FINN BALOR IS MISSING!- He was supposed to face The Velveteen Dream in tonight’s main event, but there was some sort of disturbance in his locker room and he is now nowhere to be found. Was he attacked? If so, by whom? TVD, Undisputd Era, and Imperium are all potential suspects. Or maybe it was another unprovoked attack from behind by Killer Kross, just like the one Tommaso Ciampa suffered at the end of last week’s show. Or is he the latest victim of the luchadors who have been abducting people lately? Or maybe, as the announcers made sure to float out there for us, it could just be Balor playing mind games. Either way, the main event is now off.
OPENING SEGMENT- good
The Velveteen Dream came out, dressed vaguely like Finn Balor, and cut a promo complaining about being “stood up” by Balor tonight. Adam Cole came out and accused TVD of taking Balor out, as Balor vs. TVD looked to be a presumptive #1 contendership match. Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong then came out of the crowd and attacked TVD from behind. Undisputed Era beat TVD down for a bit until Keith Lee came out to make the save.
DAKOTA KAI & RAQUEL GONZALEZ vs. TEGAN NOX & SHOTZI BLACKHEART- 3/10
Just when I thought Shotzi Blackheart couldn’t be any more annoying, she now has a dumb giant skull on the front of that stupid bumper-cars tank she rides down to the ring.
The match was short and mostly happened during a commercial, but Shotzi lost, so at least there was that. Even more than Shotzi losing, I liked that Gonzalez has brought back one of my all-time favorite finishers: Lance Archer’s old Texas Towerbomb from his Lance Hoyt days in TNA.
Undisputed Era has been booked against Keith Lee & TVD in tonight’s new main event.
DRAKE MAVERICK VIDEO PACKAGE- F*CKING AMAZING!
Basically, he’s been released from his WWE contact, so he NEEDS to win this tournament to have a chance at staying in WWE.
JAKE ATLAS INTRODUCTORY VIDEO PACKAGE- fine
INTERIM NXT CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE TOURNAMENT GROUP A MATCH: Drake Maverick vs. Jake Atlas- 6.5/10
A solid introduction to Atlas as an in-ring talent, but seeing Maverick lose is so sad. But that was probably the point, as this now REALLY makes me want to see him win his next two.
MCKENZIE MITCHELL INTERVIEWS JAKE ATLAS- He was distracted by Drake Maverick being helped to the back by the referee and looked so broken up about having to beat Maverick.
DAMIAN PRIEST VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO ON KEITH LEE- great!
He says he doesn’t care about any of that sob-story stuff we saw about Keith Lee last week and claims that Lee has been hand-picking tomato cans he knows he can beat (Grimes, Dijakovic). The only time that Lee hasn’t picked his opponents was the three-way with Priest and Dijakovic, and Lee had to pin Dijakovic to win that match because he can’t beat Damian Priest.
KUSHIDA VIDEO PACKAGE- fine
He wants to bring exposure to the Cruiserweight Division all around the world.
TONY NESE VIDEO PACKAGE- great
INTERIM NXT CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE TOURNAMENT GROUP A MATCH: Tony Nese vs. KUSHIDA- 7.75/10
The story was Nese needing to rely on his power while KUSHIDA needed to rely on his technical prowess because they were evenly matches in terms of athleticism.
MCKENZIE MITCHELL INTERVIEWS MATT RIDDLE & TIMOTHY THATCHER- Okay… Riddle made Thatcher slightly uncomfortable by talking about how “beautiful” he was, but also managed to annoy him by revealing that he was only saying that because Thatcher reminded him of Pete Dunne, so we’re planting the seems for a break-up already.
A NEW KILLER KROSS VIDEO- Scarlett Bordeaux is narrating these now. No new information was revealed. I’m getting kind of annoyed with this stuff. If you’re not going to tell me anything useful about you then at least show up and start wrestling.
JOHNNY GARGANO & CANDICE LERAE VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- FANTASTIC!
They were eating dinner together. They had Gargano’s cup sitting there on the dinner table. No, not that kind of cup. The cup he wore during the match with Ciampa. Ick.
Basically, they’re both sick and tired of people taking advantage of their kindness and good-heartedness, and terrible people like Tommaso Ciampa reap all of the benefits. They each had their points and in some ways they almost feel justified (especially Candice). In addition to being twisted and bitter towards NXT, they were also great heels by being so damn insufferable with their relationship. It was very well done. The only negative was that stupid, pointless video effect they used from time to time. That and Candice darkening her and hair switching to black lipstick now that she’s a heel. It doesn’t fit with their promo, which was about how they’re the real “good guys.”
Also, they want to be champions together as a married couple? It’s been a long time since I’ve used this one, but #BRMBookedItFirst.
IO SHIRAI VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- awesome!
Great built to her title match against Charlotte.
MCKENZIE MITCHELL INTERVIEWS DRAKE MAVERICK- awesome!
He’s sitting in a stairwell, on the verge of tears. He says “every other athlete in this tournament is fighting their opponent. I’m fighting my opponent and myself.” He then says “maybe everyone was right about me.” No, Drake! Don’t give up! You can do it!
