The 515th edition of the best hour of wrestling all week began with a very different entrance from someone we know very well looking very different…
Io Shirai HEEL promo
A futuristic type of music began the show before a plethora of strobe-type lights proceeded the entrance of Io Shirai. The former happy, smiley Genius of the Sky was amiss of her former colorful attire and instead came out dressed all in black, if ever someone was telling us they’d turned heel before they even spoke then THIS was it (those of you who had the pleasure of seeing her for a brief time as a heel in the infamous wrestling series Lucha Underground (YouTube it I highly recommend) it reminded me of her look in that role a lot. The crowd seemed initially excited when her name and some Japanese writing initially appeared on the screen, but this quickly turned to boos. Io had a very ‘so what’ and seemed to not understand and be annoyed almost with the reception she was getting. They showed a replay of her loss to Shayna from two weeks ago and her subsequent turn on Candice LeRae. We then returned to Io who was in the ring with a stone-cold look on her face as the boos from the Full Sail crowd that once adored her continued.
Away from the mic Io shouted at the crowd in Japanese as they chanted “Io sucks”… For those who don’t know this was filmed at the start of the next day of the final set of tapings before TakeOver so this crowd was fresh and ready to go and it showed here. If this was a Raw or SmackDown crowd Io would probably be a hero, not to these fans, Full Sail played their role perfectly as always. Eventually Io spoke and said “I don’t need any friends, I don’t need any of you”. She spoke slowly and clearly and defiantly and it was really effective. There were more boos as she rolled out the ring and left up the ramp. This was short but sweet, and it worked. Excellent stuff.
Velveteen Dream press conference promo
We then went to the Velveteen Dream who was stood on some form of pedestal on a stage at Full Sail as it appeared he was wrapping up some form of press conference. He thanked all ‘journalists’ for coming and said he needed to get something off his chest, that he had heard the murmurs and he would like to answer them. One guy asked him about speculation on who would be the next challenger for the NXT North American Championship? The Dream said that he did not approve of that question and asked for the next question. Cathy Kelley could then be heard asking for the Dream’s response to Roderick Strong calling him out? Dream responded saying that was ‘an excellent question Queen Cathy’ (which is kinda cute and has become somewhat of a running thing and since… well… google it…). He continued saying ‘with love and respect you should relax Queen Cathy’ and that Roderick Strong got lucky, but he’s not ready or deserving to experience the Dream one on one. He then thanked everyone for their time and said that was enough questions and he walked off. Again simple but effective, none of this boring 20 minute bullshit, sharp and to the point (TAKE NOTES MR HEYMAN AND MR BISCHOFF)!
Damian Priest defeated Blanco Loco
He comes across as a big deal that’s for sure. The spotlight is used to great effect to… well… put the spotlight on Damian Priest. The lamb to the slaughter this week was ‘Blanco Loco’… nope, me neither. Loco got a high kick to the face, a running elbow to the corner, a falcon arrow, he briefly striked back but Priest then launched him into the ropes and then hit a big clothesline. Then he did the same again but the lariat was much cleaner. Priest hit a a type of spinning, roundhouse kick and then ‘The Reckoning’ (spinning neckbreaker) for the win. Exactly what you’d expect, but as these NXT squash matches always do this did what it needed to. Priest marches on, I’m interested to see how high up the NXT card he goes.
Killian Dain ‘Coming Soon’ promo package
We got a similar package to last week (footage via a camera projected onto a wall, war/violence being shown etc.). His throughout tone really put across his pain and anger. The camera would focus on his partially shadowed face and switch back to the footage (apparently of the Irish civil war I was informed last week so that’s cool attention to detail from NXT if so). Dain said the following :
“it’s only now that the truth is getting revealed, 10,20,30,40 years later our stories are being heard, I can tell you stories, I can tell you stories, my house being set on fire with all of us still in it, I can tell you about gang violence, I can tell you about the armored cars, the tanks, the soldiers at every street corner, we practically lived in Marshall law, I can tell you why I can’t hear in one ear, cause the car bomb that exploded at my street, I could tell you about how I’m the only surviving member of my high school class, but the difference between me and everyone else, is I haven’t forgotten, I haven’t repressed these memories these stories, I carry these stories with me, if anything I wear these stories as a badge of honor, and I tell you this because I want you to know who and what I am, I want you to know why I do the things I do, I will go right up to you, I will breathe on your face, See I had nothing, in fact everything I had was taken from me, and now I’m gonna take anything and EVERYTHING I want”
This was exceptional stuff and whoever made this video package isn’t paid enough.
