With NXT TakeOver: Toronto just a few weeks away now we are half way towards having a full card to get excited about. With Cole v Gargano 3 headlining the show it was announced that the NXT Tag Team titles will be on the line as the Street Profits defend against the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. With the finals of the Breakout Tournament and challengers for the championships of Shayna Baszler and the Velveteen Dream still to officially be announced, it is shaping up to be yet another amazing line up.
We kicked this week’s show off with someone else booking their spot on the Toronto card…
NXT Breakout Tournament – Semi Final: Jordan Myles defeated Angel Garza
Both men kept up their acts from previous matches as Garza rejected an early offer of a handshake, and also did the spot where he rips off his trousers to reveal his wrestling pants. Annoyingly it seems last week’s match was an exception to the rule as we went back to minutes of rest holds to begin this match that has plagued this tournament so far. Garza played a smart heel well mind you as after being sent to the outside he then tripped his opponent when Myles went for his high spot by using the ring apron, mat, thing… that was clever. Anyway… But yeah they did a tonne of moves and maybe I’m in the majority here, and maybe it’s because I’ve seen a tonne and watch a tonne of wrestling on a regular basis recently in particular, but I’m just not in to this tournament as much as maybe I should be. I may be proved completely wrong but I don’t see either of these guys (nothing against them just a personal view) having enough of a character to push on to a top spot in NXT and beyond. I get there just intended to be showcase matches but they’re not blow-away to me at least and all the matches following the same patterns doesn’t help my interest levels either (aside from last week’s unique match when Dexter Lumis, the most fascinating character of the tournament so far LOST), For the record Myles won with a deadlift German suplex with a bridge, Crowd seemed happy enough for the babyface, It wasn’t a bad match in fact it was totally fine, but for me personally it and this tournament are just there… I hope at TakeOver the final is a great match and I’m sure the loyal TakeOver crowd will give both guys all the support, but they’ve got a big task to get to the standard of those shows recently.
Shane Thorne (formerly of TM-61 and then The (not-so cause they sucked) Mighty tag team) interrupted the commentary team after the match and moaned about why NXT was introducing new stars in this tournament when he is already here. He said he will breakout on his own. (so that’s him jobbing to the tournament winner at the first tapings after TakeOver then…).
Johnny Gargano announced that for his choice of stipulation for one of the falls in his upcoming 2 out of 3 title match with NXT Champion Adam Cole at TakeOver, he had chosen a street fight!
Bianca Belair defeated Xia Li
This was really fun. If you told me tomorrow that Becky Lynch or Bayley were instead defending their titles against Belair at Summerslam I would not be upset one bit, she’s so so good. Belair has been much more aggressive recently and kept that up here by slamming Xia Li to the ring floor early on. Belair then did a handspring and gloated and she looked very cool doing it. Li did get some offence in mind and this wasn’t a total squash match as we saw Belair have the other week, Xia hit an elbow but was then launched with a fallaway slam and then Belair again showed off her incredible skills by picking her helpless opponent up in a vertical suplex position and proceeding to squat multiple times whilst still keeping Li held in the air. After Li got a minor comeback as she came off the ropes looking for a springboard, only for Belair to block her off. She then hit her KOD finisher for the win. Another strong performance for Bianca, who after two losses at TakeOver’s this year is looking to regain her momentum, and by adding more aggression to her game in recent weeks looks to be back on the up. I liked this a lot for what it was.
Last week we saw footage of Mia Yim attacking Marina Shafir, this week we saw her target Jessamyn Duke. Yim Pilmanized Duke’s arm in a locker door at the performance center. The two sidekicks taken care of, surely NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszker beckons next?
A Killian Dain promo was shown. He explained he attacked Matt Riddle last week as although Riddle maybe the toughest in this world, in his world there are no rules. Dain said that he can’t wait to welcome Riddle to his world. This was short but sweet and I cannot wait for that match!
