And we’re back here on Sports Obsessive with my NXT Review: Feb 5th. After RAW had been a Bull-Honky fest of epic proportions and AEW Dark had been good, but not great, it was the turn of NXT to try and bring some perfection to the wrestling world.
It’s getting to the point now where your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer is giving serious consideration to just skipping the start of the week and kicking off from a Wednesday, as both NXT and AEW Dynamite always seem to deliver.
This episode would be no different and had the perfect mix of storyline progression and in-ring action, which is all I ever ask.
So let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring for the NXT Review.
Angel Garza vs. Isaiah Scott
After the opening promo had set up a match for the tag-team titles at NXT: TakeOver Portland, between the Broserweights and The Undisputed Era, it was time for the first bout of the evening.
I have a problem here.
Not with anything that happened in the squared circle, as it was a barnstormer to kick everything off, but with just how WWE wants us to treat Angel Garza.
He’s a firm fan favorite with the Full Sail University crowd but when he showed up on RAW this week he was aligned with Zelina Vega, meaning that we were all supposed to suddenly hate him by association.
This is confusing and annoying in equal measures, as we’ve all already stuck our flag to his mast, so to speak, and decided that he’s one of our own, but it seems as if the company still doesn’t like it when we make our own decisions in regards to their superstars and trusts us even less when it comes to picking the next big thing.
Regardless, Garza got a huge pop throughout, as did Isaiah Scott, and both men put in some great work here and set the tone for what was to come.
Winner: Angel Garza
#1 Contenders Match For The North American Championship: Dominik Dijakovic vs. Killian Dain
Hold on, hang about, didn’t we sort this out last week?
Didn’t Dijakovic face Damian Priest to decide who’d be facing Keith Lee at NXT: TakeOver Portland?
So what now?
We’re just supposed to assume that if someone wants a shot at a #1 contender’s match all they have to do is head over to the training center and call said #1 contender out, as Killian Dain did?
Goddamn it wrestling logic, why do you not make sense?
All that aside the match we got was great. Dain is one of the most underutilized talents on the NXT roster so it was good to see him get some much-needed and deserved screen time and I’ve already said countless times that I think Dominik Dijakovic is helping redefine how we think of big men in wrestling.
He’d get the win after hitting the Feast For Your Eyes, leading to Keith Lee meeting him at the top of the ramp and confirming their date at NXT: TakeOver Portland.
That is until someone else calls him out next week for the giggles.
Winner And Still/New/Make-Your-Damn-Minds-Up #1 Contender For The NXT North American Championship: Dominik Dijakovic
Johnny Gargano/Finn Balor Promo
Alright, let’s get the elephant in the room moved out, shall we?
Prince Balor’s face throughout this promo was f*cking hysterical.
I don’t know if Finn’s spent so much time being the smiley babyface that he’s forgotten how to do sit-down heel, but this had me rolling in the aisles.
I just couldn’t get over how much it looked like he was sat on the crapper, trying to have a very unpleasant bowel movement, but if you could ignore this, which I eventually managed though God knows how, this did exactly what it should’ve and made me eager to see these two face off in what promises to be a brutal war that will steal the show.
I’m still calling a Prince Balor win here, to set up a crack at Ciampa after he knocks off Adam Cole (Bay-Bay!), but I do not doubt that Johnny Gargano will put in the kind of performance that helped make him known as Mr. NXT: TakeOver.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Kacy Catanzaro
Don’t let the proceeding picture confuse you, this was nothing but a squash match designed to leave Mercedes Martinez looking like a beast.
Which it did, kind of.
The problem here is that Catanzaro doesn’t even reach the top rope when she’s stood up, so it did seem as if Martinez was just beating up a child for most of this, but it did what it was supposed to which is a good thing.
If you like violence against kids.
Winner: Mercedes Martinez
Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Breeze
After a massive brawl between The Broserweights, Tommaso Ciampa, and The Undisputed Era had set up a 6 Man Tag-Team Main Event, it was time for the newly crowned NXT Cruiserweight Champion to step through the ropes.
I don’t think I was the only one who was surprised when Jordan Devlin picked up the title at Worlds Collide, but if anyone can carry the division to another level, then it’s the Irish Ace.
He’s just on the right side of arrogant and has you believing everything he says and has more than enough ability in the ring to back it up.
If I was shocked by his win initially then I’d be even more shocked if they took the belt off of him anytime soon and I hope that they keep him on the black and yellow brand for a long time yet, as if they move him to 205 Live then he might as well sit out his contract and move on.
As for Tyler Breeze, well, I’m kind of conflicted.
I’m a huge mark for Prince Pretty and it was obvious to anyone with eyes that he was being wasted on the main roster, but his move back to NXT hasn’t gone as well as I would’ve hoped.
