NXT TV Live Review: War Raiders vs. The Mighty, Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair, show taped at NXT Takeover: Chicago

By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

NXT TV 
Aired June 20, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped June 16 in Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena

NXT started off with a “In Memory of” to Leon “Vader” White. After the signature, NXT aired a highlight music video package which featured “Uncomfortable” by Halestorm. NXT added a sports crawler at the bottom of the screen which featured Vader. The sports crawler displayed tweets from fans in memory of Vader…

John’s ThoughtsClassy move by NXT to pay respect to the late great big man. I send out my prayers and condolences to the friends and family of Leon White.

Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. Joseph noted that Mauro Ranallo will be returning to NXT next week (due to this being taped last Saturday on the same day that Mauro was scheduled to do commentary for Showtime). Dakota Kai made her entrance.

1. Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair. Vic Joseph noted that Belair competed in the Mae Young Classic and also beat Candice LeRae on an episode of NXT. Kai showed off good awareness and agility by getting a shot on Belair. Kai used her core to block a German Suplex and then followed up on Bianca with a punt to the back of her head. Belair countered with a backtoss and powerful shoulder tackle. Belair smirked at the fans. Belair hit an impressive delayed rebound suplex. Belair hit Kai with a standing frog splash. Belair spanked her booty in disrespect to Kai. Belaire stretched Kai like a pretzel while also pounding on Kai’s abs.

Belair hit Kai with a pumphandle backbreaker. Belair taunted Kai while Kai was struggling to get up. Belair showed off some Lashley like strength by holding Kain in a really long delayed rebound suplex. Kai escaped the suplex due to Kai taking too long. Belair regained control and tried for another frogsplash but Kai got her knees up and got a bit of a breather by knocking down Belair with an enziguri. Dakota Kai hit some kicks on Belair like she was Ling Xiaoyu. Dakota Kai hit Belair with a face wash running knee to get a nearfall. Belair missed a hair whip and Kai missed a kick. Belair hit a strong forearm and then hit the Burning Hammer II on Kai to pick up the pinfall win.

Bianca Belair defeated Dakota Kai via pinfall in 6:05. 

Bianca Belair gloated in the ring that she was the best. Percy Watson cut to a Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet highlight video package…

John’s Thoughts: A great women’s match that if it had a few weeks of storyline development and three minutes would have been a great Takeover match. Bianca Belair is great everytime she shows up and continues to show growth every week. Kai’s a good hand who will have her day when they decide to have her tear through her redemption story.

Cathy Kelley interviewed Ricochet after his match. Ricochet talked about how he’s not just an animated GIF or a flip. Ricochet said the spotlight doesn’t belong on Dream but instead belongs on the one and only Ricochet. Sarah Schreiber interviewed Velveteen Dream. Dream said he said “Game Over” at Chicago and “what do you think [I’m going to do now]?”… [C]

Vic Joseph thanked Halestorm for providing the Takeover music and advertised when “Uncomfortable” was going to be released on Itunes. Percy Watson narrated a highlight package on Shayna Baszler vs. Nikki Cross. Cathy Kelley interviewed Shayna Baszler who had Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke with her. Baszler said you defeat chaos by sucking the air out of it and putting it to sleep…

NXT cut to an Aleister Black vs. Lars Sullivan video package. Mike Rome interviewed Aleister Black who was limping backstage and couldn’t take the interview due to being hurt. Nigel McGuinness advertised The Mighty vs. War Raiders for later in this episode… [C]

Vic Joseph thanked Chris Jericho and Fozzy for providing the song “Painless” for Takeover. Percy Watson talked over a highlight package for the NXT Tag Team Title match at Takeover. Watson credited Adam Cole’s interference for giving Undisputed Era the advantage but also noted how Lorcan and Burch won over the crowd. Cathy Kelley interviewed Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. She was in sad mode. Burch talked about how they gave their blood, sweat, and tears to get to NXT and to where they are. Burch said they are disappointed at not getting the title but they gave it their all. Lorcan said this was the biggest match of their career but also the biggest lost of their career…

John’s Thoughts: I can’t pinpoint why, but Cathy Kelley is really comical when she tries to act sad. It might be in part due to how they put her in somber situations.

A Johnny Gargano vs. Tommasso Ciampa highlight package aired… [C]

Nigel McGuinness advertised an Aleister Black “live” promo for next week. EC3 was interviewed at the Performance Center “earlier today”. EC3 said Takeover proved why NXT is the top brand in Sports and Entertainment. EC3 said it had everything except the top one pecent. EC3 said he was proclaiming he was going to be on 100% of Takeovers going forward. EC3 ran through some of his catchphrases. He said he was going to make demands to William Regal. The interviewer asked who EC3 was going to demand he face with Regal. EC3 comically yelled “EVERYBODY!!!”…

2. “War Raiders” Hanson and Raymond Rowe vs. “The Mighty” Shane Thorne and Nick Miller. The Mighty now have a new video wall and new gear. They wore black leather trench coats to the ring. The Mighty got some cheap shots in before the bell. Rowe yelled to “Ring the bell”. Rowe easily manhandled both Mighty members. Hanson hit some power moves too before tagging out. Miller prevented Fallout by punching Hanson. Thorne tried to get the rope leverage pin again but Rowe kicked out. Miller tagged in and dominated Rowe. Thorne got some cheap shots in as well. The Mighty hit a Magic Killer like move for a nearfall.

Joseph noted that this was the first team to really get the upper hand over War Raiders. The Mighty cut the ring in half on Rowe. Thorne tried to knock off Hanson from the apron but Hanson stopped him in his tracks by yelling. Hanson tagged in and hit some crossbodies, sentons, lariats, and many moves on The Mighty. Rowe tagged back in as Raiders hit a tandem powerslam on Thorne. Miller broke up the subsequent pin. Hanson hit Miller with a Suicide Dive. The crowd was fired up. Rowe hit Thorne with a reverse powerslam and knee. War Raiders hit Fallout on Shane Thorne for the victory.

The War Raiders defeated The Mighty via pinfall in 4:28. 

NXT ended 15 minutes before the end of the hour…

John’s Thoughts: I like the new and improved look of the Mighty to match their heel shift and they looked competant against War Raiders, but ultimately they kept this one sided. It’s smart to build up an old school team like War Raiders the old school way by having them run through inferior opponents but hopefully we don’t have too many credible tag teams fed to enhance War Raiders. The Mighty just can’t catch a break because for several years, they are put in positions where they are the most convenient victims to pushed tag teams. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Heavy Machinery rematch where HM look good this time (random aside, I noticed they had both TM and HM, the double dose of Pokemon move vectors).

I like reviewing these week-after recap episodes because it’s like a break for me. They’ve also improved these week-after episodes to keep it interesting enough with good matches. The matches that were happening during the pretty dismal 2016 year (dismal by NXT standards) weren’t as compelling as we’ve been getting in the pre-takeover dark matches. Both matches this week were short. If given four minutes a piece and three weeks of storyline build, these would have been good on the main Takeover show; but as many people have pointed out, NXT has a talent saturation problem which is a good problem to have. They just have so many good wrestlers and not enough time to push all of them. I’ll be by tomorrow with my Hit List and Members Exclusive Audio Review…


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