By Big Red Machine
From August 18, 2018
NXT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Undisputed Era(c) vs. Moustache Mountain - 9.5/10
This match was INSANE! I spent most of this match with my mouth hanging open. And I mean that literally, not figuratively. They had so much drama and so much creativity and so much just plain great tag team work. I thought the stuff with the towel was too overdramatic (even though it did play into the history of the feud nicely) and Moustache Mountain could have sold a bit better, but aside from that, this was one of those crazy matches you'll watch again and again.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good, but... The War Raiders attacked the victorious Undisputed Era after the match and totally destroyed them, hitting all of their big moves, including a big dive. The thing I didn't like about this is that it almost feels like it has to turn Undisputed Era babyface, which they absolutely shouldn't be.
EC III vs. THE VELVETEEN DREAM - 7.25/10
TVD had "call me up, Vince" written on his tights. I guess he hasn't been paying attention to what happens to people who get called up. Heads and necks were worked over. Ethan took a nasty DDT-type move on the ramp and sold it well, which is normally a weak point of his, so hopefully this is a sign that the WWE system is getting him to overcome that weakness rather than just a lucky aberration.
MATT RIDDLE IS IN THE CROWD - Bro looks weird as f*ck in a suit.
NXT NORTH AMERICAN TITLE MATCH:
Adam Cole(c) vs. Ricochet - 8.5/10
Ricochet set out to do his Ricochet stuff and win the title while Cole worked over his neck to try to stop him, trash talking all the while. They had lots of CRAZY athletic spots in here, as you'd expect, with Ricochet finishing the match in such a way to ensure that there is no longer any possible way that cole can deny that Ricochet is, in fact, a truly "special" talent.
NXT WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Shayna Baszler(c) vs. Kairi Sane - 8.5/10
They showed the other (MMA) Horsewomen in the crowd... so of course the whole crowd turned to look at them instead of the match. Whoops.
This match was basically a masterclass in making every single move count. Kairi worked over Baszler's back while Baszler worked over the knee. Kairi's selling was the usual excellence, Baszler was her usual great heel self, and they put together and executed a match that build wonderfully from moment to moment.
NXT UK COMMERCIAL - It's merely "coming soon." How the f*ck do we not have an official date yet? They've been planning this thing for almost two years now!
LAST MAN STANDING MATCH FOR THE NXT TITLE:
Tommaso Ciampa(c) vs. Johnny Gargano - a PERFECT 10/10!
Gargano glommed Ciampa from behind during his introduction to start things off. This was everything you'd expect from a Last Man Standing Match world title main event in a feud with two guys who absolutely loathe each other, but what really made this special was how well they incorporated so many of the motifs of this feud into the match. The best comparison I can give to this was Steen vs. Generico from Final Battle 2010. This was a match that could only happen for this exact feud.
The finish here might be a little controversial, but I decided to give it the full ten for the following reason. I have, on rare occasion, given a match only 9.75/10 because it felt to me like in order to complete the story they were telling, the other guy needed to win (Nakamura vs. Ibushi from the Tokyo Dome and Klinger vs. Dragunov from the wXw 17th Anniversary Show are the two that pop into my head right away, but their might have been one or two others), and I did kind of feel that way here, but unlike those matches, this one felt like the feud still has a story to tell, and that this is just another thing to set Gargano on a new path which will inevitably intersect with Ciampa's at some point in the medium-term future. These two will need to be separated after this for a bit, but they will almost certainly be back together by next year's WrestleMania.
This was another predictably FANTASTIC show from NXT. There really isn't much else to say. If you want great professional wrestling storytelling and outstanding professional wrestling action in the same place and with a big-show feel, NXT is the place to be right now.