By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
The Undisputed Era vs. Moustache Mountain and Ricochet: An fun television trios match. It was set up in the cliche WWE way of having six people run out and set up a six man tag, but the match didn’t feel filler. Moustache Mountain has an easier time winning over the NXT crowd due to their Progress cred. Having Ricochet on their side didn’t hurt. Kyle O’Reilly was as fun as usual and it was also cool seeing him interact with Tyler Bate. The highlight of the match was a sequence Ricochet had late in the match where he avoided Total Elimination with a backflip in the cleanest way possible.
Johnny Gargano: A minor Hit. I like that Gargano is selling the loss at Takeover and is coming off as a bit irrational due to being haunted by the ghost of Tommaso Ciampa, who is trying to move on. Even his wife is moving on. Gargano can’t move on and is rationalizing it in his own mind by pointing out that each man has one win a piece and there needs to be a rubber match. The only downside to this promo is that it was exactly the same promo that Eddie Edwards has been cutting for the last few months, just replace “woods” with “grocery store” and replace “murder” with “end”. Hopefully Gargano’s superior acting ability can carry him through, but I hope this doesn’t somehow end up with Gargano as a heel. I’m almost sure they won’t go that direction, but the Eddie Edwards thing forces me to make the allusion.
Candice LeRae: NXT spent a good portion of this show refocusing the LeRae character into the women’s division. They weren’t vague about it. Candice said she’s moving on now. This is a good move since she has been utilized as a token wife for the past few months when she is a legendary women’s wrestler. I am looking forward to her interacting with Shayna Baszler down the road.
Candice LeRae vs. Lacey Evans: A good match that was made to make LeRae look good. And that she did. Evans looked good as well and I’m a bit disappointed they utilized her as enhancement talent here. She was showing great progress coming off the feud with Kairi Sane. She got new music, new gear, and a new overall character that was really clicking. I wouldn’t have minded Evans getting the cheap win somehow to turn LeRae vs. Evans into a feud but I’m guessing they have bigger plans for Candice.
Tommaso Ciampa: Aleister Black wasn’t bad in his promo, but he is starting to talk too much and be a little corporate with the “fade to black” catchphrase. It’s so corporate that Ciampa is mocking it on television. Ciampa made this segment a good one and did a good job interjecting himself into the NXT Championship title picture. I’m guessing this is what it is and they are building up to a Black vs. Ciampa match where Gargano is going to logically interfere with it to set up the rubber match. Either that or this is setting up a triple threat between Gargano, Ciampa, and Black. I wouldn’t mind the one-on-one myself but I can see them taking the triple threat approach.
NXT TV Misses
Kona Reeves vs. Max Humberto: The match did it’s job. The problem is this Kona Reeves character not really clicking. I pointed out in my review that Lio Rush is playing a similar character on 205 Live and doing a much better job at it. Reeves has a good look, moveset, and size. This seems like Reeves is playing a character rather than making it his own. I’m hopeful. Lacey Evans eventually got it and the biggest change from bad to good is Velveteen Dream.