By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Keith Lee vs. Damien Priest: A nice match between two big men with different body types and yet they were able to keep up with each other in terms of producing a fast paced match. One of the highlights was when the match became a martial arts movie for a bit after both men struck fighting poses leading to many jumps and dodges. I wonder if Lee comes out as a heel in the end because he’s expressing the same complaints as Shane Thorne in terms of new stars passing him by.
Io Shirai: Her match with Kacy Catanzaro wasn’t much. Kacy was squashed 100 percent and the match ended in a non-finish due to Candice LeRae running out as expected to set up a match between her and Shirai. The Hit goes into Shirai’s second night as the Black Lotus character she used in Lucha Underground during the two episodes she showed up on their television series. I’m all in on “Black Lotus” Io Shirai. Her entrance is cool, she’s pissing and moaning withe fans about not wanting friends, and she’s kicking the asses of the lovable babyfaces. I feel like there’s this allure to her now, so much that I’m afraid that in a few months that people are going to start cheering this intriguing character. Black Lotus Io is money. This Io also kicked Pentagon Jr’s ass with a clean win in her only LU match, so she must be badass.
Mia Yim: Again, a very heelish move to beat up a person changing their clothes after a workout. This was after Yim beat up a person by yanking them out of their car Grand Theft Auto style. That said, I think this really works for Yim as a babyface with a unique edge to her. I remember Impact Wrestling trying hard to push Yim as the next Gail Kim-like heroic babyface. Jason Powell and I discussed this through our Impact Roster Evaluation at the time and we both felt that Yim as white-meat was very “fake” and she should embrace being rough around the edges. The moment she did that in Impact, feuding with Rosemary, was the moment she finally clicked with the audience. I feel she’s starting to connect a similar way in NXT. It really helps that a bit of this rough neck character was flushed out in her documentary piece talking about how her ethnic background put her in quite a pickle, being a child living in during the Rodney King Riots time period. Yim’s doing divide and conquer here and it’s easy to get behind.
Jordan Myles vs. Angel Garza in a Breakout Tournament semifinal match: Another good showcase for some new NXT talent. Jordan Myles is starting to win me over by not going overboard with the weeaboo stuff (Again, I support my fellow Otaku like Keith Lee, Shane Thorne, Killian Dain, Mansoor, TJP, Xavier Woods, etc.; But ACH always annoyed me with how overboard he would his go with his love for Japan. I’m just glad he’s no longer from “Planet Vegeta”, oh gawd). The finish shocked me a bit because I thought Garza was going to be the one going through. For one, he’s a really good all-around package with the charisma and family heritage. I also thought he would match up best against Cameron Grimes or Bronson Reed. Garza was great and was rocking a more heelish gimmick here, which he did well.
Nigel McGuinness: A minor Hit for his various jabs at Beth Phoenix in regards to Angel Garza. Beth is married to Edge so this adds more comedy to the jokes. Another Hit for Nigel going into detail about Angel’s underwear out of nowhere by saying “Oh. It’s gold this week!”. Part of why I like Nigel, in addition to his very violent slugfests he used to have as a wrestler, is that he would crack similar comments and jokes like I would, which makes it easy for my recap writing sometimes.
NXT TV Misses
Bianca Belair vs. Xia Li: The match was fine and ended exactly how it should, with Belair dominating 90 percent of the match. That said, this didn’t necessarily have to have to happen and Bianca is obviously in wheel spinning mode. Maybe she’s awaiting a call-up since her husband is appearing prominently on Raw these days.