OPENING SEGMENT- good
Lio Rush says that now that they have kicked Raw and SD’s butts at Survivor Series, they ae going to celebrate. Then everyone came out and had a party. I didn’t watch Survivor Series for a reason. I hate this “brand loyalty, brand supremacy” bullsh*t, and that is mostly because I just don’t buy that any of these wrestlers are possibly that loyal to the specific TV show they are placed on (and the key word is “placed,” because no one other than Brock seems to have had a say in the matter). On the bright side, at least the people coming out to celebrate here felt like they were actually all getting together to celebrate something and they had the whole roster out there, rather than the big stupid scripted grand speeches we get from Raw and Smackdown every year.
Undisputed Era came out to take all of the credit for NXT’s victory, saying that they are NXT, not anyone else, and calling everyone else lazy. Their four opponents from War Games wound up in the ring and promos were cut back and forth leading to the revelation (to me anyway) that Lee & Dijakovic are getting a tag title shot tonight. Ciampa also said that Roddy’s days as champ were numbered and that no one could stand in the way of him winning the title back.
Ciampa’s promo was great, but I really didn’t like visual of the four guys from War Games being the only ones in the ring while all of the others had to stand on the floor in the background, as it made it feel like War Games didn’t solve anything, and made all of those others feel like complete and total nobodies. Why not let someone else speak up? How about Lio Rush, who won an interbrand match for NXT? Unfortunately all of NXT’s other wins were women’s matches and you can’t have them cut promos on UE because it can’t ever lead to anything), or Roddy, but you could still have Rush cut a promo and have a group of volunteers step up and book an eight-man tag and use that to start a new program when one of the new people pins a member of UE.
Anyway, right after Ciampa said that no one could stand in his way Finn Balor came out and did literally that, coming off like the world’s biggest badass. Words were exchanged, leading to a challenge for a match. Lee then took the mic and said there was no reason to waste any more time before the tag title match, then finished it off by telling everyone that “it’s basking season.” I REALLY hope that get turned into his catchphrase, because it’s utterly terrible.
NXT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly)(c) vs. Keith Lee & Dominic Dijakovic- 6.75/10
UE jumped the bell o the babyfaces. Fish got injured when Lee threw him out of the ring to the floor… so apparently UE were allowed to just witch Roddy in in the middle of the match. That doesn’t seem very fair. If Fish is the legal man and is too injured to continue, that should be a victory via referee stoppage for Lee & Dijakovic, shouldn’t it?
The match was very good, other than hat one logical issue, and the finish. Finish saw Cole try to interfere but get POUNCED into what I really hope were a group of plants in the first second, and third row. While sounds really cool (and looked really cool, too), what is not cool is that Dijakovic was so awed by this that Roddy and Kyle just walked up to him and hit him with their finisher to get the pin. This made Dijakovic look like a moron.
Mauro isn’t here tonight. He is being replaced by Tom Phillips.
They showed us a recap of the Dakota Kai turn, as well as telling us she was fined for putting her hands on General Manager William Regal and a Tweet from Tegan Nox responding to the betrayal and vowing to get answers.
CATHY KELLEY INTERVIEWS CANDICE LERAE- good, but…
It’s not Candice’s fault, as she did a good job of delivering the line she was given, but since when does Candice consider Tegan Nox to be her “sister” and someone who “might as well be my own blood?” It’s weird when this sort of thing comes out of nowhere, and this is actually the second time when someone has suddenly been Candice’s best friend ever just this year alone (Io was the first). It makes her character seem a little creepy, like she attaches herself to people a lot more strongly than she should given what we’ve ssen.
FOOTAGE OF LIO RUSH SALPPING ANGEL GARZA IN THE FACE BACKSTAGE AFTER GARZA’S MATCH WITH ISAIAH SCOTT ON THE TAKEOVER PRE-SHOW- good segment
SHANE THORNE vs. MANSOOR- 3/10
This was excellent for the three minutes it got.
CANDICE LERAE vs. DAKOTA KAI- 6.75/10
Dakota’s new look is definitely better for a heel than her babyface look was. She is also carrying Tegan Nox’s knee brace around as a trophy of her dastardly betrayal. They were having a good, solid match until Kai got herself DQed for hitting Candice with the knee brace. This didn’t bother me as much as other similar DQs normally would. I think it has something to do with Dakota’s intensity and the timing of it (as a counter to a dive, instead of just getting the weapon and hitting Candice with it) that makes it feel more like a natural finish and less like a “we really want to book the match bit don’t actually want to beat either wrestler” finish.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- very good
Dakota beat Candice up and went to hit her with a chair but Rhea Ripley came flying in to make the save and chased Dakota away with the chair.
CATHY KELLEY INTERVIEWS TOMMASO CIAMPA- good promo by Ciampa to build up the main event
CAMERON GRIMES VIDEO PACKAGE- GREAT!
NXT CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Lio Rush(c) vs. Akira Tozawa- 8/10
Why is Tozawa getting a title shot? Sure, he didn’t get pinned at Survivor Series, but it’s not like he did anything to earn that shot, either. He’s also coming out with a Raw t-shirt, like he actually cares what show he is on even though Survivor Series isn’t for another eleven months. This would be good if the idea that he would care which show he was on wasn’t so completely preposterous.
That being said, the match was awesome, and my new goal in life is to make you all regret not supporting 205 Live during the nineteen months when it was the best wrestling show in the world every single week.
CATHY KELLEY INTERVIEWS FINN BALOR- decent promo by Balor to build up the main event
VANESSA BOURNE vs. XIA LI- no rating, great segment
Aliyah is not at ringside with Vanessa because the last time we saw Aliyah, Xia kicked her nose right off of her face. That is also the reason this match has been booked, as Vanessa is looking to avenge her friend’s ruined face.
Li won quickly, even though the Horsewomen came out to try to distract her. The Horsewomen attacked her after the match and Xia put up a valiant fight but was eventually overwhelmed. Li vs. Baszler would be an interesting clash of styles.
Shayna proceeded to cut a promo bragging about winning the main event of Survivor Series and passing the one-year mark as champion. The fans all chanted for Rhea Ripley, who soon came out and promos were exchanged, ending with Rhea daring Shayna to trying backing her words up right now, and Shayna backing down.
DAMIAN PRIEST INJURY VIDEO PACKAGE- his ribs are injured, but he’ll be cleared to wrestle by next week when he is booked against Killian Dain.
TOMMASO CIAMPA vs. FINN BALOR- 7.5/10
Cole interfered to help Balor win. I’m sure others will like this more than me, and I think a big reason for that might be that I just don’t buy Ciampa as a babyface. He feels like a heel who is aligned with the babyfaces because his current goal is to get the title back from the heel who has it. It’s a good dynamic to have, but it does have its drawbacks.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- GREAT!
Unlike the last time Balor did this sort of thing, I saw this one coming miles away, but it was just as great. Just like I don’t buy Ciampa’s alliance with the bayfaces as being anything more than self-interested manipulation, Balor’s alliance with Undisputed Era never felt any different, and that paid off wonderfully right here. That being said, if we’re building to a three-way for the title, I’d have rather seen a clean draw here, and saved the big Balor turn on Cole for later on in the build.
This was a very good episode of NXT, mixing in some great wrestling and great segments with important storyline advancement. Even the matches that weren’t very good were at least good for the time they were given.
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