When you look at WWE pay-per-view events through the years, we often find ourselves pleasantly surprised when things don’t look great. A card might look relatively weak going in, but those shows end up being entertaining.
I’m looking forward to seeing if that extends to NXT shows, because… well… this is easily one of the worst overall cards that an NXT Takeover or Takeover-style show has ever had. With that said, I’m still looking forward to a bunch of this, so let’s not waste any more time.
Are you ready?
Because I’m ready.
If you’re ready, and if I’m ready, then there’s only one thing left to do. I need you to say it with me, folks…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:03) We’re getting started with six-man tag action. Legado Del Fantasma take on Tony D’Angelo, Channing “Stacks” Lorenzo, and Troy “Two Dimes” Donovan. The losing team will be forced to join the winning team’s “family” in this cartel vs mafia storyline. Look… unless we’re going to start seeing murders, racketeering, drug dealing, and things of that nature, all of this is far too cartoonish and corny to be taken seriously, and I say that as someone who really likes Santos Escobar and Tony D’Angelo. Let’s see if the in-ring action can make up for what everything else is lacking.
(0:08) The opening bell finally rings.
(0:09) In a great touch, Escobar and D’Angelo are standing in their respective corners, staring daggers at each other. They haven’t taken their eyes off of each other since things got underway.
(0:10) After some action involving the other four men, the crowd erupts and gives a standing ovation when Escobar and D’Angelo tag into the match.
(0:13) I think the main reason that it’s difficult for me to get into this is that Stacks and Two Dimes don’t look like tough guys. Two Dimes, specifically, looks like he would’ve been standing in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch store in the mall a few years ago.
(0:17) The crowd is eating everything up so far. LDF are super over. Escobar is capable of so much more than NXT has allowed him to show.
(0:19) Our first “this is awesome” chant of the night! Like I said, this crowd is on fire. One of the hottest NXT crowds in recent memory. We’ll see how long that continues.
(0:21) After an inadvertent shot with brass knucks, Tony D’Angelo and his crew pick up the win. Again… Santos Escobar is capable of so much more. This was a fun opener, made better by a super hot crowd. I’ll give that 3.5 stars.
(0:26) The next match is for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles, with the Toxic Attraction duo of Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne defending the titles against Katana Chance and Kayden Carter.
(0:28) We see video from earlier tonight, when Toxic Attraction drove into the building in a Bentley. Comically, all three women stepped out of the car in their ring gear and with their title belts around their waists. Probably not the most comfortable way to ride around in a car, but what the fuck do I know? They had no bags, purses, etc. That’s all they travel around with?
(0:32) There are a lot of small, petite women that have been involved in the wrestling business, but Katana Chance takes that to another level. She’s listed at five-feet-tall and weighing 95 pounds, but when you watch her in the ring, both of those stats seem awfully generous. She makes women like AJ Lee, Alexa Bliss, and Zelina Vega look like Raquel Gonzalez.
(0:36) “Have you ever been smacked in the face with a ballsack, Vic?!?” – Woi Bar-ruh, on commentary, presented without context.
(0:37) The crowd is still hot, but nowhere near to the level that we saw during the opening match. Not surprising. This feud has nowhere near the level of heat that the first feud had.
(0:40) Toxic Attraction wins after Dolin pins Carter with a beautifully done suplex. The champions retain their titles, and will now hit the two-month mark of their reign. Not a bad match. It wasn’t a classic or anything, but all four women worked really hard. Let’s say 2.75 stars.
(0:44) We’re going from one title match to another title match. The North American Title is on the line now, with Cameron Grimes defending against the former champion, Carmelo Hayes. As is always the case when Cameron Grimes is mentioned, I am legally and contractually obligated to mention the fact that he nearly broke my leg at an independent wrestling show a few years back.
(0:48) This has all the potential needed to be special. We’ll see.
(0:50) In just a short period of time, it sure does seem like Melo has moved above the North American Title. Nothing against the title, but he should be competing for the NXT Championship, or even working on Monday or Friday nights.
(0:54) Springboard DDT onto the ring apron spikes Grimes in nasty fashion on the side of his neck. Great bump.
(0:56) Both Grimes and Hayes are working a physical style here. There have been some stiff strikes and hard bumps.
(0:59) I don’t know why it’s funny to me, but I find it hilarious that Trick Williams is sweating his ass off at ringside. He’s rocking a vest with no shirt, but he is so animated with everything that he does that he’s working himself into a sweaty mess.
(1:02) After I type that, Trick is on the receiving end of two shots from Grimes, giving him even more reason to sweat.
(1:04) Melo hits his picture-perfect leg drop from the top, and he wins. He’s now a two-time North American Champion. That puts him on the board with Johnny Gargano (who had three reigns) as the only people to hold the North American Title more than once. A very good match, as everyone expected. 4 stars.
(1:07) We get another lame, rambling vignette from Joe Gacy. I’m sorry, but this storyline with Gacy and Bron Breakker is some of the worst stuff in wrestling right now. For one, none of it makes sense. Two, Gacy’s facial expressions make him look like someone pretending to be crazy instead of someone who is actually crazy. There never is a three. Four, the druids are… doing what, exactly? Five, Gacy has no business being in this spot, kayfabe or otherwise. Nothing that has happened is doing either man any favors.
