After a brief hiatus I’m back to touch base with the happenings in NXT these past couple of weeks. With the recent call ups it looks lik NXT is devoted to creating some new stars, while continuing to keep the most dastardly bastard on earth employed.
LADIES TO THE FRONT!
Shayna Baszler is standing tall right now as the NXT women’s champion, but NXT has steadily over the past few weeks continued to build the profile of other female stars. Shayna’s next opponent right now seems poised to be Dakota Kai, who has been downright terrified by the former MMA fighter. After a victory over Vanessa Borne on last week’s NXT, who had previously mocked Dakota over her fear of Shayna, Shayna choked Vanessa out while Dakota looked on stricken. The whole thing has gotten more complicated after this week’s NXT with a thankfully still visible Nikki Cross seemingly very interested in the goings on of Dakota and Shayna. I’m glad to see her around because I find Nikki to be wildly entertaining, and honestly a great future opponent for the Queen of Spades. I don’t think Dakota comes out of this feud with a victory, which makes it all a little confusing how her character will build from this and recover from just being scared of the big bad wolf (Shayna). I suppose it could lead to a storyline arc for Dakota where she builds up her confidence and finds her #TeamKick powers to be a strong and confident opponent to a scary champion. I just don’t think it happens in this current feud.
Where Nikki Cross fits in I have no idea, but I’m glad she hasn’t been totally left on the wayside. She seems to be building Dakota up to “face her fears”, but Nikki’s not one to just build up other female superstars for their own gain. She absolutely should be mixing it up with Shayna because Nikki is a “terrifying” opponent herself. Whether or not she ends up in a feud with Shayna or Dakota next I’m down with it, but it should be Shayna.
Meanwhile there’s another women’s storyline happening, and we can all benefit from the inclusion of these awesome ladies. Kairi Sane seems to have run into a bit of a problem with Lacey Evans who attacked Kairi with a microphone two weeks ago after a match with Shazza McKenzie. This week, Kairi got her revenge by attacking Lacey after her match with Brandi Lauren. It’s good to not have Kairi immediately mixing it up with Shayna, which is where I thought they’d go after Ember Moon, mostly because we get to see development of more than just one female talent going for the top. I do think for now Lacey is just a means to an end to build Kairi up, but her look and her move set is impressive. There was a time at NXT house shows when Lacey was teaming with male superstars in a possible stable, and I do think that will still come to pass on NXT TV. Maybe after she and Kairi wrap up this feud. I’d like to see this play out for awhile though as both ladies deserve the exposure and having multiple female feuds is a positive look.
Two weeks ago we also got another look at breakout Mae Young Classic competitor Bianca Belair who picked up a big victory over Candice LaRae. While Candice has been distracted by her husband’s feud with the asshole Tommaso Ciampa which could be the “excuse” for her loss, giving Bianca a win and putting her in front of the crowd is a real win. That girl needs to be a star.
Tag Teams Back Again, Check it Wreck it Let’s Begin
While The Undisputed Era has been wrapped up in a feud with Pete Dunne and reluctant partners Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan (a week ago they called Dunne garbage backstage), other tag teams have tried to raise their status. A steamrolling War Raiders team defeated Heavy Machinery last week handily, and while we didn’t get a tag team match this week (outside the 6 man Main event) it seems Heavy Machinery is going to get mixed up with a HEELISH??? TM61 next week. Two weeks ago saw TM61 turn their backs on their baby face ways and cheat to win against the Street Profits. As we saw on NXT this week, Heavy Machinery didn’t take kindly to that setting up next week’s match.
I think War Raiders are clearly the team that will be pushed to the top, but I continue my love for TM61. I like the idea of a heel turn because these boys just need to do SOMETHING. I unfortunately do think Heavy Machinery and Street Profits are kind of just two teams scraping the surface of NXT success right now. I am slightly surprised by The Undisputed Era losing to Dunne, Burch and Lorcan this week, and that builds the profile of Lorcan and Burch a ton. They’re now a credible team in this division and I would think the logical next opponents for Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly’s titles.
It is important to note that there seemed to be some miscommunication with Roderick Strong causing the loss this week, and I imagine there could be a lot of little moments like that with this group, especially leading up to the recovery and return to the ring of Bobby Fish. It’s also important to note that this Undisputed Era vs Dunne/Lorcan/Burch was a fun, exciting main event match.
King of this Castle
Thank goodness we have Velveteen Dream hanging around the main event scene. While I don’t imagine he’s going to stick around for long right now, it’s good that he’s getting the exposure. He and one of NXT’s newest acquisitions Ricochet have certainly had their problems in the last couple of weeks, and it culminated in a match tonight. Of course that match was interrupted by who actually has to be the next contender for Aleister Black’s NXT Title, Lars Sullivan. After a good match this week, with the crowd more pro-Dream than Pro-Ricochet, Sullivan made his presence known and it all leads to a handicap match next week Ricochet & Dream vs Lars Sullivan. There’s almost no way that doesn’t end with Dream walking out on his partner meaning their feud will continue, but I suppose I could be wrong. It could be one of the only ways to get Ricochet cheered over Dream though, which I think is important. Obviously Ricochet is going to get over like rover, but I don’t know that the best idea was having him feud with SUCH a fan favorite first.
As for Lars Sullivan’s prospects and his potential NXT title chances well… I kind of just don’t care. Sullivan hasn’t won me over, and really he’s just a road block to whoever is next for Black.
And This AHole
We haven’t seen Johnny Gargano since Tommaso “Son of a Bitch” Ciampa put him in a stretcher a few weeks ago, and Ciampa has been gloating ever since. He had a GREAT match with Kassius Ohno last week that he obviously won (not sure when we’ll see a deserved Ohno victory), and he teased the crowd, Mauro Ranello and all of us this week when he had the nerve to enter to Johnny’s music. Obviously I think Gargano will be back soon, but I liked his fiery wife Candice LaRae confronting Ciampa this week. I’m still waiting for Ciampa to do the absolute unthinkable and take out Mrs. Wrestling to really light that fire under Johnny. Of course I’m also now just waiting for Candice to totally flip and join forces with the Blackheart because this is wresting and there is no happiness in wrestling.
These have been some exciting weeks in NXT and the changing of the guard is clearly happening. While we don’t have a clear opponent for Adam Cole’s North American Title right now I think it’s fine because he’s wrapped up with UK Champion Pete Dunne. I would like them to remember they HAVE this brand new Championship but I give them the benefit of the doubt. We also saw new NXT Superstars EC3 and Kona Reeves debut these past few weeks and within two weeks both had victories over I guess NXT punching bag Raúl Mendoza. One of these two debuts I liked more than the other. I’ll let you all decide.
Lacey Evans defeated Brandi Lauren
Velveteen Dream vs Ricochet ends in No Contest (Lars Sullivan interference)
Kona Reeves defeated Raúl Mendoza
Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch/Pete Dunne defeated The Undisputed Era
You can always find me over on twitter at HM_Pufnstuf yelling about something!