NXT returned to us last night (June 17) from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.
Bayley & Sasha Banks defended their titles successfully against Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox. It was a fun match with a clever ending that had me saying “Oh, c’mon, they cheated at the end of the match.”
Blackheart had escaped the Banks Statement, turning it into a Cattle Mutilation. But Bayley came in the ring with a chair, distracting the referee. When the ref took care of the chair, Bayley didn’t just break up the submission, she positioned them so Sasha could immediately lock the Banks Statement back on to get the win. So it wasn’t a squeaky clean win and made Nox and Shotz look good in the process, but it was a very good heel win.
But it was the post match angle that really has me excited.
Io Shirai came to the ring and attacked both champions, letting them know NXT is hers now. She cleared the ring and stood tall with her NXT title. This could set up Io vs. Bayley, Io vs. Sasha, or Io & a partner vs. both. All matches that would be very good. (Io vs. Sasha is the one I’d want to see the most.)
They shouldn’t take up too much space in the NXT women’s division, but they could help elevate it with a few matches. Now they can’t beat everyone and leave. That doesn’t help much. We’ve talked about that with Charlotte (though I do think the Queen helped elevate Io Shirai). But a couple key matches will surely be enjoyable.
Given NXT is doing a very good job featuring a lot of women currently, Horsewomen involvement on the black & gold isn’t going to inhibit its growth compared to if they were just running the main event angles.
Showcasing the Tag Division
Breezango’s tag match against the champs Imperium was really more a showcase of the entire division.
At the end of the bout, Indus Sher tried to attack Tyler Breeze, but that brought out Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch. It directly led to a Breezango lost when Fandango got confused of who the legal man was in the fray.
But this was more a move meant to highlight the entire division than it was to serve as a major title match. No doubt Tyler Breeze & Fandango will continue to be in the championship picture. They’re too talented to be a one and done. And they’re too entertaining. That entrance was gold and their specific combination of comedy and talent is something that shouldn’t be denied as long as it has.
It’s possible they play the veterans who are used to build the rest of the division here, and a young team like Indus Sher could use that, but they definitely deserve a run with some gold at one point. That’s something that’s never happened in WWE/NXT. And it definitely should.
NXT set up some big matches in a typical “bunch of interruption” segment.
Keith Lee interrupted a speech by Adam Cole, followed by an interruption by Johnny Gargano, and then Finn Bálor. It is a typical pro wrestling trope, but the unique personalities of all four men made it entertaining enough.
They set up some major matches though. Keith Lee defends his North American title next week against Finn Bálor and Johnny Gargano. The winner of that match faces Adam Cole in a winner takes all match. It’s bound to be a fire match between Cole & Keith or Cole & Finn. (Johnny’s been great in this role, but he doesn’t fit facing Adam Cole in a high stakes championship match.)
This also keeps Karrion Kross lurking for a bit longer as it’s too soon to give him a major title program. He’ll get there eventually, and probably sooner than later. But he needs at least one more major program before getting there.
If You’re Gonna Spew, Spew in this Ring
Robert Stone has been wildly entertaining.
This week, he was drunk as hell in the crowd when Aliyah has come out. For some reason, she still wants to join his brand even though he’s proven to be a complete mess. But it was that mess this week that aided Aliyah, who picked up the win over Xia Li after Robbie puked into the ring.
You read that all correctly. My man blew chunks on the canvas.
Not only has Robbie been great, going all in on his complete meltdown, but Aliyah has been fun in this story as well. I’ve always been critical of Aliyah, especially the fact she never found a gimmick that worked. But this is working for her. Her desperation in this angle is funny, even carrying Stone to the ring, propping him up, and telling him to watch her match.
Now that Aliyah has her elusive win, what happens now? Can these two ultimate losers help each other out?
A Subtle Change
Damian Priest gutted out a win against Killian Dain, selling that back injury he picked up after the nasty ring step bump from TakeOver.
It looks like Priest is not the heel he used to be. The angle here is he proved himself against Bálor but was a bit humbled in defeat. This week, he sold against the big Dain until he was able to hit the Reckoning for the win. It was a fine match, but nothing that stuck with me.
What did stick was the reminder that Killian Dain is in NXT. Remember when he went back to NXT and everyone though it’d be great for him given his talent? Now he’s just being used as a big obstacle for the guy they want to push to overcome. That’s disappointing.
– Santos Escobar’s crew, known as El Legado del Fantasma, beat the hell out of Drake Maverick again this week. The big takeaway from this stable now: They look friggin’ smooth.
– Velveteen Dream has rejected Dexter Lumis’ overture to team together, which was presented by a drawing of the two of them holding the titles left for Dream. This goes one of two ways: Dream eventually relents and they become NXT’s newest odd couple team, or one of them flips on the other and this becomes a feud. Personally, I’d prefer the former.
– Roddy Strong is still dealing with his trauma from the Lumis attack, so Adam Cole and Bobby Fish took him to a therapist (who was Kyle O’Reilly). They decided Strong should confront his fear and get into the trunk of a car. In what was the funniest moment of the segment, they encourage Roddy to get in the trunk but he just runs down the street.
– Dakota Kai submits Kayden Carter. She had some help with Raquel González creating some distractions out of the ring, and laying out Kacy Catanzaro, who was supporting Carter ringside, in the process. After a rough start to Kai’s heel run, she’s been consistently picking up wins, as she should be.
– Bronson Reed literally squashed Leon Ruff before he called out Karrion Kross for next week. He’s going to get his ass kicked.
This was a pretty fun episode this week:
Sound off below.