By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Adam Cole vs. Kassius Ohno: A great match and a decent step in adding in-ring credibility for NXT viewers not familliar with his independent wrestling work. I thought it was interesting and the right decision to point out that Kassius Ohno does win a lot of matches and loses all of his big matches. I interpreted that observation as them painting this as a non-Takeover match where Takeover matches count as “big matches” which gave Kassius Ohno more of a chance since he did win TV matches often before he disappeared for a stretch (albeit mostly against the Danny Burch or Raul Mendoza types). Cole showed off more of the moveset that we’ve seen other places but the best parts of Cole continue to be his abject traits. In particular, that real injury fakeout was masterfully done in that it causes the viewer to question weather he legit got injured only to have the fans find out that he was just playing with their emotions. He also pulled away the “bay bay” from the fans at one point. The most effective part of this match is due to Cole being so disingenuous, you had to be looking at the ramp for Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly to run out, which made it more impactful that he won by himself against a credible opponent.
Ember Moon vs. Aliyah: A very minor hit due to the hit not even being from the match. The camera wasn’t even pointed at the ring half the time and more so at Shayna Baszler putting her feet up on the announce table. It was a little thing, but it kept Baszler on television and forwarded her storyline. It also made complete sense that Baszler would just waltz out there to try to get into the head of Moon.
Undisputed Era Backstage Segment: I’m not sure of the difference with this one compared to the ones I criticized in the past. If I remember correctly, the Undisputed Era promos early on in their run made it look like they were reading from a teleprompter. The light shaky multi-cam setup may remind viewers of WCW’s NWO promos. I was reminded of the old “Storytime with Adam Cole” promos that Cole did in ROH where he got a segment to recap events in his own personal voice. I thought Kyle O’Reilly has been showing good heel tendencies lately by being a corny punk, which works well with Cole’s different dynamic. So this segment developed both Cole and O’Reilly. Fish doesn’t need much development because he does have a natural quirkiness to him.
Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne vs. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match: An exciting tag team match with four men who can truly brawl. Lorcan’s strikes always make me cringe in a good and bad way. He really lays those things in. Strong continues his business as Triple H’s ultimate utility player. He’s the point guard of NXT, there to make whatever he’s involved in better. At least there was some effort to build towards this tag team, or they converted the UK Title program into a remedy for Tyler Bate’s injury (not sure why they didn’t just find a new tag partner for Trent Seven, but I prefer this because Strong and Dunne are more dream teamy).
Tommaso Ciampa: They took a few steps here in what we can all assume is going to be some sort of unsanctioned match at Takeover. It was good to have Ciampa get a few words in because doing three weeks in a row of silent promos might have been too repetitive. I would have liked Gargano to stay gone for a little longer and maybe sell the exile by appearing on 205 Live for a squash match or something, but I understand this approach as well. The highlights of the segment were Ciampa yelling at the old lady and Gargano hiding behind the big ass emoji sign.
NXT TV Misses
Andrade Almas: This one gets a minor miss because I get what they were going for, but the execution was a bit off. Almas is just not a great promo yet. The way I would have executed the segment is have Almas cut the promo in Spanish and have Vega translate (even if she can’t speak Spanish, she could have had some notes in the back). Either that or have Vega be on the rant with a fuming Almas pacing Brock Lesnar style. It wasn’t a terrible segment, it just wasn’t prime and had a lot of flaws to it.
NEW: Help support Prowrestling.net when you shop Amazon by starting your online Amazon shopping at Prowrestling.net/amazon. You are not charged extra, but we receive a small and very helpful commission on everything you purchase. Thanks for thinking of us every time you shop at Amazon.