Welcome to the inaugural AiPT NXT Review! Let me start off by saying that THIS is, for me, what NJPW is for Dave Meltzer. The product that Triple H provides to me, on a weekly basis, is usually the highlight I am looking forward to watching every single week. I only came into it three or so years ago and have dipped out for a few weeks at a time as life gets going but even then I would follow the results and stay interested. This show has shown me that you can introduce a talent that it is virtually impossible to give a s--t about (Dakota Kai, for current example) and made them compelling to a point where I am completely invested in the idea that someday, Dakota Kai will defeat Shayna Baszler. It seems impossible right now but NXT has reminded me what I really love about professional wrestling!
Anyway, let’s get into it.
While I typically don’t like my wrestling shows to be such obvious soap operas with the whole “Last week on NXT…”, this whole Gargano/Ciampa s--t has been awesome and I’m happy to watch another video package about it.
Aleister Black starts off the show and his whole schtick has just been top notch and well defined from get-go that he just looks so natural with the belt on his shoulder. His accent is so faint that he usually comes off mysterious but now he cuts longer promos and sounds more like a dude. HOLY S--T here comes the most old school shaped wrestler, old “Barrel Chest” Lars Sullivan! It sucks that he kinda sounds like a dweeb but, again, HOLY S--T IT’S LARS SULLIVAN! Lars cuts off Black’s promo and basically tells him he is the contender and he is gonna take his title. Sullivan man-handles Black and leaves him laying, holding the title high after hitting him with the Freak Accident (awesome name).
Chris Jericho is my favorite wrestler of all time but the music video for the song NXT is using for TakeOver: Chicago f-----g sucks. Painless by Fozzy? F--k off with that video, dude. I’ve seen “…But I’m Chris Jericho”. You can do better than that s--t. (I definitely have warmed up to the Fozzy songs more than I ever hoped to.)
I am unfamiliar with War (Machine) Raiders in ring. I have heard of them as I follow enough of the indie s--t but I’ve only ever seen them in NXT thus far, as with SO MANY F-----G WRESTLERS. I never saw Adam Cole in ring ever before NXT and he is the most captivating personality to me since CM Punk. Anyway, War Raiders’ name sucks but they rule in that sort of late ’80s sort of way. (Side note: I appreciate that there are women referees in NXT.) This is just a match with “enhancement talent” but those matches rule. That used to be a “thing” back when I initially started watching wrestling and I really do prefer it to 50/50 booking. I like watching War Raiders do their thing but, so far, I don’t give s--t. I don’t doubt that I WILL give a s--t at some point, because NXT is that f-----g good. But as of right now, I truly couldn’t care less about them.
Oh f--k I didn’t even realize that Dakota Kai had her title match with Shayna Baszler TONIGHT!!! That whole stomping-the-forearm gimmick was so f-----g GROSS I could barely stand to see it when it first happened, let alone every f-----g replay. I am so totally invested in this storyline above all the others right now. I am so surprisingly invested in this storyline amongst all the others.
I am a big fan of Lacey Evans. She plays such a convincing b---h and I appreciate that. I mostly want to point out that there was ANOTHER reference to a “rubber match”, which is pretty deep industry-speak. It feels like the third time in as many weeks. Are we gonna hear Nigel McGuinness tell us that “this isn’t a work, ladies and gentlemen, this is a shoot!” at Takeover: Chicago?
EC3 is up next and, again, I haven’t seen a second of him in ring prior to this NXT run and based only on the past couple months, I’m a fan! He has a great physical shape, he is good looking enough and he is just so naturally unlikable. It’s great!
Gargano interrupts to scream at everyone and tell them he has a signed contract for “Gargano vs. Ciampa 2”. Yuck.
EC3 obviously wins against Fabian Eichner. Not much more to say about it.
WHERE IS UNDISPUTED ERA?!?!?! THEY SHOULD BE ON EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. THEY RULE. ADAM COLE BAY-BAY!
This is now the second time that I have seen this Bianca Belair video package and it is still great! She is really pretty likable but f-----g brutal in the squared circle and the hair-whip gimmick is cool. Im not looking to buy a shirt, but her match with Candice LeRae was sick.
Up next is Ricochet vs. “some-kid-from-Wha-stah” Chris Dijak. This dude looks tall but Rick O’Shea isn’t a big dude so it’s likely some of that. Dijak does a few cruiserweight moves (which I think is kind of more annoying than impressive when big guys do THOSE sorts of moves) but then Ricochet basically deadlift suplexes Dijak from the mat with a HOLY S--T sort of show of strength. Oh s--t, Percy just said that Dijak is 6’8″, 270! That makes that suplex even more impressive!
