The triple threat match for TakeOver is officially made.
Ahoy-hoy fellow Poor Taste Adventurers. This past Monday I closed on a house, and while that’s all lovely and such, time is of the essence and I need to do some s--t around there before we move in. As a result, I spent Monday (4-11pm), Tuesday (7am-11pm), Wednesday (4:30-11:30 pm) and Thursday (5pm-4am) over there (after working all day), fixing stupid s--t and painting. I am now on my way to vacation on Swan’s Island, Maine for the next week but first have a pit stop in Orono, ME, where I am currently typing this. The point of this all is 1) to put over the fact that I have a house and 2) clear myself of having no clue about anything in the world of wrestling this week. The most that I did do was catch up on the episode of 83 Weeks about Chris Jericho’s WCW run and I ended up listening to two other very long episodes. It is great stuff to listen to when you have a lot of mindless stuff to do. Conrad Thompson is hilarious and the two of them swear more than anyone else I can think of. I feel at home listening to them shoot straight s--t about those few years in the ’90s. The other great thing about their dynamic is that Conrad calls Bischoff out on his bullshit IMMEDIATELY and he also has no problems just screaming at him when Eric becomes frustrating in his responses to questions. Anyways, I have done my best to avoid spoilers but I do know that Aleister Black is hurt from being crotched at a house show and that is going to affect the main event next Saturday night at TakeOver. Kayfabe is king when it comes to NXT for me but, that said, lets get into watching some f-----g wrestling.
NXT starts with a recap video of Tommaso Ciampa winning the title two weeks ago. This whole angle is so good and I completely trust that it will go well, despite the stupid news update on my phone and spoilers from bosses/co-workers at AiPT!. That said, I find myself totally distracted by knowing something outside of the NXT bubble and I kinda hate it.
Amber Nova comes out to the ring and she has all the flavor of an auto generated 2K character, theme music and all. “Her father is a mechanic” Cool statistic, Mauro. Her opponent tonight is one of my favorite characters in the NXT canon, Nikki Cross. I love the Sanity theme and variations for each individual (come to think of it, only for Big Damo and Nikki) but I’m feeling like hers has lost its eerie quality without the other guys. NIKKI’S GONNA KILL YOU. I love that chant because it only happens for the true maniacs. One of the benefits of watching this with headphones on is being able to hear the sounds of Nikki Cross breathing loudly and laughing, ever convincing me that she is an escaped mental patient. It is nice to see Nikki get an enhancement match on NXT but Amber Nova is getting an awful lot of offense in. Nikki Cross is my definition of unhinged. She sounds absolutely insane when she is yelling and bouncing off the ropes. I think a part of what I like about her is her is her Ultimate Warrior level of energy. I am also a super big fan of her finisher, The Purge, which she executes and the match is over. Great job, Nikki, but I’m not quite sure I see where any of this is leading.
Ohhhhhhh, so they announce a match between Aleister Black and Johnathan Wrestling tonight as the main event. I feel like this was a part of the most recent taping they did at Full Sail and that they are just airing the episode as they had planned prior to Black’s injury. I accidentally saw three words regarding how they handle this angle and they were “backstage beat down”.
OOOOOOOOHHHHH a vignette for Keith Lee. I love the way that NXT sets the table for new talents. I know the name, I have probably never seen him in the ring and the vignette just told me I will tonight so consider me excited!
ONE AND ONLY. Ricochet’s music hits and as the lights and camera move to the TitanTron you see the Undisputed Era! As the lights raise you see Ric is knocked the eff out on the ramp! Adam Cole (BAY BAY) cuts a forgettable promo and says “see you at TakeOver” and he and the other three walk off. It is good because it keeps pushing towards the match but it isn’t really that convincing of heat or even that great of a build to a match that has potential to steal the entire weekend from a technical standpoint. If they can tell a good story, too, all of us marks could collectively lose our minds.
Interview with Vanessa Borne time. She has a qualifying match for the Mae Young Classic tonight against Taynara Conti and she cuts a pretty fine promo, calling herself “The Vision” and after she is finished she basically hits the camera man with a “Bye Felecia” and that is that.
Adrian Jaoude comes out in his shredded karate outfit, a 17 time Brazilian wrestling champ. For me he just looks like a weird TMNT action figure from the late ’80s. His opponent tonight is Kassius Ohno and every time I hear his music I just don’t give a s--t. He was someone who had a small window of a chance to get over with me and I just don’t care any more. I threw in the towel on him after his s--t with Hideo Itami turned out to be a real let down. KO doesn’t seem too give a s--t about this match and without the ripped up top on, this Jaoude looks pretty cool, actually. KO kicks him in the face and this slows down to first gear. As these two slog it out I find myself just staring at Ohno’s legs, wondering why he doesn’t just wear pants. The Dream Crusher is the name of Ohno’s finisher, which is a pretty nasty rolling elbow through the neck, but, I still don’t care. This guy has been killed in NXT. I didn’t see him the first time around but I have watched some Chris Hero matches and I really like that guy. This guy just stinks. I will totally enjoy eating my words if they take MY specific feelings about him and turn that into a killer storyline/angle that gets me rooting for him like crazy! I really don’t see that happening, unfortunately.
The next segment on the show features EC3 meeting with The Velveteen Dream, poolside. The Dream is so top notch. This whole thing is already incredible. Its ’80s and campy but perfect. I didn’t think WWE could still pull s--t like this off. It’s stupid but it’s great. EC3 thinks he is gonna get tossed in the pool but Dream is all “Nah.” After they cut promos on each other, Dream drops his glasses and EC3 offers to pick them up. As he bends over to get them, Dream goes to push him and EC3 counters it and gives him The 1% right into the pool, keeping his own threads dry and fresh. These two dudes are so awesome and I don’t care about the outcome of the match because I’ll be stoked to watch the two of them do their thing, respectively AND collectively.
