Hello and buckle in! Ive had “one of those days” so let’s see what happens as we kick off another week of NXT! I watched some of Raw this week and only remembered yesterday that it was the go-home episode for Money in the Bank and I was confused. That led me to skip Smackdown altogether. I’m stoked for NXT. They usually let you know that there is something cool going on this coming weekend, rather than just assume that we were all already planning on watching it.
This week is starting off with War Raiders. I like the entrance and the theme song is a pretty f-----g awesome “in the style of Mastodon” song. Their nameless, faceless opponents are already in the ring and the match is basically a wonderful 1980s squash match. It’s great because it gives ME, the uninformed viewer, a chance to get to know these dudes. The skinnier War Raider lets the jobber tag his partner and then he just destroys him. It’s a very physical match for the enhancement guys but I just cant get into the face paint for the War Raiders. I’m still not sold. The top rope leg drop/belly to back suplex is pretty f-----g sick, but I don’t love these dudes yet. I don’t nessacarily like these guys on the mic, but I think they said four words, and the whole thing is aimed at The Mighty, so maybe I’m actually on board. The Mighty guys just kinda stink.
Undisputed Era backstage!! F--k yes they are such a great Kliq 2.0! Those are the type of bits I wanna see every f-----g episode! Those dudes RULE.
F-----g f--k off with showing me the stupid Fozzy video. I’m almost surprised that Chris Jericho (my all time favorite wrestler) gets away with as much cross promotion as he does, ESPECIALLY given that he is currently the IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Maybe it speaks to how great he actually is. Maybe Fozzy is a separate thing from Chris Jericho. But that video still blows.
The video package for Johnny and Tommaso seems to get better each week. I’m really pretty f-----g pumped up for this match. I feel like this will be the one that I will be quietly focused on while it’s happening. I don’t even care who wins at this point because I’m impressed by them equally.
Eric Cartman the 3rd makes his way to the ring and I JUUUUST picked on him but I’ve been a mark for him since I first saw him. So far so good, NXT. (I know that TNA/IMPACT/GFW gets credit for him as well, but again, I never really saw him there so it doesnt matter to me any more than anyone else cutting teeth on the indies.) EC3 has done his part though. His whole ring entrance is on point and he is just such a douchebag that I wanna see him get the s--t kicked right out of him. Then he does some slick s--t and I’m impressed. By no means is EC3 a great wrestler but he has the shape and the pizzazz and I like him. OG-KO looks like a f-----g beast in this match and it makes me want to stop watching this and go watch old videos of him but anyways this continues. Kassius Ohno knows how to throw a mean f-----g right. All of his offense looks so f-----g real that I cant help but feel bad for whomever he is in the ring with. Not soon after that nice little comeback, EC3 tosses him on his shoulder and does a swinging diamond cutter aka “The 1%”. I hate the name of the finish and it makes me like it all even more. Being a self aware smart mark is a really weird, sort of demented head space to exist in; there is no line between reality and kayfabe. Kayfabe is real, reality is a work.
As a commercial for Takeover plays I just can’t help but feel the most excited to see Lars Sullivan leave there as the champ and just wreak havoc on NXT for the next two Takeovers at LEAST.
Bianca “the EST” Belair is up next and this is the first match I will have seen of hers since seeing the really touching video about her a few weeks back so let’s see how the formula of “video package/time off/match” works out for me. I already dont care about her opponent Alliyah so, lets bring it, Bianca. I “get” that she wants to be the BEST but I don’t feel like I know what her purpose IS in NXT, other than to “do a good job.” Oh f--k, the deadlift military press move is very impressive. Torture rack to a sit down face buster sounds like some annoying genre of music but that was, in fact, the finish. Belair is getting to the point in this division where one good feud could put her over, but I can’t even imagine who that could be with.
Segue into video of Shayna “Bizarro Bayley” Baszler being the scariest member of the whole NXT roster. I seem to be on a lonely island of fandom for both Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross but this will be such a great and entertaining match that feels almost tailor made for a fan like me. This four minute video has done the only bit of actually setting up a match that needed no setup because the setup is simple: Nikki Cross is insane and wants to fight Shayna Baszler who just so happens to be the champ. Done. Anyways, I’m f-----g stoked for this match, suffice to say.
