SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KATANA CHANCE & KAYDEN KARTER vs. CORA JADE & ROXANNE PEREZ
The winners of this match would head to Great American Bash next week to face Toxic Attraction for the NXT Women’s Tag Titles. Toxic Attraction sat in their “Toxic Lounge” behind the audience, watching to see who their competition would be.
Chance & Carter have been leaning face lately, with the exception of the last couple weeks where they came across as leaning heel. There hasn’t been a concrete turn from them, making me wonder if there are solid plans for the team in the future.
Cora Jade & Roxanne Perez are two competitors that NXT appears to be building the brand around. They played clear babyfaces in this match, presumably trying to get the fans behind them a little more as we head into GAB.
The match started out a little lackluster, but after the first commercial break the match kicked into the next gear. Chance & Carter looked like they could clinch the win several times with their unique double team offense. However after the bell rang, it was Perez & Jade on their way to a tag title matchup.
GIOVANNI VINCI vs. IKEMAN JIRO
I’ll give you one guess as to who won this matchup. That’s right, the “newcomer” formerly known as Fabian Aichner. Giovanni Vinci is being booked as a brand new competitor, seemingly glossing over his years within the WWE system. I’m okay with this approach if they’re able to change their appearance enough where it’s not blatantly obvious, but Vinci looks exactly like Aichner.
Vinci made quick work of Jiro in a somewhat impressive squash match, however the crowd did not care whatsoever about the win. No cheers, no boos. Just muddled crowd noise. That’s the worst thing you can receive as a wrestler, as the crowd has no feelings one way or another towards you. Both he and NXT need to give us more to latch onto with this character, perhaps a story with D’Angelo, to get people behind the former Imperium member.
INDI HARTWELL vs. KIANA JAMES
For weeks, Kiana James has interrupted any TV time that Indi Hartwell has seen to give her grief about losing her husband and “The Way” family, leading to this matchup tonight.
Indi has indeed had a rough few months, as everyone she was associated with has either moved up to the main roster or has left the company entirely. She looked to get some confidence back in this matchup, as well as give James her comeuppance.
The crowd was largely bored throughout the match, with a number of fans talking to one another or looking at their phones. When James made the win after using the ropes for leverage the crowd remained indifferent.
DIAMOND MINE (RODERICK STRONG & CREED BROTHERS) vs. JOE GACY & THE DYAD
In recent weeks, Diamond Mine looked like implosion was imminent as Roderick Strong and the rest of the group were butting heads. Tonight, Joe Gacy approached Diamond Mine minus Strong, and offered for them to join his “family” with the Dyad. Strong walked on screen and claimed that he and Diamond Mine were as strong as ever, and challenged Gacy and The Dyad to a match tonight.
It must be incredibly awkward to wrestle in robes will a full hood and face mask, as both Dyad members have been doing since they’ve debuted. After awhile, all I could notice is them fixing their hoods time and time again.
Diamond Mine worked together throughout the match, of course with the exception of the end of the match where an argument broke out between the Creeds and Roddy. This ultimately led to Strong being pinned by one of the Dyad members with the Creeds not stepping in to help their leader.
After the match, back stage, Roderick Strong and the Creeds came to a head and a match was made for Great American Bash, The Creeds vs. Roderick Strong & Damon Kemp. Is this the end for Diamond Mine?
VERDICT: LUKEWARM HIT
SANGA vs. XYON QUINN
This match started before entrances were even finished. Sanga was on his way to the ring when Quinn attacked him from behind. After a commercial break and another backstage segment, the action returned to the ring where this match was just getting into the ring.
I do enjoy a good chaotic start to a match, I just feel like its weakened by cutting away for so long. An entire commercial break and another segment is far too long.
Sanga debuted a new look, wrestling in black trunks and protective gear. Prior to this, he was wearing something that looked like it was left over from Braun Strowman. At least this gives him some sort of his own identity, though I’m not sure if this generic look is much better.
The match between these two big men was a bit plodding at times, but it was ultimately better than what I expected. Sanga hasn’t been the best in the ring historically, and though he was far from a polished product between the ropes, his wrestling was passable. As was his win.
VERDICT: LUKEWARM HIT
NIKKITA LYONS vs. MANDY ROSE
In kayfabe, why exactly did Nikkita Lyons get a non-title match against the NXT Women’s Champion? Lyons has been out injured for a month or two and though she had momentum before the injury, she wasn’t near the championship scene.
If I didn’t have to cover this match for both this column and PWT Talks NXT, I would have turned the TV off before the first commercial break. That may be harsh, but there is not much about either Rose nor Lyons that appeals to me. Sure, they’re both strong, attractive women. But their characters as well as their in-ring acumen do not resonate with me whatsoever. Lyons feels like a forced and unfinished product, while Mandy Rose still remains a mediocre talent at best.
Predictably, Toxic Attraction interfered in the match causing a DQ win for Rose. Jade and Perez made the save, foreshadowing that Lyons is the next opponent for Rose. If Jade and Perez are gunning for the Tag titles, it’s clear Lyons is gunning for Mandy’s.
BRON BREAKKER & CAMERON GRIMES FACE TO FACE
NXT Champion Bron Breakker will defend his title against Cameron Grimes at the Great American Bash. Tonight, the two got into the ring in a “face to face” interview hosted by Wade Barrett. That is until Bron Breakker told Barrett that they had it and he just wanted to talk to Grimes.
Breakker came off as a bit of a jerk while Cameron Grimes came off as a sympathetic as a face could possibly come across as. While the intent is to be heel, the things that Grimes said about why he wanted to go after the title as well as how Breakker wouldn’t be here without his lineage were true. Breakker just sounded like a bully in his retorts, telling Grimes he’s going to break him in half.
This segment was meant to build heat for the match, but instead they basically just started quoting from 90s hit from Chumbawumba, Tubthumping when Grimes said when he gets knocked down, he gets up again. They also quoted from Daft Punk’s Harder, Faster, Better Stronger by more or less saying how Breakker is all of those adjectives.
When the inevitable physicality broke out, Grimes whipped Breakker into the turnbuckle so hard that it snapped, bringing the top rope to the mat. Breakker sold a shoulder injury, meaning he won’t be 100% going into GAB.
This whole angle is weird. While I love seeing Grimes in the main event scene, the crowd is more behind him than Breakker and the things he says are more face than heel. Until he pulls a heel move and injures the champion. It’s inconsistent and confusing.
That said, I am looking forward to seeing the match at GAB. While Breakker isn’t the greatest in the ring, he’s still solid. Going up against someone as polished between the ropes as Grimes should make for a great main event.