Happy Canada Day~!
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match, #1 Contender NXT Women’s Title – Candice LaRae v. Dakota Kai v. Tegan Nox v. Mia Yim
Even for WWE, where every wrestler needs to have an exaggerated “OMG, THEY KICKED OUT???” face, Tegan Nox’s “OMG THEY KICKED OUT” faces are way too much.
Good match, although it was somehow both sloppy and overproduced, if that makes sense? By “overproduced”, I mean that this match felt too cute and too choreographed, and by “sloppy”, I mean that despite the feel of a beat-by-beat layout, almost 0 of the moves they layed out were hit crisply or cleanly. Not a bad match by any means, there were some nice moments and big moves. But too long and too sloppy to hit that next level. Removing the best wrestler from the match in the first four minutes didn’t help.
Damien Priest Promo
I still can’t get past how absolutely undeniably fucking awful a B-Movie villain name “Damien Priest” is. I’m sure we will adjust to these names like we have Dolph Ziggler. In fact, I’m sure many of us have already, I’m not watching much NXT these days. But my God. Can we actually sit down and look at ourselves here? DAMIEN PRIEST is actually an NXT wrestler’s name. That’s a 14 year old’s first E-fed character. Be prepared for this rant again in a few paragraphs because “Karrion Kross” is even worse.
On the plus side, this was a pretty good promo. Damien Priest has some real charisma on the mic, and a great stage prescence, and a deep radio voice befitting one of the worst fake names of all time.
Singles – Oney Lorcan v. Timothy Thatcher
I haven’t seen Timothy Thatcher yet in WWE, but was a big fan of his work on the indies. Of all the late 2010’s guys with the “serious wrestler man” gimmick, Thatcher may have been the one I bought the most. It seems like TT is getting a big push and being treated as a serious wrestler man in NXT so far.
This was everything you could want and expect and need out of Timothy Thatcher vs Oney Lorcan. A hard hitting, technically sound wrestling match, in stark contrast to the previous match, which was many things but in no way “technically sound”.
Karrion Kross Hype Video
Argh. I’ll spare you the rant again, but come off it. Karrion Kross and Damien Priest? Come off it, guys. This was a pretty cool character vignette, almost like a Ringu-style promo targeting NXT champion Adam Cole. Cole now has seven days to cut a spooky promo on a different wrestler before Karrion Kross murders him in a well. Or something.
Aliyah & Robert Stone v. Rhea Ripley – If Ripley loses, she must join the Robert Stone Brand
I hate intergender matches with all of my being, but as intergender matches go, I would much rather see silly comedy like this than a serious attempt at a simluated fight between a man & woman. I think they could have achieved everything they needed to in a 1-1 Aliyah v Rhea match, minus the sight gag of Stone in boxing gear. I did enjoy the facebuster-into-Robert-Stone’s-balls spot, but there’s nothing else from this match that I’ll remember tomorrow.
Strap Match – Dexter Lumis v. Roderick Strong
I feel like every time a match goes over 15 minutes I am liable to say it went too long, so maybe it’s worth saying that there are good long wrestling matches out there. There are layered, nuanced stories to be told through the medium of professional wrestling. Stories that demand, and justify, a lot of time to tell. There are also matches that should be 8 minutes but go 17. This was the latter.
Dexter Lumis: Serial Killer Babyface is a weird character that I can’t get behind at all. Some good, hard hitting spots, but this needed to be cut in half.
Keith Lee/Adam Cole Hype Video
Wow! This was incredible. WWE’s production on these kinds of videos is always amazing, but this one goes on the 2020 highlight reel. I am now more excited about Cole vs Lee than I am any match in wrestling.
El Lagado Del Fantasma / Drake Maverick Promo
Another very good promo. Santos Escobar showed a lot of charisma and poise, talking about how fans disrespect Lucha Libre and Luchadores, and how Lagado is here to restore their glory.
One hilarious and borderline troubling thing: as Escobar was saying that Lucha Libre isn’t just little dudes doing flips for the crowd’s amusement and that the fans are ignorant, the crowd sarcastically chanted “that is Lucha”, completely comfirming what the heel said in his heel promo. Doubly troubling when you consider these are mostly WWE wrestlers and employees, so we can officially assume “Luchadores are just flippy little faceless jabronis” is actually the WWE company line.
Cameron Grimes Promo
Well, they can’t all be winners. This was bad. Cameron Grimes is not a good promo. He’s doing almost a goofy, silly version of Ric Flair, with a leather top hat on rather than a $5000 suit. A shouting, white trash Nature Boy, minus 99% of the charisma. I don’t understand this character and I don’t wish to see it ever again.
Singles – Io Shirai v. Sasha Banks
High expectations may have hurt this match a little. Any time you say the words “dream match”, you’re setting the bar pretty high for yourself. While I did really enjoy this match and I would certainly watch these two wrestle again (three or four times at least. Do a Benoit v Booker T style Best of 7, fuck it) I have to say for comparison’s sake, I think Ford and Shida had a better match. Maybe it was my lofty expectations vs my relatively low ones for the AEW match. The involvement of Bayley and Asuka at the end was very entertaining though, and on the plus side they look to be setting up a tag team match between those four which could be amazing.
Not quite the match I was hoping for, but still great and probably superior to AEW’s main event.