It’s been a week and I actually watched some of RAW and most of SmackDown Live and because of that I’m very much looking forward to this single hour of wrestling. Sometimes I enjoy watching the main roster but the commercials are just so brutal to sit through. I pay the extra cost for Hulu so I don’t see ads, so whenever I watch the Monday or Tuesday shows a day later it’s usually a nicer package, but even 90 minutes seems long for some of the s--t they put out there. PLUS sometimes they cut some funny stuff from the 90 minute RAW. Well, f--k all that s--t. Here we go with another week of NXT!
Starting off with the Queen of Spades, aka the toughest prepubescent boy on the playground. Her voice doesn’t exactly match how f-----g intimidating she is, but she is already miles ahead of any of the other 4 Horsewomen of UFC, sight unseen. I am so into this push for Nikki Cross, too. She was such a presence in SAnitY and I felt for sure that she would get buried after they got called up and she inexplicably didn’t, but then I remembered that this is NXT, and they usually do the right thing. NIKKI’S GONNA KILL YOU!! Baszler asks Nikki Cross if she is crazy? Haha. Nikki Cross seems like she is an actually emotionally disturbed maniac and the way that Shayna flinched really verifies that as accurate. It almost seems like Nikki doesn’t want the belt but that she just wants to f--k with the big bad wolf. It’s almost as if she is some sort of bizarro crusader of justice, or maybe just continuing the message of SAnitY…whatever that is/was.
The first match of the show is a tag match. TM 61 kinda got my attention when they first came in, likely because I’m a mark for Australians, but after whichever one got injured I just didn’t care anymore. Oh, great, it’s a match with some “enhancement talent.” The only thing that really stands out about TM 61 is that one has the tattoo arm and the other guy kinda looks like 1950s Brooklyn. I enjoy the crowd putting themselves over with their chants (“LET’S GO JOBBERS/TM 61!”). Oh, and the match is over. Yeah, even this theme song is just s----y Nintendo music with cool lead guitars. Whatever. They cut a promo after the match that reminds me of all the matches they have won since returning and I hate to say, I don’t care. Okay, well, there you have it. I’m not stoked on something happening on NXT. Change my mind, Hunter.
A video plays showing Lars “Barrel Chest” Sullivan smashing the s--t out of Aleister Black last week and then footage of him f-----g s--t up at the Performance Center. It’s only worth mentioning that this guy continues to become more terrifying every time I see him on tv, but less so when I hear him.
SHOCK THE SYSTEM. F-----g FINALLY. These dudes…oh f--k it’s just Roderick Strong. While this stands as a huge disappointment, I have warmed up to Roddy since he turned heel. I generally don’t give a s--t about his opponent, Danny Burch, but I have enjoyed every match I’ve seen him in. He is a believable shoot fighter and while I start watching his matches with “meh,” I’m usually well invested in the finish every time. The good thing about this pairing is that they are both very proficient in their respective ring styles and they are each very seasoned so this technically and physically is a high quality match. This is a very strong style match (pun intended). These guys are just kicking the s--t out of each other! I know the idea of “slapping the leg when throwing a kick” to get that sound but I can never see it and am amazed and horrified by the sound these two are unleashing on each other. The match essentially ends in a schmozz with Cole and O’Reilly and Lorcan and Dunne all rushing the ring, doing the classic WWE thing of teasing a potential finish for the upcoming PPV match with Undisputed Era stumbling up the ramp, still holding the titles.
Kassius Ohno is doing a photo shoot? For what? With all due respect, Chris Hero seemed f-----g awesome, but I’m not sold on THIS guy. He looks JUUUUUUST like Jonathan Larroquette from the OG podcast Uhh Yeah Dude, and because of that I try to give him a chance but his body shape is distracting for me. I hate to say that because I’m not trying to fat shame the guy or anything — I’m only mentioning that because the idea of him doing a photoshoot seems unrealistic. It is all a setup for him to have a match with EC3 next week, who interrupts the photo shoot to insult him just slightly less than I just did. EC3 is the polar opposite body type as Kassius so this is going to just be some veiled fat-shaming angle anyways. Ohno responds by telling him that he will give him a week to get ready and then they can wrestle. It will be a good match and you do need to have a few good hands in the ring to help get up and comers “over,” so ultimately this is a good thing.
