By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Moustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era: An amazing tag team match and one of the better television matches in all of pro wrestling that I’ve seen in 2018. I say this due to the really good in-ring storytelling in this match. This match had an intricate narrative built around Trent Seven’s knee injury. Props to Seven, who had the best match I’ve seen from him in like ever. A lot of the details of Seven being a mentor to Tyler Bate came out of nowhere, but the length and narrative of the match made up for that. All around, this was a treat to watch that you should treat yourself to if you like a story being told in the ring.
Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa: This was a fairly quick backstage segment but the interruption of the commercial was very unique and did a job continuing the world building of the NXT storyline universe. It was also simple storytelling to set up Ciampa as a dastardly heel and Black as the babyface in peril. Gargano acting crazy for that little bit worked well in his development too.
Kairi Sane vs. Vanessa Borne: Pretty standard stuff from Kairi Sane, but the end of the match was fairly cool with Kairi Sane introducing NXT viewers to her new “anchor” finisher, which looked good. Borne still has a way to go in the ring and she was really bad at one time, but she continues to improve every single time we see her. There wasn’t a glaring botch in this match. Seeing her pull out the Goldust Final Cut was a fun addition to her arsenal.
Adam Cole vs. Danny Burch: It could be very easy to forget about this match given how great the main event of the show was, but Burch and Cole had a very good battle. It was very odd, in a good way, to see Danny Burch in a position of power where he had the advantage at points in this match. He looked really good in defeat even though this guy only has one singles win in WWE since 2012. Burch looked dominant. If you remember, at one point Cole was eating a ton of losses too and ever since War Games this guy has been a well rounded masterpiece in the NXT roster. I also liked that Cole got the clean win with Burch looking credible. On the main roster, I could see them having Burch win to do their cliche parity booking sequence.
NXT TV Misses
Shayna Baszler and Candice LeRae: This is a tentative Miss and in my mind I’ll give it a Hit if next week we don’t get the expected result. The segment was good. Baszler did her usual thing of bullying people. Lacey Evans and Dakota Kai cowered to Baszler, Nikki Cross acted like a crazy kitten, and LeRae was badass in her slap. Good stuff. The Miss (which can be a Hit if this was a red herring) is that I think it might be telegraphing that Candice LeRae wins next week’s Fatal Four Way for number one contendership. Therefore, this segment should have aired after that match.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...