By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong in a non-title match: Technique-wise, this was a Takeover worthy match. The overbooked finish and Strong’s reintroduction as a singles wrestler are two factors that would keep it from being on an actual Takeover card, but that’s where storyline development would come into play if they want to go that direction. Speaking of Strong, it was good to see him back as a singles wrestler because you forget how this guy stands out by implementing offense you don’t see from other wrestlers. Most notably, how he focuses his entire moveset around innovative backbreakers. The post match stuff may seem overbooked, but everything was logical in setting up dissension within the Undisputed Era.
The War Raiders vs. The Street Profits in a non-title match: I’m not being stubborn on this one. NXT labeled their tag champions as the War Raiders and by the names of Hanson and Ray Rowe. What’s interesting enough, was they dubbed new commentary last week replacing all War Raiders references with “The Viking Experience”. I wonder if they recorded Viking Experience commentary only to have Vince McMahon go on his micromanaging sprees in changing them to Viking Raiders. I don’t blame them for just going back to the original commentary. I’m wasting too much time on The Viking Experience. The Match! It was a fun match! The match only lasted around five minutes, but everything was fast paced. The Profits really set that pace well by jumping the gun on War Raiders with the early dives and pinfall attempts. Montez Ford got to shine too, especially in that moment where he lifted Hanson into a suplex. Hanson looks like he may weigh more than 100 lbs. over Ford. Hopefully we see this again. Maybe at a Takeover? Maybe the Profits dethrone The Experience? (Yes, I still love calling them the Experience after last week’s memes.)
Candice LeRae and Kacy Catanzaro vs. Vanessa Borne and Aliyah: A minor Hit for the showcase win for LeRae and Catanzaro. Catanzaro is probably not ready for television and this was a smart way to hide her weaknesses behind an experienced wrestler in LeRae (WWE has done this in the past with wrestlers like Otis Dozovic, Tino Sabatelli, Montez Ford, and others). Catanzaro did get to look really good in short spurts and showed that her parkour background will allow her to do things other wrestlers can’t.
Jaxson Ryker vs. Humberto Carrillo: This may be Jaxson Ryker’s best match in NXT. It wasn’t the best thing in the world, but Ryker got to show some good aggression here. Carrillo was his usual fun flying self. Carrillo always seems to get an extra few inches of air compared to other luchadores. He reminds me of old school Mistico before Mistico started to suck (I kid, I kid). Anyway, that flying also makes him take punishment well and Ryker was very violent here. The problem is still the Forgotten Sons act being very dead in the water at this point. I always said that they needed a new member (I proposed Lacey Evans at one point) because the Blake and Cutler combination only drags the team down. Maybe they can go full military and swap Blake for Shane Strickland, but even then, Strickland isn’t the most instantly charismatic person in the world either despite his touted reputation.
NXT TV Misses
Mia Yim: Not the worst thing in the world, but it was random and hard to figure out what she was going for. I’m guessing she’s trying to build towards a match against Bianca Belair? She’s also talking about how she should be next in line for Shayna Baszler. Why? Doesn’t she lose more often than not and didn’t she lose last to Baszler? The logic and structure of this interview was just off.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Dave Lagana discussing Saturday’s NWA Crockett Cup pay-per-view, the NWA’s relationship with Ring of Honor, the future of the NWA, and more.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...