Another video package for Aleister Black and Lars Sullivan. I used to prefer Black in video packages as opposed to cutting a live promo but now that the curtain has been lifted on his mystique, I just like it all.
The video package for Ricochet and Velveteen Dream is bad ass. Those dudes are gonna steal the show. That is all.
Up next is Lacey Evans and Kairi Sane and JESUS F-----G HELL Mauro JUUUUUUUUST f-----g referred to it as the “rubber match.” F-----G STOP SAYING THAT DUDE. I don’t like it. I don’t mind when anyone other than commentators say it. I don’t know why but it is super f-----g annoying. I mean, I know that it IS the rubber match, but it used to mean something more before it became common lingo. Anywho, Lacey Evans is a f-----g badass. She is fine in the ring but her whole personality is so large in ring that it makes her seem like even more. Kairi reminds me of a Japanese Kristin Bell which makes her so damn adorable to me. Sane is also on a short list of people with the most beautiful looking finishers, right alongside Ember Moon (The Eclipse) and the aforementioned Velveteen Dream (Purple Rainmaker). Lacey is such a good bully and she is really f-----g pummeling Sane. I really like the move where she does pushups WHILE attempting a pin. Kairi has a nice little comeback but I’m starting to tire of the same match over and over again. She seems to get beat up really good and then start screaming and then she Hulks up and then whoa an Alabama Slam right as I typed that. Well, regardless, her flying elbow drop is second only to “Macho Man” Randy Savage. I know it’s a hot take, but watch any single elbow she throws off the top rope! It is amazing. (Maybe she is tied with Velveteens’ Purple Rainmaker, not only because the name of that move rules but, also, it’s impressive as all hell.)
After a commercial break, out walks the truest heel in all of wrestling, Tommaso Ciampa. This type of moment is when watching this with headphones on really pays off. The s--t that people are saying to Ciampa is incredible. “EVERYONE F-----G HATES YOU TOMMASO.” Dueling Chants of “JOHNNY WRESTLING/PYSCHO KILLER” (which started as “F--K YOU CIAMPA”). Ciampa is really really f-----g good at being a heel. “A-----E” chants are met with indifference. He almost actually seems to be annoyed with the crowd. Oh, man I’m starting to see the flaw in his Jericho-esque “non-speaking” promos he cut weeks back: the crowd feels like THEY need to cut their own promo via stupid chants. The only thing that might suck about this whole storyline is that it is SO good and it has been such a good ride that I can’t imagine Ciampa being able to have an angle better than this and I know for an almost certainty that I will never care about Johnny Wrestling as much as I do right now. In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy the ride. These dudes are gonna f-----g KILL each other on June 16 at TakeOver: Chicago! The fact that this storyline has taken two years to come to this point has just been such a privilege in retrospect. I thought they were a fine but forgettable tag team and they had sick matches against each other in the sort of respect way but all that mundane storyline really made Ciampa’s vicious heel turn that much more brutal when and how it happened. I perked up at that moment and have been loving this all since then. HOLY S--T! As they put up the copyright 2018 to signify that the show is over, Gargano attacks Ciampa AGAIN and throws him into the LED NXT-tron and busts him up and then proceeds to put him in a submission, leaving Ciampa tapping out and wearing a crimson mask. F--k.
Well, another week of NXT down and one week closer to TakeOver: Chicago. It will likely be a classic TakeOver, but I swear they always are, even when the card seems weak on paper. As I mentioned last week, I don’t give a s--t about ratings or grading episodes of a wrestling show, but I will say this one wasn’t super great. It felt a little like one of those slow, mid season episodes of The Walking Dead or Mad Men or whatever. I got a real kick out of some parts, mainly Nikki Cross and Shayna Baszler and Gargano and Ciampa at the end but beyond that, it was a bit of a snoozer for me this week. All that said, I will still tune in next week for the go home show before TakeOver: Chicago, because it’s gonna be awesome!
Wrestling Rules. F--k The World. Party Hard.