Ricochet calls out Velveteen Dream and that incredible specimen answers the call. This feud is so f-----g awesome for not only both of them, but for all of us! They are both so good in different ways and have awesome unbelievable chemistry in ring. I could write about what they are ACTUALLY saying but, to me, not knowing either of them outside of NXT, I feel like they are NAILING IT at talking into microphones and making me feel so stoked to see two dudes make magic happen in the ring! (Obviously I watched Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay and I appreciate the blah blah technical but then the blah blah too choreographed and “is that even wrestling?” so I guess I knew what to expect with him, but I didn’t watch Tough Enough so I didn’t know Patrick Clark prior to NXT) The awesome promo-off is concluded by Ricochet doing a super duper flip out of the ring, over the ropes, to the outside of the ring and right up to Dream’s face. Pretty f-----g awesome.
Ah f--k I just got a pit in my stomach as Dakota Kai comes out for her match with Shayna Basler. (Dakota Kai reminds me of Jenny Slate and I think she is adorable.) Baszler’s theme song kinda sucked when I first heard it but I’ve digested it and I’m just such big fan of the entire Shayna Baszler character. She is the actual female Lesnar and I personally find her to be terrifying. Ah f--k, the bell just rang. Ah f--k. This match shouldn’t have happened for a few months in my opinion. I could have seen this as a Takeover match, with the proper build of course. Anyway, the sort of menacing, stalking approach Baszler has is making ME feel uncomfortable. This is just so hard to watch. This time, Shayna is focused on convincingly destroying the left knee of Dakota Kai. Good grief, that girl can SELL. Baszler does such a good job at telling a story in a match, it’s hard to believe she hasn’t been doing this for the past decade. Dakota’s hope spot is so perfectly hopeful but there is NO CHANCE that she is gonna win! Right? No, little Dakota Kai taps out or whatever (I HATE that the ref doesn’t lift the hand three times anymore) to Baszler’s submission, the Kirifuda Clutch (which his reminiscent of Samoa Joe’s Coquina Clutch). Now this will set them up for another rubber match to be referenced at a later date by someone who will sound unnatural as they say it, brother!
OH MAN IT’S NIKKI CROSS!!!!! She is the only one who somehow seems scarier than Baszler. I don’t know how they will do her without SAnitY but she is such a f-----g lunatic that it seems like she is tailor made to have the title for a while. The way that Shayna Baszler is selling her fear is so convincing. Nikki Cross demands a title match with Shanya Baszler RIGHT NOW and she declares Dakota Kai the referee and she quickly does “The Purge,” Dakota Kai counts 3 and Nikki Cross is now “the person in possession of the NXT Women’s Championship,” and we all the know that possession is 9/10ths of the law.
Well, that’s it for my very first written review of NXT, the weekly show available only on the WWE Network ($9.99 [for now]) but also streaming on Hulu a day later. I don’t give a s--t about rating or grading shows or things like this so I won’t, but I will say, it was an episode of NXT and I f-----g loved every single minute of it! It is such a more intimate experience to watch it with headphones on, too, because you REALLY hear the annoying drunk guys and the kids and the ladies and all the different points when they get f-----g PSYCHED for things! I really love the show a lot and it has built up such an amount of credit with me that they can f--k off for a while with stories or just take their time with building some of these feuds because, to be honest, I like wrestling for the s--t they do in the ring, the amazing feats of strength, the ring psychology, and so on, but I love wrestling because of the stories.
I used to watch soap operas with and FOR my mother in the late ’80s, during the time I started to get to watch wrestling on Saturday nights or whatever. I was programmed to like stories from soap operas and big sweaty men from WWF. By the time I was pubescent and still watching wrestling, I was no longer watching soaps but, I was watching the Monday Night Wars happen live and was the most into it that I ever hope to be in my lifetime. The stories, the characters, the violence, the scantily clad women — it was a perfect storm for me. I grew out of WWF after the end of WCW and because no one else watched it anymore and I just started to play in bands from then on. Since being back “into” wrestling (2010), I have seen/read about some amazing s--t but also had some tremendous lows where I asked myself very seriously “Why I am STILL watching this s--t?” I kept watching/reading/consuming content.
I am here, eight years later and I “know” what is “going on” in the world of “professional wrestling,” and I am completely dedicated to NXT. It is the perfect show for the amount of my time that I can offer to Vincent Kennedy McMahon each and every week. Did you hear that PPVs are gonna start at four hours long??? Fuuuuuuck.
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