Marcel Barthel comes out from Germany. He is built like a lean Tyler Bate. He has a fine, slightly generic good look but he is a little dude. I feel like this means Keith Lee is coming out. Oh s--t, this dude is f-----g BIG. BASK IN MY GLORY on his vest. 330 pounds. Man, this little German guy is gonna get f----d up. Keith Lee’s upper body is absolutely massive. I can’t wait to see Keith Lee be the guy who believably kills Lars Sullivan. Actually, either Lee isn’t as tall as I had thought or Marcel is much taller than he previously appeared because these two are about the same height. Lee starts out by punching Barthel in the face a couple of times. Hot damn, Keith Lee does a leapfrog and a dropkick! Pretty f-----g impressive (I still instinctually hate when BIG guys do Cruiserweight moves though). Marcel Barthel gets a bit of upper hand in the match but I can’t exactly buy it. After a little bit, Keith Lee headbutts him and then puts him in the corner and gives him the loudest double chest slap I’ve ever heard! Fireman’s Carry into a sort of Jackhammer and it’s over. That was a fine match but I think I would have preferred to see him beat the s--t out of a dude closer to his own weight class. A 330 lb dude beating a 215 lb dude isn’t that hard of a result to imagine.
Street Profits backstage vignette with those two dudes sitting at a table in front of an ATM (???) and they make the very most of their TV time every time. This seems like the best use of them to remind me that they will face TM61…no, wait, The Moy-tee! These dudes are f-----g awesome and I look forward to that match. They don’t say anything of substance but it’s the way that they say things that makes me love them so much. I’ve heard others compare them to the New Day but I would disagree. They have their own vibe going but regardless, they rule.
Vanessa Borne’s sort of hard-alt-country-sexy-girl theme song kinda blows but she is a heel so it works for me for now. She is so extremely beautiful and she makes some of the best b---h faces in all of NXT right now. There is something so very appealing about that kind of unattainable vibe she is working. Taynara Conti comes out and her theme music f-----g RULES. It sounds like Dizzee Rascal but it has a line that she repeats with the song and she totally owns it. I really appreciate when wrestlers seem to really love their own themes (EC3 comes to mind). I’m torn on this match because I really like both of these ladies but I’m immediately wanting to see Vanessa Borne win and move on. That said, the theme song situation makes me feel exactly the opposite. (I remember the one time that they had Taynara come out with Adam Cole when the Undisputed Era was still very new. It only happened once but I clearly remember it.) Taynara Conti seems really emotional. The match isn’t very much to speak of. The two of them go back and forth a bit but neither seems to particularly dominate the other and after five or so minutes, Conti screams something at Borne and then pulls of her finisher and gets the pin, advancing to the Mae Young Classic. I will like to hear her theme again and I will likely root for her.
Okay, here we go. Time for the main event. Aleister Black’s music hits. The lights drop. Out walks the former NXT Champion on his own two legs. Despite having read (accidentally) that it is a triple threat match at TakeOver, they are still plugging the main event of Takeover as the rematch between Ciampa and Black. Good grief I hate Johnny Gargano’s theme song. It is so annoying to me. Gargano stops at the front row and he kinda salutes and some of the folks are just staring at him, kind of annoyed. Oh damn, this is a match so far. Black just kicked him three f-----g times and it looks rough. This is off to the races right away! “You gotta kick his ass” The Full Sail crowd rules. This match seems so weird and disconnected for some reason. Probably because I know some future spoilers. I hate that s--t. This match is totally great. It is owning on me that this is the angle that was filmed before the injury. Not far into the match comes the Champ, Tommaso Ciampa and he tosses Johnny out of the ring and stomps a mudhole in Black. These three are just pummeling the crap out of each other in all different forms and I personally want to see each and every one of them beat the s--t out of each of the others! William Regal comes out and reprimands everyone and decides that, for the first time in NXT history, the Championship match will me decided in a triple threat match. Copyright 2018.
Ok, so this is exactly what I hate about spoilers: you don’t know HOW it’s going to be pulled off. That whole time I was trying to figure out HOW they were going to write Aleister Black out of a match two weeks before the show, but it’s only NOW in the written story that this becomes the triple threat match it was originally planned to be. So now it’s up to next weeks go-home episode of NXT before Takeover: Brooklyn IV to show and tell me what the f--k is really going on for next Saturday. Oh, well, I wish I had known that! Yes, I easily prefer my wrestling bubble where I know of all of the intricacies and minutia of the main roster WWE product but aside from weddings or injuries (regrettably) I keep it pretty kayfabe with NXT and it works very well for me. I like the matches that they teased for me for next week (neither of which I remember) but I’m not quite sure that I like how it’s all feeling going into TakeOver. They always make skeptical of the whole thing but for some reason it doesn’t feel like a super huge deal this time around. In a lot of ways, the pre-SummerSlam TakeOver is considered to be NXT’s own Mania. This could all just be a result of severe sleep deprivation and too much travel today. I am glad I watched NXT, though, as per usual and I was completely taken out of my actual world and brought to the magical land of Full Sail University (that HAS to be an intentional play on the acronym FSU (f--k s--t up)). Okay, I’m gonna go watch cable in a hotel and pass out. Thanks for reading all the way to the end this time.
Wrestling Rules. F--k The World. Party Hard.
If you’d like more wrestling news, opinions and hot takes, check out our weekly podcast, Poor Taste Wrestling. New episodes are available every Friday, where we break down Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT and more every week. You can also follow us on Twitter @AiPTwrestling for up-to-the-minute news and opinions.