MIA YIM vs. JESSI KAMEA- 1/10
They gave Kamea too much offense here.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Charlotte’s line at the end about getting to return the favor and “make” Mia a star was effective, but way too much of the journey there bordered on breaking kayfabe. In kayfabe, how did Mia help “make” Charlotte a star? Is the storyline that Mia threw the match?
JACK GALLAGHER VIDEO PACKAGE/PROMO- AWESOME!
ROBERT STONE PROMO- fine
He’s presiding over Chelsea Green’s photoshoot by a pool, cutting this promo while also giving the occasional instructions to Chelsea over the photographer. If you’re interested in seeing either of these two in swimwear, this is the segment for you, as that featured prominently. Chelsea got to speak for the first time here. She said she would be the future of the NXT women’s division.
INTERIM NXT CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE TOURNAMENT GROUP B MATCH: Jack Gallagher vs. El Hijo del Fantasma- 6.5/10
El Hijo del Fantasma wins in his debut, which is the right way to go, as it not only gives the debuting guy the win, but also lets you set Gallagher on a story where he becomes more and more vicious in his later matches to try to keep his hopes alive.
MCKENZIE MITCHELL INTERVIEWS EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA- He spoke all in Spanish, so I can’t evaluate this.
Charlotte Flair vs. Mia Yim in a non-title match has been announced for next week, as has the Keith Lee defending the North American Title against Damian Priest.
LUCHADORS ATTEMPT TO ABDUCT EL HIJO DEL FANTASMA IN THE PARKING LOT- He becomes the first man to successfully fight his abductors off (although they did manage to get away with his shirt, though).
THE VELVETEEN DREAM & KEITH LEE vs. UNDISPUTED ERA (Adam Cole & Roderick Strong)(w/Bobby Fish)- no rating, bad segment
Fish was ejected from ringside early on, but while the referee was distracted with him, Damian Priest came in through the stands and hit Lee in the throat with his nightstick twice, so Lee started sputtering and choking and TVD had to wrestle alone.
Eventually Dexter Lumis jumped up onto the apron, I guess to be TVD’s new partner… which is pretty bullsh*t in my opinion. The bell rang well before Lee was taken to the back. Either the ref knows that Lee was taken out unfairly and he should have called for a DQ, or he doesn’t know, and thus no substitution should be allowed. An opponent who is unable to continue doesn’t get substituted for; it’s a win condition! And it has to be that way. If it wasn’t then any time someone on your team got their leg worked over a whole bunch, they could just say “I’m injured” and insist that a fresh wrestler come out from the back to take their place in the match. (At least the announcers weren’t totally fine with this, but it’s still something the referee should never have allowed in the first place.)
Lumis eventually got the hot tag and ran wild. Bobby Fish came back out to ringside, but even though he had been ejected from this match before, the referee did not disqualify Undisputed Era. Lumis tagged TVD back in and then dove onto Fish and Roddy, leaving TVD alone with Cole. TVD hit the Purple Rainmaker to pin the NXT Champion.
I went back and forth between “bad segment” and "dud” here settled on bad segment for two reasons. First of all, the issues were with the booking rather than choices the wrestlers made, and because the match went uncharacteristically short for an NXT main event (6:10), so I’m certain it was designed to be more of a segment than a match.
As I said above, the logic allowing this was terrible. It would have been better to have Lumis just interfere on TVD’s behalf or have Priest take Lee out before the bell, so that the referee letting a replacement partner come out to help TVD makes a lot more sense. Having Bobby Fish come back out put me over the top, though. There was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR THAT, other than so that there was an additional person to catch Lumis on his dive. If you want another person there to catch Lumis, then don’t have Fish get ejected in the first place.
This segment did accomplish several positive things (an angle for Lee vs. Priest, moving forward whatever Lumis’ deal with UE will turn out to be, and giving TVD a justification to be awarded a title shot against Cole. The first two are all well and good, but that third one could have been done a lot better. I just don’t like Cole losing so damn easily. My guess is that this was done specifically to reduce the amount of work Cole had to do because he’s either nursing an injury or because his match with TVD wound up being taped that same night. In either case, a better approach would have been to really build up to that TVD vs. Fish match they did a few weeks ago and attach a “if TVD wins, he gets a title shot” stip to it (as he will have now run through all three UE underlings). If the issue was Cole being injured then it’s better to have him not wrestle this match at all than to wrestle it and keep it short, and if it was to conserve energy for a title match being taped later this same day, then having neither of them wrestle here means they will have even more energy for the big match.
This was a very mixed show from NXT. KUSHIDA vs. Nese was great and there were a lot of awesome video packages and promos, but a lot of the wrestling was disappointing or worse. Not liking what they did with the main event leaves me with an overall negative impression of it, but there were just too many awesome promos to call this a “bad” show.
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Hold #712: ARM BAR!
FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
DGUSA Open the Northern Gate
CHIKARA Hot Off the Griddle
FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
DGUSA Open the Northern Gate
CHIKARA Hot Off the Griddle
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