By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai: Another good match between Shirai and Baszler that would have fit right in on a Takeover card. Mauro Ranallo set up Baszler’s offense very well by talking about how Baszler’s wheelhouse was in cage fighting due to her past in MMA/Strikeforce. Baszler delivered on that front by utilizing the cage to the fullest as a weapon. Shirai was great in being Baszler’s ragdoll while also being very good in her moments on offense. The heel turn made sense and was logical given how Shirai came off very petty at the end of Takeover: Bridgeport.
Keith Lee vs. Nicos Ricos: A minor Hit. Lee looks good in another squash and the best part of the match was Nicos, speaking of ragdolls, becoming a flying ragdoll after Lee’s pounce. Here’s hoping NXT puts him in an actual program soon or at least puts him in a program that they don’t abruptly cancel (like his feud with Dominik Dijakovic).
Kushida: A simple promo with Kushida laying out his WWE mission statement, saying that he came to WWE to wrestle against top tier competition. It’s a very simple and common mission statement, but allowing Kushida to deliver it from his own mouth gives a character to the performer. NXT had done a solid job in the past few weeks with bringing back the vignettes to flush out their characters. Hopefully NXT continues to do this for other wrestlers on their roster.
Joaquin Wilde vs. Angel Garza: An extremely fun match that set the pace for this Breakout Tournament. This was also a fun showcase of two former Impact Wrestling standouts (who may or may not have wrestled before due to being in the same company). Just like the Kushida promo, the pre-match pre-tapes did a good job establishing Wilde’s and Garza’s characters. Wilde has an inspiring real life journey as a pro wrestler that involved many life and career-ending scares, only to have miracles happen to continue his wrestling journey. Garza talked about how pretty he is, which gave Beth Phoenix fuel to point out how arrogant Garza comes off (whereas his cousin is more humble about his good looks). I’m still not a huge fan of the spot but at least Garza’s pants rip spot didn’t make the babyface look stupid, because this time he did it while Wilde was knocked out and as a mocking tactic. Nigel McGuinness gets a Hit for yelling “cover your eyes!” the moment Garza decided to strip.
The Street Profits vs. Forgotten Sons for the NXT Tag Titles: At least the Profits looked really good coming out, but what does this do for the team of Blake and Cutler? Ford had the visual pinfall over Cutler only to have Jaxson Ryker jump in and cause the DQ. What made things worse was the Profits destroying this team in under two minutes. From a logical perspective, why are Blake and Cutler even wrestling? Jaxson Ryker and one other Son should be teaming because Ryker is the strongest fighter of the group. The Sons really need that retooling. Another odd part of the match was the confusion over this being a title match or not.
Wilde’s Bromans Chant: Ba ba ba baugh. This probably annoys me more than most people, because I’ve been reviewing this guy for years and he still hasn’t dropped his Bro Mans’ battle cry. He’s mentioned before that he did this chant as a heel to come off as a douchey clubber. I’ve never really understood why he continues to do it as a babyface. Even as a heel, it was more annoying go-away heat than “damn you” heat. As three individual performers, I was a huge proponent of Bro Mans. I thought Impact could have built the division around Wilde as a heel and Robbie E had world champion potential coming off his run on Amazing Race. Robbie E has apparently dropped his Jersey Shore Bromans persona at NXT Live events, so why can’t Zema Ion finally drop his relics of the lame Bro Man faction?
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz of the Between The Ropes podcast discussing WWE’s creative and ratings struggles, Bray Wyatt following the Firefly Funhouse, WWE Stomping Grounds, NJPW G1 Opening Night, and ROH’s issues, what would happen if AEW opted to run head-to-head with WWE Raw, and much more.