This is the last show before the go home NXT show ahead of Takeover: Chicago and the card seemed to be pretty shaped last week so now it’s time to increase the excitement for these matches. GET PUMPED UP FOR CHICAGO. Even if this isn’t the most anticipated show in that city this summer any more…
Help Wanted: A Mouth Piece
I actually do think that Shayna Baszler is an intimidating force when she’s in the ring. She seems intense and I can buy that she’s dangerous. Once she opens her mouth though, a little bit of that credibility goes out the window. Obviously people can improve over time, and she has had very little time, but when you’re pushed as the beast of the division you either need to be able to carry that with okay mic skills – or you have to find someone who can do that for you. Listening to Shayna repeating herself while trying to intimidate Nikki Cross was laughable – and while I don’t particularly think Nikki is great on the mic either, well, she wasn’t really saying anything outside taunting Shayna to put her to sleep. My feelings for Nikki Cross are pretty well known – I like her a lot and I think she’s a good opponent for the champ because she presents a credible foe. Nikki is not afraid of her, and it’s good to see an unshakeable side of Shayna. I have said it before so I’ll try not to dwell on it – but this match is just too soon. We should have seen a dominant Shayna at Takeover take out Dakota Kai and then went forward with this Nikki Cross storyline, but these are dreams and wishes and with so few BIG shows for NXT I guess not every match can wait. I do have a small feeling on the side of my mind that Dakota is actually going to help Shayna beat Nikki – but that’s just the wrestling fan in me where you can’t trust anyone.
Is Kassius Ohno NXT’s Guard Dog?
I really like Kassius Ohno/Chris Hero and thought for sure that NXT must have had something for him since they brought him back after he left, but it seems that would have been the incorrect thought process. While he is consistently putting on good matches, they are matches he is losing to guys who are moving up the ranks quickly. Next week a match has been put in the books for him vs EC3 and I can’t imagine it will end in any other way than defeat for Ohno. Listen, I know he’s still getting a paycheck and I also have to believe he knew what he was getting into. I also don’t think you’re a loser if you’re getting to showcase your skills in matches with some of the other most talented wrestlers in the world. I just find him deserving of a bigger role. I almost wonder if he’s transitioning more to a behind the scenes role for WWE and that would be a good move and something we’ve seen from other Indy darlings. I just hope people know what a talent he is.
Is it Time to Bow Down?
For awhile I’ve been wondering why TM61 were doing NOTHING in NXT and seemed to be relegated to a side show. Every now and then they would have a win against nobodies, but even after coming back from injuries it seemed they did not have a place. I’m not totally convinced there is a clear path for them yet, but I do think they continue to build their profiles. Obviously they are going a heel route, which I think is fine considering Heavy Machinery, War Raiders, Street Profits, Oney and Burch all seem to be face competitors, and it also makes people take notice of them if they continue to win with heelish tactics. Tonight they also changed their name which I think is a big and important move even if it might not seem to other people – but telling people to kneel before The Mighty is a lot more intimidating than telling them to kneel before TM61.
Officials seemed really interested in stopping Johnny Gargano from getting into the ring with Tommaso Ciampa, but earlier in the night Nikki Cross walked right out to intimidate Shayna Baszler. I suppose Nikki and Shayna don’t have a habit yet of knock down drag out murderous fights. Also, Nikki had the good sense to ask the backstage brass to play her music so maybe that’s all Johnny needed to get them to do. I don’t know if there are people out there who are sick of this Gargano/Ciampa feud but those people are wrong. While I do hope it ends at Takeover: Chicago for now – the inevitable back and forth these two could have for years is just amazing to think about. The intensity they both bring is palpable and it almost feels as if one might kill the other every time they get close. I do wish Candice was either doing her own thing or was able to actually have a more physical role in the feud (though she wasn’t even here for this show), but I guess we have to pick and choose our battles. I was going to say earlier that Ricochet/Velveteen Dream is still on my radar as the probable show stealer at Takeover, but how could I ever rule out Gargano/Ciampa? I cannot.
TM61 (newly christened The Mighty) defeated Robbie Grand & Mike Hughly
Roderick Strong defeated Danny Burch – During this match, both The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) and Burch’s partner Oney Lorcan and newfound friend Pete Dunne hit the ring, but it was a distracted Burch who picked up the loss.
Kairi Sane defeated Lacey Evans
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