Dakota Kai backstage interview with Kathy or whatever her name is and I seriously hope that Shayna doesn’t show up backstage….oh, there it is, Bianca Belair. And Dakota Kai. Ok, lets see. I like Dakota a LOT and if Bianca is the right amount of a-----e to her then that just might do it.
SHOCK THE SYSTEM! Hell f-----g YES. Even though its just Kyle O’Reilly it’s still THIS SONG. I pop every time he plays the title like a guitar a la Hollywood Hogan. BOOM. That part of the song is soooooooo f-----g “over.” Pete Dunne comes out with his crazy long hair and his funny little singlet. That dude is such a heel in the ring and its cool to see that his style hasn’t really changed or evolved into the WWE style. I had watched several of his matches during my brief stint with watching WCPW regularly and he is essentially the same dude now as he was then, maybe just a tad bit less methodical. Geez, this is just a mat classic! There goes old Petey Pants, cranking on fingers and just generally thumping the s--t out of O’Reilly! Nobody works body parts or joints quite like Pete Dunne. It’s a bit difficult to watch some of this s--t, especially with the faces that Kyle O’Reilly makes. Nigel just referred to Pete Dunne as a vegan in a kinda dismissive way. That was weird. Anyways, the psychology in this match is so impressive. O’Reilly put a sleeper hold on Dunne just enough to break a submission and then he immediately let off to give himself a chance to recover. It is brilliant work instead of just “spot-spot-spot-spot”. Dunne just head butted the s--t out of O’Reilly and it turns into one of those New Japan moments of “strike-strike-kick-strike-kick-etc-etc-COLLAPSE”. These two dudes are mangling each other. Dunne sneaks in The Bitter End and retains, just in time for Adam Cole (BAY BAY) and RodMan Strong to run in and then get joined by The British/Boston Soccer Hooligans Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Based on the fact that The Hooligans are standing tall at the end of their segment on the go home episodes, they will lose at Takeover.
The final segment features the NXT Champ, Aleister Black, which rules. I like seeing the champion on TV, holding the belt, looking like a badass. I don’t know that I like him being the champ anymore and I will probably be pretty surprised and disappointed if he manages to somehow retain at Takeover: Chicago. I really hope that Black doesn’t get buried when he is inevitably called up to the main roster. He still isn’t perfect on the mic but I think less is more with him. Lars Sullivan comes out to: a) reinforce the truth that his chest is the shape of an actual wooden barrel and b) f--k s--t up. Aleister Black is going to get eaten the f--k alive by this mosterous f-----g ogre, Lars Sullivan. Geez, I feel compelled to refer to him by his full name out of fear/respect! Wow, Sullivan is just dismantling Black ahead of this match. This is almost too much devastation ahead of this match. Lars Sullivan will be a really good, unbeatable heel champion. It will be a big deal when someone eventually pins him. I just read on Wikipedia that his real name is Dylan Miley. Yikes. I was only trying to see if he had been defeated or not yet (I thought Black had beaten him once but I guess not) and now I know what his real name is and I hate it. F-----g kayfabe, brother.
Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, I didn’t even realize that Raw was the go home show for the fifth biggest (and fourth in some folks’ estimation) PPV of the year. That is stupid. I only even turned it on to see that Mr. Skinny-Fat shaved his skullet and I ended up leaving it on and generally ignoring it. In realizing that MITB is this weekend during the day Tuesday I felt even less inspired to see a lackluster Smackdown and even more stoked for NXT! This was not a terribly great episode this week but it did build my suspense for at least three of the matches, so I know my time will be used wisely this coming Saturday night. I’m pretty much convinced that Aleister Black will lose the title, I’m pretty sure Nikki Cross will make Shayna Baszler look like the toughest f-----g champion on the show without actually winning and I am CERTAIN the Gargano and Chiampa will make me feel every possible feeling during a wrestling match. I am simultaneously looking forward to and DREADING that unsanctioned event.
In the words of the immortal Jason Hook:
Wrestling Rules. F--k The World. Party Hard.
Do you love wrestling? Do you have strong opinions on AEW, WWE, NJPW, Impact, ROH, and the independent scene? Do you like to write about wrestling? Then we want you on our team. AIPT is currently recruiting wrestling writers. Apply to write for AIPT today!