By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Velveteen Dream vs. Johnny Gargano: This turned into a pleasant surprise that progressed through the timeline of the match. This matchup is bound to be a Takeover main event someday if these guys don’t get called up first. The first half of the match seemed like both men were holding back a bit to save their best for a future Takeover. The match wasn’t bad, but it was more about telling the story of Gargano continuing to be more aggressive like Ciampa. I liked how they made sure to point out that Dream caught on to that and he turned Gargano’s aggression and inner turmoil against him. Both men then pulled out some smooth and compelling high risk stuff by the end of the match which led to a very epic encounter. The post match stuff was very intriguing in its own right with Gargano continuing to sell a war in his own mind that’s supported by the crowd struggling to either cheer or boo him.
Kairi Sane: I wouldn’t like to see Shayna Baszler put in positions to look weak every week, but it worked here as she did her usual bullying stuff only to underestimate Sane’s fire. Sane did a good job going from cute to vicious on a dime and it’s good seeing Sane develop as a character in recent weeks.
William Regal’s interrogations: NXT has taken an unfortunate situation and turned it into a fun storyline, which is also a fun side game that the television audience can play along with. Hopefully the story they are putting together leads to an outcome that puts all the clues together rather than have the reveal come out of left field or these interrogation segments would end up feeling like a waste of time. So far so good, because they are logically connecting different video footage to excuse and exonerate specific people.
Otis Dozovic: I’m not the biggest fan of childish poop jokes, but Otis’s natural charm made this work for me somehow. Dozovic reminds me of Big E or Fallah Bahh in terms of how charismatic they are. This isn’t for everyone, but Otis sold it greatly with being sweaty and nervous.
Kassius Ohno vs. Kona Reeves: For one, once Triple H becomes in charge of main roster TV you don’t have to worry about a Roman Reigns situation because you see moments like this where the NXT creative team aren’t stubborn enough to go all in on this failed “finest” character. They don’t have to fully dump this because there might be a fun twist they can do with the evolution of Kona Reeves. I’m thinking a similar evolution to that of Cody Rhodes going from Dashing to his Un-Dashing Phantom of the Opera character. Un-Finest? As for Ohno, it was a bit odd but interesting how he cut a promo where he straight up almost called out his future loss to Keith Lee or Matt Riddle. I wonder if they are either putting this out there to own his gatekeeperness or they are going to finally give Ohno a credible push that benefits him and not other wrestlers.
The Forgotten Sons vs. The Street Profits: While I liked the in-ring work by both teams, there was some negatives to this segment. For one, the Sons weren’t bad but they didn’t do anything to stand out other than being a generic heel tag team. They remind me a bit of Blake and Murphy and they include Blake (Murphy has become one of WWE’s unsung heroes in 2018). The Profits looked good, but I’m not sure what more they can get out of the Street Profits vs. The Mighty feud. The lone variable with upside is Jaxson Ryker, who NXT presented as a possible wild card. They protected him by having him be mysterious at ringside. Most viewers may know Ryker as Gunner from Impact Wrestling. Mauro also noted that Ryker is a real life Marine (the reason they called him Gunner is because he’s a Marine artillery gunner, or at least I think that was the case).
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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...