(1:11) Looks like we’re going to another title match. Well, I guess we have to, as the only match on the show that wasn’t for a title was the show opener. This time, Mandy Rose defends the NXT Women’s Title against Wendy Choo. The Choo gimmick, and her antics, are either something you love or something you hate with a passion. There’s no in between. I love her character work. My problem is that she has no business being in the title picture. As a comedic character, running wild on Tuesday nights and Wile E. Coyote-ing people? That’s fine. This, though? It’s ridiculous.
(1:17) During the pre-match introductions, Choo tried to hit the champion with a stuffed animal that was fired from a slingshot. She missed. From like two feet away. Oops.
(1:19) For a character that sleeps all the time, it’s weird that Wendy Choo always has a face that is chock fucking full of makeup. Think of any women you know or have ever met. If any of them are sleeping with a full set of makeup on, it’s probably because they’re fucking wasted. Is Wendy Choo a raging alcoholic? These… these are the questions.
(1:23) It doesn’t seem like the crowd cares very much about this match.
(1:28) The champion wins, mercifully putting this match to an end. Not terrible… just not all that good. Let’s say 2 stars and move on. Toxic Attraction are having quite the night.
(1:33) Roxanne Perez and Tiffany Stratton, the women who will be competing in the final match of the Women’s Breakout Tournament this Tuesday night, are in a backstage promo. Hooray, I guess?
(1:36) The NXT Tag Team Titles are on the line in our next match. Pretty Deadly defend against The Creed Brothers. For added stakes, The Creed Brothers will be booted from The Diamond Mine if they lose. With Diamond Mine members being released left and right since the group debuted, maybe it’s for the best if Julius and Brutus are no longer involved.
(1:39) Like Bron Breakker and Carmelo Hayes, The Creeds have proven to be some of the best stars created in this new era of NXT. Their matches have been tons of fun, and NXT crowds have really gotten behind them.
(1:43) I know it’s the easy comparison to make, but there is some big-time Steiner Brothers vibes when it comes to The Creeds. If you’re going to be compared to a tag team in history, there aren’t many better that you could be linked to than Rick and Scott Steiner.
(1:46) The crowd has been surprisingly split with their reactions here. They’re still mostly behind the challengers, but Pretty Deadly are getting more of a face reaction than I thought they would.
(1:51) Brutus Creed looks to have some nasty welting around his right armpit, most likely from hitting the ropes at some point. It seems like we’re seeing that more and more in recent months.
(1:54) A SHOOTING STAR PRESS FROM JULIUS! He follows it up with a Lariat, and we have new champs! Well done from both teams. The right duo won. That was a lot of fun. I’m going to give it 3.5 stars, but I think I’ll probably go a little higher on a second, more focused viewing.
(1:57) Barring some weird unannounced stuff, we only have one match left on the show. It’s very refreshing to have these events not last four-plus hours, that’s for sure. Then again, short of adding an Ironman Match to the card, can you imagine how much they would need to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get the NXT roster to have a show that lasts over four hours? Yuck.
(2:01) Sure enough, it’s main event time. Bron Breakker defends the NXT Title against Joe Gacy, and with an added stipulation, the champion can lose the title via disqualification. Sigh. Let’s get this over with. For the love of all that is good in the world, I need this to be a decisive win for the champion so that he can move on to something that isn’t killing him on a weekly basis.
(2:08) The druids at ringside look like two guys wearing Big Daddy V-style pajamas. How the fuck is this supposed to be anything except for goofy?
(2:10) I’m just not sure who this Gacy stuff is supposed to be for. The part-cult leader, part-supernatural, all-doofus schtick is dumb.
(2:15) As if you didn’t connect the dots already to compare him to Bray Wyatt, now Gacy gets to have a spot where he’s upside down in the corner and trying to intimidate his opponent. Yawn.
(2:16) Dueling “Let’s go, Gacy” and “Gacy sucks” chants. That says a lot. It could’ve been dueling “Let’s go, Gacy” and “Let’s go, Bron” chants, but that portion of the crowd would rather talk shit about Joe Gacy than praise Bron Breakker.
(2:20) Gacy tries the old Eddie Guerrero routine of slamming a chair on the mat behind the Referee’s back and then throwing the chair to his opponent. Right as the Referee goes to disqualify Bron, another Ref is out to stop him and tell him what really happened.
(2:21) Bron hits Gacy with a Spear, sending Gacy flying off the ring apron and through the announce table. Ouch.
(2:23) The champ hits one of the biggest Spears of all-time and then gets the pin and the win. Thank God. It makes sense with the story, but there was too much focus on trying to get Bron disqualified, both with druid interference and the constant use of a steel chair. How about giving that 2.5 stars and calling it a night?
(2:26) We go off the air with the champion celebrating in the aisleway.
Well… that wasn’t a bad show. Some really good stuff, and then some decent stuff. One of those shows that will probably be wholly forgotten within months, if not weeks.
I’ll be right back here tomorrow night for my Hell In A Cell Running Diary.