Now this next bit was something else…
NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream came to the ring to a typically great ovation. He proceeded to trash Roderick Strong before Strong came out to respond. AND THEN… who should follow them both out but none other than former WWE United Kingdom Champion PETE DUNNE!!! The Full Sail crowd went absolutely crazy for the Bruiserweight and chanted their delight. Dunne did his classic ‘finger-break’ spot to Strong which visually will forever weird me out, before then turning and staring at the Velveteen Dream and his North American title belt. The Dream promptly left back up the ramp wagging his finger in disapproval, but MAMMA MIA this was awesome! After a short ad break we came to back to NXT GM William Regal adding Dunne to the match to make it a triple threat at TakeOver: Toronto. It was also announced Dream and Strong will face eachother in a singles match next week.
Io Shirai defeated Kacy Cantanzaro by DQ
As much as Kacy is the ultimate babyface, Io is such a great heel. Her new dark persona with her all black gear and new entrance music is such a good act. It didn’t last long at all this which was a shame but the story being told is pretty cool. As soon as the bell rang to begin the match Shirai ran across the ring and immediately sent Cantanzaro down with a dropkick. She followed this up with running knees to a prone Kacy in the corner and then a butterfly suplex. Then as it seemed Shirai was well on her way to taking her anger out on her opponent out came Candice LeRae (Shirai’s former ally who she turned on a few weeks ago). LeRae stormed the ring as Shirai retreated, only for Candice to fly out to her with a tope through the ropes. LeRae tried to attack Io with a chair but Shirai quickly escaped back up the entrance ramp. Candice came off as a badass here, having previously just been Johnny Gargano’s wife or just another babyface woman. This was cool AF!
Backstage Adam Cole cut… an Adam Cole promo (meaning it was pure him and it was great). He expressed his displeasure at Pete Dunne’s addition to the NXT North American Title match, and also spoke about Fish and O’Reilly title match with the Street Profits before proclaiming once again that the Undisputed Era would be draped in gold (which I’m starting to think they could well be). He then revealed that his choice of stipulation for a fall in his title defence against Johnny Gargano would be a straight up singles match. He said he had already defeated Gargano in straight wrestling matches, so why not do it again (so I’m thinking Gargano will win the regular fall, Cole will win the street fight and it’ll all be down to the final fall choice of William Regal).
After their backstage confrontation last week it was announced that Tyler Breeze will face the Forgotten Sons’ heavy Jaxson Ryker. So Breeze will be seemingly outnumbered by a tag team and could do with a friend maybe? Hmm………………………………………..
Damian Priest defeated Keith Lee
This was a fun big man match between two characters who I thought shouldn’t really be losing at this stage, but for the story being told the result made a lot of sense. It was even throughout as they exchanged nearfalls and power moves. One nearfall for Priest came from a Falcon Arrow which from a guy of his size and being delivered to one of Lee’s was a sight to behold. After Lee cameback with a huge forearm that sent his opponent to the outside, The Limitless one then went to powerbomb Priest but he escaped and forced his opponent into the steel steps nearby. Then Priest seemed to bask in HIS glory as he laughed, this angered Lee but priest used the ref as protection to physically keep Lee at bay, but then came out and hit a spinkick. Priest then followed up with his ‘Twisting Cutter’ finisher for the win. Priest is a new gimmick so is good to keep him strong, and the story with Lee is that he can’t keep going with his happy ways of being Limitless and everything being good, he did anger up at one stage here but it ended up costing him and getting the better of him. I think long term we could see Lee turn heel, or maybe just be more aggressive ala Bianca Belair (who I think is now again a heel). Regardless I’m intrigued by it as Lee hasn’t yet had a TakeOver match which is absolutely something that needs to be rectified!
Overall this was a really fun and star studded show that makes me even more excited for NXT TakeOver: Toronto. If that was at all possible!
Apologies for the much shorter blog this week. I’m off work so got a lot more time to enjoy myself so making the most of it and not typing away about NXT. I will say that this week’s NXT was one of my favourite episodes for a long time. For a one hour show it had so much that entertained me HIGHLY. A tremendous episode.