He’s in danger of becoming a jobber, someone who might put in a valiant effort and knock out some stellar matches but always comes up short, and I just hope that isn’t the case.
I pray I’m wrong here but nothing he’s done recently has convinced me otherwise and picking up another loss, even if it was to Devlin in a good bout, just seems to confirm my fears.
Winner: Jordan Devlin
Bianca Belair/Charlotte Flair/Rhea Ripley Promo
Don’t f*ck with NXT.
That was the message sent loud and clear to The Queen, and the company, after Belair and Ripley teamed up to lay her out.
I gotta say, she had it coming.
Being her wonderful heel self she showed up and just ignored Bianca Belair before insulting her, which lead to what followed, making this a must-see segment for anyone interested in the art of the promo.
But let’s get one thing straight here, there is no way, no way, that this is going to become a triple-threat at Wrestlemania as some other, more click-bait-driven, sites would have you believe.
First off, I doubt that Big Vinny is all that thrilled that he’s going to have to give over a slot to the NXT Women’s Championship on the Show of Shows as it is and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to change the ending so Flair walks out the winner.
Hopefully, common sense will prevail in the guise of Triple H, who should be able to convince his father-in-law that Ripley is the only logical choice here and that the shine it will put on the third brand will see the company rake in the dough.
Secondly, no matter how much I’m warming to Bianca Belair, she isn’t at the level yet where she deserves to be on the Wrestlemania card.
Next year? Sure.
This year? Not even close.
So expect Ripley to carry the title until Apr. 5 and don’t be worried, she’ll walk out still NXT Women’s Champion as long as insanity doesn’t get the better of VKM.
6 Man Tag-Team Match: The Undisputed Era vs. Matt Riddle, Pete Dunne, And Tommaso Ciampa
This was insane.
It all started earlier in the night when The Undisputed Era went looking for Tommaso Ciampa to exact some form of revenge for the beating he laid on all four members last week, but it looked like they’d have to settle for slapping around hapless wrestlers who were just milling about backstage, as he was no-where to be found.
Until he jumped out of a production truck to lay another ass-whupping on them.
This would eventually spill into the ring and when it looked as if the 4 on 1 beat-down would be the norm, Dunne and Riddle can to the rescue and all hell broke loose.
They brawled for what seemed like two days, even going so far as to get back at it after William Regal had made the match, but it didn’t become boring which is the mark of athletes who know what they’re doing.
And it didn’t stop there.
As The Undisputed Era made their way out for the Main Event, they got bum-rushed by The Broserweights and Ciampa and the madness carried on.
Honestly, there was so much happening here it was hard to keep track but when a wrestling match finally did break out, it was a thing of beauty.
There wasn’t one person involved here who didn’t score high on my “Great work, bro” o-meter and that includes Matt Riddle, who I’ve been less than kind to over the past couple of weeks.
I still might not “get it” when it comes to “The Bro”, but he was on fire here, even going as far as to take on The Undisputed Era all by himself with vicious-looking strikes and suplexes galore.
it would end in a DQ after Roderick Strong had enough of sitting on the side-lines, but this wouldn’t end with another kicking for Ciampa, even though he was on the end of quite a long one for a while there, as eventually the lights would go out and when they came back up the Velveteen Dream was stood on the top turnbuckle and ready to fly.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you close out a show.
Winners By DQ: The Broserweights And Tommaso Ciampa
If you ever want to know how to build a near-perfect show, then this week’s NXT should guide your way.
It proved, as it does every seven days, that you don’t need overly complicated storylines or fake weddings to get the crowd invested in what you’re doing, just let those that need promo time have it and keep it simple and fill the remaining time with world-class wrestling.
Why the two other shows seem intent on having all the hooey and dog-food bullshit going on is completely f*cking beyond me and makes me yearn for the time where Vinnie Mac is no longer running the whole enchilada, which is a shame as he’s Vince McMahon and should be shown more respect.
But to hell with it, he needs to step aside and soon if RAW and SmackDown have any hope of keeping its core audience while adding in a new generation of fans.
Also, if you’re only ever here for NXT then enjoy The Undisputed Era while you’ve got them, as after Wrestlemania they’re gone and my guess is to the red brand where they’ll go after a freshly crowned WWE Champion in Drew McIntyre.
I calling it and I’m calling it right now.
Whether or not they’ll get the gold, well, depends on who’s running the show but they won’t be in NXT for much longer as the main roster is seriously lacking in factions that anyone can get behind.
Besides, I want to see the looks on the casual’s faces when Adam Cole comes out to the ring and does his Bay-Bay! schtick.
I’m guessing it’ll be asking to the confused face monkeys make when given a tin of peaches and a can opener.