NXT returned to us last night (July 3) as they build their way to TakeOver: Toronto. You can find all the results at the live blog here.
Mia Yim def. Aliyah (w/Vanessa Borne)
After the match, Mia tosses Borne into the ring steps. Then she marches to the announce table to tell Shayna she’s coming for that title.
This was a fine match. Not bad but honestly not something that stuck out too much. Which is good in the sense it wasn’t bad. But it feels like neither of these women have had a memorial match in NXT.
Aliyah is certainly coming along with her new character, but right now this feels like the spot of the card she maxes out at. It’s not a bad spot, but it’s a distance from the championship scene. But NXT is all about trying to find that thing to take you to another level.
Mia hasn’t had any very memorable matches either. Her last match with Shayna was probably the best. Her series with Bianca Belair was a good mesh of personalities, but the matches were just OK.
It really looks like Mia is going to get the next title shot against Shayna, which should be a decent feud, but it feels like this one is going to need more work to build it up compared to Shayna’s feuds with Kairi Sane, Io Shirai, and Bianca Belair. They have plenty of time to tell the right story to make this feel bigger.
The Forgotten Sons barge into William Regals’ office to demand a title match. Regal recalls them getting themselves disqualified last week, which puts them at the back of the queue. The GM makes a match between The Brit-Am Brawlers & the Street Profits for the titles next week.
It’s good to see that the Sons DQ last week that was meant to prevent them from getting sent to the back of the line sent them to the back of the line anyway. That’s what a good babyface GM should do.
I fully expect to see them interrupt the tag match next week and eventually get right back in the title picture, though. It almost feels too predictable, but the tag scene has been a parade of interruptions as of late.
Adam Cole’s Bay Bay Championship Celebration Tour continues. He goes into Frank Gargano’s restaurant to pick up a few pizza. While there, puts a signed picture of himself on the wall. He then goes to a local wrestling school to talk trash about Johnny Garagno, and tells all the students there to give up.
Wrestling has ruined me. Because of all the terrible things we’ve seen people do to the family’s of their enemies, Adam’s antics felt tame here. Putting his picture on his wall? That’s nothing, buddy. Try a home invasion with a sledgehammer and then get back to me.
In all serious, Adam Cole continues to be a perfect douche. It’s because he’s not going too far with it that this works. He’s the right amount of scumbag without it seeming too over the top like these things normally are. Because it’s not spectacle, which steals the focus, it focuses on how Cole is just not a good dude.
But those students got free pizza!
KUSHIDA def. Jeff Parker
They are really selling KUSHIDA as a submission master, especially on commentary. That is the entire point of squashes like these. It’s to show us what to expect with KUSHIDA, and that’s a in-ring technician that can pick his opponents apart.
It’ll be interesting to see how that style matches up with all the other talent on the roster. I’d like to see him face Matt Riddle at one point, but I’m always for more Riddle matches.
Cameron Grimes def. Isiah “Swerve” Scott
This week gave us another strong match from the breakout tournament.
I was surprised to see Grimes get the W here because, while I love the former Trevor Lee, “Swerve” Scott is a star in the making.
I’ve never seen Scott wrestle without a mask, having only been exposed to his work in Lucha Underground. Without the mask, the man oozes confidence and poise. Couple that with all he can do in the ring, and he’s got all the potential to succeed in NXT.
Not to take anything away from Grimes. He looked very good here. They did a good job selling his grittier style. And given that Swerve will be just fine even with the loss, it’s probably a better idea to allow Cameron to advance further to showcase him more.
Bianca Belair def. Zuniga
This was such a great enhancement match. Zuniga tried to step to Bianca and Belair made her pay for it.
It was a perfect way to remind folks that Bianca Belair is still a force in NXT. It showed off her attitude, her aggression, and her power. The message sent was “Don’t forget about me.” (And maybe don’t pie face Bianca Belair.)
Roderick Strong def. Tyler Breeze
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish distracted Breeze to allow Roddy to win.
In his short time back, Tyler Breeze is now 0-3 in NXT. This, of course, is by design.
The story they are telling is one of Breeze testing himself to see if he can hang with the new crop of NXT. And so far, he cannot. This will eventually come to a head, whether it be a heel turn because the other way wasn’t working, or the beginning of an underdog journey from the bottom to the top.
Meanwhile, Strong needs to keep picking up wins since he’ll likely face Velveteen Dream for the North American title at TakeOver. It would fit into the story of the ERA possibly winning all the title like they promised so long ago.
So in the end, this main event, which was obviously enjoyable given the talent involved, set up two different paths to follow: Tyler’s struggle to prove he still belongs here and Roddy playing his part in the ERA’s journey to win all the titles.
We’re early in those journeys, but they should be intriguing.
This was a solid episode, though mainly spent setting up bigger things for later.
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