By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. The Forgotten Sons: If you judged this match on the first third of action you might have concluded that this match was borderline boring. Thankfully, once Ricochet started doing his cool Ricochet things, this match really picked up and became enjoyable by the end of it. Black adds his unique offense and the Sons managed to up their game in the latter portions of the match with good tandem moves. The right team went over here because Black and Ricochet are the best team out of the two to have a show stealing match on WrestleMania weekend. My pick would have been for Moustashe Mountain to win the tournament, but WWE put themselves in this position with the Sons, and the Sons are in serious need of tweaking because of their bland and hard-to-define characterization.
Matt Riddle vs. Kona Reeves: Riddle’s matches tend to be hits more than misses due to his realistic style, and this match was no exception to that rule. Riddle was good here and he added something in glaring at Velveteen Dream from the ring. I hope Kona Reeves gets a second look at by WWE because I believe the guy might finally click based off what I’ve seen from Kona at a live event. Kona’s strong promo in San Jose a few months ago reminded me of a young Ethan Carter III with Reeves playing the spoiled rich kid to perfection. Back to the match, nothing to write home about, but solid. The in-ring wasn’t even the best part of the match.
Velveteen Dream: The best part of the Riddle vs. Reeves match was Velveteen Dream returning to his flamboyant greatness. I’ve been hoping that Dream would return to his bread and butter with high quality pageantry and this segment saw Dream return to the form of Dream that he made famous during his feud with Aleister Black. This was mind games. On top of that, Hits all around to the two women who escorted him to the ring, his sex couch, and the goblet he was taking sips from.
Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole: The only criticism I can see people bring up from this segment is that it was a bit wordy on Gargano’s end. I thought that was a positive because it was a good reboot of Gargano back to being the white meat babyface to white meat all babyfaces. Gargano was great and I felt that it was smart to chronicle his journey especially for viewers who have his recent tweener/heel run in their minds. Cole was an expert foil here. He smartly pointed out the flaws in Gargano’s promo so that Gargano could tie the loose ends that Cole would bring up. Gargano had great responses to things like having a poor Takeover record, being given the title shot automatically, and not looking like the hands-on favorite.
NXT TV Misses:
Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke: This segment wasn’t horrible. It was rather pretty repetitive and cookie cutter. We’ve seen this segment two or three times already even including Vanessa Borne and Aliyah in the crossfire in multiple iterations of this formula run-in. Baszler did a solid job explaining that she’s doing the repetition on purpose, but that doesn’t help from an entertainment standpoint because there were no new details or intrigue added. Samoa Joe did this a few years ago in NXT and his match interference beatdowns were much more memorable (who can forget his beatdown of the legendary Dan Matha, who we haven’t seen on NXT TV in two years since). This would have been better if Baszler choked out Kacy and Lacey by herself to bring parallelism to what she did to her Takeover opponents a few weeks ago. Ultimately it’s WWE trying to rush Duke and Shafir to the main roster that continues to be a bane on the Horsewomen’s run-in. Baszler is better by herself.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest PCO, who discusses the ROH and NJPW G1 Supercard event that will be held on April 6 at MSG, taking crazy bumps at age 51, what he still wants to accomplish in pro wrestling, and much more.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...