By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Otis Dozovic: Ultimately, I ended up with a Hit here due to the solid in ring quality and development of Otis Dozovic as a in-ring talent. Otis Dozovic has grown a lot after getting a chance to wrestle without Tucker Knight handling the bulk of the work. This was a well told story of Dozovic dominating due to his size advantage over Ciampa, which the commentators did a good job telling that story. Ciampa did an amazing job making Otis look credible via his selling. The negative exactly that though. Full Sail rarely has Tommaso Ciampa show up (due to him selling his hatred of the fans), and the moment he shows up he gives up 70% of the offense to an undercard comedy tag wrestler. I only have this criticism because I think it would have served them better to have Ciampa look strong early in his title run. This match is oddly very similar to a match Impact wrestling did two weeks ago between World Champ Austin Aries and Comedy Undercard Tag Wrestler Fallah Bahh. Aries gave up a lot of offense there but the storytelling around it covered what would become my criticism of the Ciampa vs. Dozovic match.
Kairi Sane vs. Vanessa Borne: This was a series of minor Hits. Nothing too special, but there were some gems. One was Kairi Sane’s reaction to Vanessa Borne punting her pirate hat. Kairi has the a scary, yet cute, mean face. That by itself is hit worthy. Vanessa Bourne’s in-ring development is another Hit. The last minor Hit is the basic but effective setup for Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler at the WWE Evolution PPV.
The Mighty vs. The Street Profits: We’ve seen this exact match with the same result before. Many times. There were some small things in this particular match that made it stand out over the other ones. For one, I liked that the Street Profits were serious during their entrance and showed that they were more than just party boy goofballs (which is charming, but it’s cool to see them evolve as personalities). Montez Ford wrestling more these days is good. The best part was the finish. The Mighty have won matches before but I think this is the first time I believe they won cleanly against NXT talent during their heel run. I’ll take a wait-and-see approach as to if this was a fluke or if they are trying to give The Mighty momentum, but Nick Miller and Shane Thorne are too talented to be meandering in NXT’s tag team undercard and have the potential to move up to the tag team main event scene which seems like two vastly different worlds.
Lars Sullivan vs. Victor Orchant: A basic squash for Lars Sullivan, and Sullivan squashes are always Hits. Nothing really special here but it was simple, effective, and logical stuff done to set up a match with EC3. I continue to like the nice touch of Sullivan’s opponents struggling to get Sullivan off his feet because it makes Sullivan being taken off his feet a big deal.
William Regal: Last week, I felt like they were spending a bit too much time on the Aleister Black storyline to the point where they are in holding pattern mode. They spent a lot of time last week to essentially have Candice LeRae implicate Johnny Gargano again indirectly. This week, all of the Aleister Black mystery segments pushed something forward. They are setting up Nikki Cross for something, which could also be a false alarm due to Cross not being mentally stable. They found an intriguing way to weave Velveteen Dream in this story by him stressing how he is not going to snitch. The best segment involving Regal and his detective work was his interaction with Adam Cole where the segment did a good job reestablishing Adam Cole as the master douchebag of NXT who is proud to be a douchebag.
NXT TV Misses
Keith Lee: The segment was fine and I know Keith Lee does this outside of WWE too; but my only gripe here is how he’s falling into WWE’s strange trend these days of making it mandatory at every promo contain the wrestler’s signature catchphrase. The worst at this is Aleister Black, who has to force “Fade to Black” at the end of every promo. Keith Lee throws in those random “Limitless” and “Bask in my glory” lines in every promo. At least he isn’t Johnny Impact.
Victor Orchant’s tights: Again, this is a nitpick, but another WWE-wide nitpick that plagues NXT and the main roster. I don’t know if this is either negligence or a WWE in-joke. Maybe it’s an in-joke, and I’ll take it as such down the road; but the guy had “Walker” on his tights even though he was supposedly named “Orchant”.