breakker winning the match was the outcome I expected unless there were some sort of shenanigans. Breakker is too hot to lose in a singles match right now, even a gimmick match like this.
I fully expect Team 2.0 to come out on top come Sunday as pushing the stars of the “former brand” as superior completely goes against what they are trying to accomplish with NXT 2.0.