NXT returned to us last night as they build their way to TakeOver: Phoenix in a couple weeks. You can find all the results at the live blog here.
The Street Profits def. the Metro Brothers
After the match they are attacked by the Forgotten Sons.
I am possibly in the minority when it comes to the Street Profits, but they’ve never done much for me. They’re certainly fun at times, and Montez Ford is very impressive, but their comedy bits and feuds with the Mighty & Sabbatelli/Moss did little get me interested. And while Ford has loads of charisma just waiting to turn heads, Angelo Dawkins doesn’t match up in that category.
Tonight, they showed more aggression, which is a step in the right direction, though a squash win over Deuce & Domino part II isn’t going to be the answer. It felt like a work in progress when it came to the angrier aspect of their characters, which is what the developmental aspect of NXT is all about. But it’s an addition that can certainly benefit the duo.
That’s why the Forgotten Son’s brutal, unprovoked post-match attack can be really good. It gets heat on the heel stable for attacking the duo who was just celebrating in the crowd. And it gives the Profits something to really get angry about. That may be the best thing that’s happened to them.
Two feuds were represented via three video packages this week.
Aleister Black cut a green screen promo suggesting he and Tommaso Ciampa start their fight a little early. It was fine. Nothing to write home about. The champ’s respond was his usually great work, denying the challenger a meeting prior to Phoenix. He also put himself over as the puppet master (a name Black gave him) and claimed Aleister is his puppet. Tommaso is just doing superb work right now.
The War Raiders also had promo outdoors burning some things accenting their viking theme. It actually worked given their more somewhat cartoonish gimmick.
Bianca Belair’s promo claiming she’s winning the title in two weeks is interrupted by Shayna Baszler with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir at her side. The champ claims Belair is scared about what she’s going to do to her, including changing “Un-de-fea-ted” to “Ov-er-rated.” This gets a dueling chant from the crowd.
Belair eyes the horsewoman, and Baszler backs them off, telling the challenger that she doesn’t need to worry about them, just her. When Shayna turns back around, Belair slaps her across the face. Bianca then avoids Duke & Shafir and leaves the ring.
Bianca Belair is so good. Her attitude is evident in her walk, in the ring, and when she talks. While she’s just a bit rough around the edges when just standing there with a mic cutting a promo in front of the crowd, that attitude and charisma that makes her so special is very evident.
Her confidence while staring down the equally confident Baszler lived up. She wasn’t going to buy into Shayna’s threats, even if the champ has backed them up. She wasn’t going to be scared of Duke & Shafir. She’s Bianca m*****f****n’ Belair.
I’m very much looking forward to this match at Phoenix. The mash up of attitudes in front of a hot crowd will make this quite the experience. This will be Bianca’s greatest test, but at the same time, Shayna has never faced someone this full of confidence.
Dominik Dijakovic def. Adrian Jaoude
This was a fine match. They made sure to have Jaoude look good but obviously put Dijakovic in the end. But I have an axe to grind here.
Why in the world would they ever give a wrestler an in-ring name no one can pronounce? It’s such a mouthful! Honestly, the NXT announcers struggle with it. And it’s completely unnecessary. Just give him a version of Dijak that’s easier to say.
Johnny Gargano def. Humberto Carrillo
After the match, Johnny looks in the camera and tells Ricochet that if he wants his respect, turn up next week.
The newcomer Carrillo really got an opportunity to show off what he could do and took advantage. It is a good use of a match who’s outcome we all knew prior to the opening bell. Johnny turned things around quickly after taking a sustained beating, which a good wrestler should be able to do.
Next week, we’ll get a face to face between Johnny and Ricochet ahead of their title match, which should be good.
Kassius Ohno def. Keith Lee with a low blow (when the ref took a bump) and spinning elbow.
After the match, Matt Riddle, who wasn’t cleared to be ringside, runs out and chases off Ohno.
This may have been a Keith Lee/Kassius Ohno match, but this main event was all about Matt Riddle. Lee served as Riddle’s surrogate since the Bro wasn’t cleared after his beatdown at the hands of Ohno the other week.
The match was an athletic hoss fight, which is one of the best kind of matches there is. Yes, Lee lost his second match in a row, but he was totally protected in that dirty finish. Ohno needed the win if he is going to face Riddle again. And really, they need to keep Kassius strong enough since he’s doing great work as the frustrated veteran.
Angry, fired up Riddle outrunning security to the ring was fantastic. Laid back, chill Bro is good, but the passionate one we got a glimpse of tonight was great. Having both aspects of this personality is a key to him going places.
Having three matches in a short period of time, but now the third match has a different dynamic. We’ve seen Matt fight Ohno without that fire. What can he do now that he’s pissed off?
This was a solid show, though outside the women’s title, there were all the secondary and tertiary stories in NXT.
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