NXT Breakout Tournament: Round 1 – Jordan Myles defeated Boa
I don’t even know what to say about Boa’s entrance music but it was kind of oriental, kind of country, and I liked it I think (Boa was billed from Beijing so that makes sense). Boa said he believes in himself because he’s a fan and said that his Jujitsu inspired technique is for him to know and us to find out. Jordan Myles (fka ACH and of Impact, ROH, New Japan and essentially everywhere else before WWE) was definitely more popular with the fans initially during the entrances. Myles said in his inset-video that had been doing this for 13 years and that this moment was for him to grab it. Myles smiles… a lot… Boa was in control early with a series of holds (somewhat of a theme in these round 1 matches), the pace quickened as Myles tried to get out of it and did so with a back-flip into a dropkick, Boa got back into it with some kicks and then had him held tight whilst hitting more kicks and knees, Boa stayed in charge only being stopped momentarily by a roll-up that got Myles a nearfall, but really the much taller Boa was well in control. Myles eventually began his comeback and hit some big kicks of his own, followed by some more quick offence and then a 450 splash for the win. This was the least interested I’ve been in any of these tournament matches, crowd seemed similar mood-wise to me I think as they were fairly quiet during Boa’s seemingly endless offence, but from what I saw of these two guy’s characters it was clear who was advancing and more so when Boa took 95% of the match.
NXT Women’s Champions Shayna Baszler promo
Shayna Baszler was in a media scrum and basically mocked Mia Yim’s emotionally-told backstory from the other week. She said it’ll take more than a great story to impress her and that it always ends the same way: tap, nap or snap. This was good stuff, AGAIN simple but effective.
Keith Lee video package
This got over Lee BIG TIME! He said he’d been in NXT for a year but had yet to be seen as a ‘chosen one’, but he said he’s always the one who ends up on top. He said he has yet to reach his goal of being ‘limitless’ so he said in year 2 in NXT he will be “infinite”. This was GREAT. Simple but VERY effective (good god I hope Heyman and Bischoff are watching this show).
NXT General Manager William Regal announcement
From ‘earlier today’ Regal revealed that next week Kushida will face of against another returning NXT OG… APOLLO CREWS!!!
Also ‘Next Week’ Adam Cole will defend the NXT title against an ‘unnamed opponent’… And despite having read the spoilers from the tapings I’ve since forgotten who this was so I’m in as much suspense as you all are.
NXT Tag Team Championship: Street Profits (C) (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) defeated Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan to retain
Street Profits are very popular, I’m not sure if you’ve heard… They shook hands with their respected challengers before the match so it was clear we were going to get a double-baybface match here so should be fun. ‘King Tez’ began with 205 Live’s Oney Lorcan and they did some basic grappling, Dawkins and Burch tagged in and quickly the defending champions cleared the ring with a pair of flapjack moves. They then did a really cool-looking spot where both their opponents were laying on the ropes before they did a leapfrog-splash combo move which got the crowd excited. Londoner Danny Burch was able to get back into it when they got back in the ring by kicking Dawkins in the chest after rejecting a handshake. Not long after he and Lorcan teamed up on Dawkins that lead to a nearfall by Lorcan. Not long after more double team moves it was then Burch looked for the submission win by putting a Crossface on Dawkins before Ford jumped in and made the save. Ford got the hot tag and ran wild, and after a series of offence it was Dawkins who was sent flying to the outside. Burch and Lorcan aggressively then got the offense in of their own, then what happened next I legitimately couldn’t keep up but there was a lot of moves that all looked super cool and they all happened really quickly, and I only have two hands so I couldn’t type it all fast enough to do it justice… I’ll just say it was all really fun to watch! The finish came when Dawkins hit a big Spinebuster before Ford hit the frog splash for the pin. Street Profits retain. This was a good match, and the contrasting styles meshed really really well.
As the champions celebrated with their titles none other than former NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish of the Undisputed Era strolled out and stood on the entrance ramp for a stare-down with the current title holders to close the show. I wonder where this will end up………………
It’s clear the morale of the story this week on NXT is simplicity is often the most effective quality something can have. Everyone who was intended to be put over across the various forms of promotion on this week’s show all came across as big stars. If you’d never seen NXT before then in ONE episode you are presented with 6,7,8 STARS. Many wrestling promoters and/or people in power should watch this week’s show as lesson 1 in how to get extremely talented performers over with fans. It really isn’t all that hard now is it?