by James Toal
It’s that time once again, time to check out the latest offerings from NXT. It’s been a long week waiting for another episode to come out. After battling laptop issues and transferring data the size of several copies of War and Peace, I’m looking forward to an exciting and worthwhile 58 minutes of pure wrestling fun. So, how did this all hold up? Let’s dive right in to take a look.
The first thing we see before the opening credits roll is William Regal. He announced that Nikki Cross will get another chance to enter the Women’s championship match at NXT TakeOver, and that the Authors of Pain will get their Tag Team Championship rematch next week. I don’t say it enough, but I do love Regal as the general manager of NXT. He fits this role so well and can bring a sense of authority without coming across as being superior to you. Keep on doing what you’re doing Regal, it’s brilliant
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Tino Sabbotelli & Riddick Moss
Ah yes! This is a match made in heaven. Lorcan and Burch as a team make so much sense to me, and the narrative that reached this point worked well too. The respect they share for each other is there on display, to make them a tag team is just the icing on the cake. Looking to the other team in this match though, and all I see is Vince McMahon’s wet dream. Sabbotelli and Moss don’t really seem to have that much chemistry. Hell, they barely have personalities. I don’t care what they do, do you?
The match got off to a great start as we immediately saw Oney get involved and the crowd eating it all up. As the match went to the heel side, Danny Burch tried to get momentum back to his team. With one swift hot tag, Oney went on a rampage, knocking everything down in his path. But, Moss caught Oney off guard, after a devastating throw into the bottom turnbuckle and tag team action, the newly formed team of Burch and Lorcan lost in their debut.
The boring team won, and the genuinely interesting team lost. That’s one way to leave me feeling disappointed at the beginning of the show. At least Burch and Lorcan took the loss well and looked ready to take on their next challenge. I’ll admire that, but let’s not get into the habit of making them lose, okay?
Battle Royal: Fourth Spot for the Women’s Championship Match at NXT TakeOver (That’s a mouthful)
Unsurprisingly, we have a decent chunk of the competitors from the Mae Young Classic taking part in this. As well as some NXT regulars like Billie Kay, Aliyah, and of course Nikki Cross who William Regal had mentioned previously. The battle got underway and Conti was the first to go, a little payback from last week for Cross. However, this led to the two of them scrapping on the outside and left Nikki recovering by the steel steps.
The match rolled as one by one each wrestler was eliminated. Rhea Ripley, Zeda, Dakota Kai, and Aliyah were all eliminated before Nikki Cross came back in and laid every member in the Royal out. One huge leap from the top turnbuckle and bodies hit the floor. She continued to clean house as Vanessa Borne, Sage Becket, Santana Garret, and Abbey Laith were all eliminated by the unhinged member of Sanity. The match then became subdued as Billie Kay focussed her attention on Cross, while each member of the match tried their best to eliminate each other. Mercedes Martinez threw out Sarah Logan, Lacey Evans was taken out by Candice Larae, who was then power lifted by Bianca Belair and tossed to the outside.
Billie Kay would’ve lost her shot if she hadn’t managed to grab Bianca’s’ hair to avoid hitting the floor. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that before so it earns points for creativity. However, you could say Bianca wasn’t too pleased with her hair being used as a rope. She then proceeded to wail on Kay, which didn’t look that hard to sell for the pain, to be honest. Martinez and Belair were both eliminated by Cross, and after some delay eliminated Billie Kay. In all honesty, this wasn’t too bad of a Battle Royal. The big highlights were mainly to do with Nikki and Billie Kay which carried the story suitably.
Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, and Kairi Sane stood in the ring looking determined to win that belt. Cannot wait to see who’ll win this (it’ll be Kairi, but I’m okay with that).
Drew McIntyre was about to leave for a press tour until Zelina Vega interrupted to once again put Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas in the running for the title, but Drew reiterated that all Andrade needs to do is look McIntyre in the eye and ask for a shot. This begs the question, why doesn’t Andrade do that? Is his ego that big? I thought Zelina fixed all that? Just tell him how you feel Andrade!
Aleister Black was in action this week until he was assaulted by the Velveteen Dream. The Dream tied him up, slapped Black, and demanded him to say his name… yes, I’m acknowledging the elephant in the room. This is still one of the best feuds that NXT has got right now, it just keeps building and building all while Black continues to refuse attention for the Dream. How far will they go?
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas w/ Zelina Vega vs Rodrick Strong
Zelina Vega started speaking for Andrade once more, saying that Drew is ducking Andrade. You could argue this to be true. But as we’ve said before, all he needs to do is ask him face to face. They’re making this more difficult than it needs to be. In any case, the match went underway into a seemingly even matchup.
Andrade’s improved attitude showed development, his cockier tactics were put to good use and used to his advantage. This created unique offensive techniques and good to see character progression done in the ring as well as the promos by Vega. The match continued back and forth as Strong and Almas strived to gain momentum. Strong turned the tide and everything seemed to be going well for him. But he didn’t count on one thing, and neither did I.
Zelina Vega hit a hurricanrana on Strong into the steps, Almas hit his Hammerlock DDT and walked away with the win. Vega singlehandedly produced the biggest pop of the night and proved that she’s more than able to bring more to the table than her speeches. Zelina grabbed the mic on the commentary table and once again addressed Drew McIntyre. Maybe they will be meeting sooner than we think. The final moments of NXT had the Undisputed Era come down to the ring to once again appeal to Rodrick Strong. Adam Cole offered an armband, Strong accepted it but still looking unsure of the decision he needs to make.
Some highs, some lows, but overall it was a decent episode of NXT. Burch and Lorcan should’ve won (I’m not bitter), The Battle Royal built up the match at NXT TakeOver excellently, and the stories we’ve currently got are progressing naturally. In the end, I can’t be mad with how NXT is working at the moment.