A great opener. Grimes won after interference from Damian Priest.
REGAL ANNOUNCES A WOMEN’S #1 CONTENDERSHIP LADDER MATCH AT TAKEOVER- There will be qualifiers over the course of the next few weeks.
FINN BALOR GETS INTERRUPTED BY IMPERIUM- fine
It was just Aichner and Barthel doing the interrupting. Words were exchanged. Balor eventually started a fight which he won for a while but then got overwhelmed by the numbers game, so it looks like we’re getting babyface Balor vs. WALTER at the Mania weekend TakeOver.
AUSTIN THEORY VIDEO PACKAGE- too little, too late. He was already made to look like such a chump by Ciampa last week that anything short of a clean win here won’t do enough to rehabilitate him.
INDECIPHERABLE WACKY VIDEO PACKAGE- Word on the street is that this is for Killer Kross.
BIANCA BELAIR INTERVIEW FROM EARLIER TONIGHT- she’s going to fight Charlotte later tonight.
MIA YIM vs. XIA LI- no rating, okay segment
Xia Li got a win when Dakota Kai came out and distracted Mia. Dakota and Gonzalez attacked Mia, but Xia Li came to help Mia. Mauro claimed that this because Xia Li “stands for sportsmanship and always does things the right way,” but if that were true, she probably shouldn’t have taken advantage of a distraction that way. Gonzalez won the fight for Dakota.
VELVETEEN DREAM PROMO- Yeah… this didn’t work for me one bit. You can’t talk about someone BREAKING YOUR BACK while doing a posing routine and without changing your cadence.
TVD asked Regal to book him against Roddy in a cage match next week, which would be a second cage match on that show (Kai vs. Nox being the first).
AUSTIN THEORY vs. TOMMASO CIAMPA- 7/10
A great showing for Theory, but setting it up with last week’s segment turned this into a cementing of the fact that Theory is not close to Ciampa’s level rather than if they had just done the match without last week’s segment, which would have instead made it look like Theory was someone who wasn’t on Ciampa’s level yet, but one day might be.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- hated it
Gargano tries to attack Ciampa from behind by Ciampa saw it coming and beat him up. Theory attacked Ciampa because
UNDISPUTED ERA PROMO- fine
Roddy wants the cage match with TVD. Bobby and Kyle want a rematch with the Broserweights. Cole promises that Bobby and Kyle will regain the tag titles and that Roddy will win the North American Title back after he is done feuding with TVD so that they can be “whole” again.
KILLIAN DAIN vs. BRONSON REED- 6.5/10
GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS vs. FORGOTTEN SONS (w/Jaxson Ryker)- 6.75/10
GYZ cut a pre-match promo to get heat. It did what it was supposed to, and unlike on NXT UK or in PROGRESS, this didn’t drag on forever. This was a solid match with very good heat.
TEGAN NOX INTERVIEW- decent build for next week’s cage match with Dakota Kai.
Roddy vs. TVD in a cage has been made official for next week.
DAMIAN PRIEST INTERIVEW- good
He’s coming for the North American Title.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. BIANCA BELAIR- 7.25/10
This was what you’d expect it to be. It was a sold main event, but nothing too great.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Charlotte grabbed a chair and stomped Bianca’s leg with it, then applied the Figure Eight for a few moments until Rhea Ripley got to the ring, at which point she bailed. They went off the air very quickly, so I’m guessing the match went longer than it was supposed to. This once again felt like something that happened just to have a confrontation between Charlotte and Rhea, as Charlotte trying to injure Bianca really doesn’t make much sense because she won the match cleanly, and while she has been portrayed as an arrogant heel, has not being portrayed as a cheater or a malicious heel in this feud.
The one thing I really liked here was that unlike every other wrestler in the world, when Charlotte heard her enemy’s music playing, she didn’t freeze up. She heard her enemy’s music, but knew her opponent was way too far away to stop her, so she just kept on going and carried out the heinous deed she had planned.
This was a fine episode of NXT. There was a lot of very good to great wrestling, but a lot of what we saw had either an air of forcedness to the booking, or an air of vanilla to it. The show was “solid,” but I just can’t bring myself to agree with the notion that it made it into the realm of “good.”