Welcome back to Sports Obsessive and my NXT Review: Jan 29th. In my opinion, Worlds Collide was a pretty much hit-and-miss affair, so I was feeling cautious for the first time in a while going into this week’s NXT.
Would this be a Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm snooze fest?
Or would I have something on my hands akin to the Undisputed Era vs. Imperium showdown?
With rumors of Charlotte Flair showing up to challenge the NXT Women’s Champion still refusing to go away, I had hopes that the previous weekend’s PPV was nothing more than a glitch in the matrix, so I made myself comfortable, poured out a coffee, and crossed my fingers that they could deliver.
Well, let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring to find out.
Finn Balor vs. Trent Seven
Prince Balor is an epic bastard.
I’ll go one better and say that this version of The Prince is even better than the one that rose to fame in NJPW, just because of the vicious streak that he currently has flooding through his veins.
It was in full flow here as he attacked Trent Seven from the get-go, dropkicking him off of the apron into the middle of next week before the bell had even rung, and didn’t let up throughout
This was the kind of one-sided ass-whupping usually reserved for Jobbers and even though the man from Mustache Mountain would rally and get some offense in, there was only ever going to be one winner here.
This is a Finn Balor I can get behind.
The old face character that he’d had on the main roster had run its course with me about 45 minutes after it had debuted, all stupid grins and Finn freezes, it was just too nice, but there’s none of that on show here.
I think he’s even forgotten how to smile and that’s fine by me as I want my Prince to be the nastiest, most deadly player in the game, who defeats Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: Portland before heading into a brutal war with Tommaso Ciampa that sees him crowned a two-time NXT World Champion.
And I’m calling it, right here, right now.
Winner: Finn Balor
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Deonna Purrazzo
This wasn’t the longest bout of the night by any stretch of the imagination, but I am so high on Shotzi Blackheart right now, that I couldn’t have cared less.
There is just something about her that screams money at me every time she enters the ring.
She’s got a brilliant move-set, a great look, and has connected with the Full Sail University crowd, as well as your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer, in a way that I haven’t seen from a performer in a long time.
I can’t quite put my finger on why, but if there’s such a thing as the ‘It Factor’ then Shotzi Blackheart has ‘It’ in spades.
Whatever the outcome of the Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair match at TakeOver Portland, I hope that Miss Blackheart is the next in line for a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship as she does deserve to be in and around the title picture more than anyone else on the NXT roster.
Winner: Shotzi Blackheart
#1 Contenders Match For The NXT North American Championship: Dominik Dijakovic vs. Damian Priest
This impromptu #1 Contenders Match all came about after Damian Priest and Dominik Dijakovic had interrupted Keith Lee while we were all basking in his glory.
With both men calling dibs on the title, they came to blows, and away we went.
Both Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest, along with Lee, are completely changing how big men are viewed in wrestling every week.
This isn’t all about power moves, though they are incredibly devastating, but is a combination of strength, speed, and the ability to fly around the ring like a Luchador.
It shouldn’t be possible for men of this size and stature to do even half of what they do, but it is and it’s setting the bar higher and higher every time they put on a show.
Even though Dijakovic picked up the win here, I don’t see this being a cut-and-dried, mano-a-mano fight for TakeOver Portland.
Instead, I see Priest managing to wangle his way into the match, setting up a triple threat for Lee’s title that could very easily steal the show.
Winner And New #1 Contender: Dominik Dijakovic
Tommaso Ciampa/Adam Cole Promo
There are only ever two reasons that I’ll comment on a promo in any of my weekly reviews and that’s if they’re so terrible they’d make Britt Baker blush, or they’re so fantastic that you can hear Stone Cold cracking open a cold one and raising a toast.
This most definitely falls into the Stone Cold category.
Tommaso Ciampa is a badass no matter what side of the heel/face fence he currently falls on, and I’ve always been in awe of just how great Adam Cole (BAY-BAY!) is both in and out of the ring.
This means the thought of these two battling it out for the NXT World Title is so mouth-watering that I may just drown in my saliva.
Having laid out Cole’s compatriots with a metal fricking pipe, Ciampa headed to the squared-circle to call out the leader of the Undisputed Era, warning him that he was going to beat the crap out of him, smash him through a table, and then sign the contract.
Which he did, just like he said he would.
Admittedly, he’d have to fight back after Adam Cole (BAY-BAY!) had cracked him in the skull with a microphone and legitimately bust him open—but the man with a quest to bring Goldie home soon exacted his revenge before signing the title paper in his fricking blood.
And if that doesn’t get you psyched for what’s to come like Mojo Rawley on amphetamine, then perhaps wrestling isn’t the sport for you.
Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai
This was weird.
Not because of anything that happened between Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai, who put on a very good match, but because of the former picking up the win which pretty much lays this feud to rest.
The way they’ve been building this over the past few weeks seemed to suggest that it would all culminate at NXT: TakeOver Portland, where I fully expected Nox to finally get her hands on her ex-friend Kai and deal out some much-deserved justice.
I also expected this match to be the kick-off point—at least in-ring—that would see Kai cheat her way to victory until the show in February, but I guess the company has other things planned for the two as Tegan Nox got the win, with a little outside help from Candice LeRae, which means there’s no reason for this storyline to continue.
As I said, this was weird.
Winner: Tegan Nox
Vince McMahon Bull-Honky Alert
Robert Stone has been forcing his brand down our throats so much lately that whenever I’ve gone for a crap I can hear him yelling that Chelsea Green deserves a title shot.
As you can imagine, I’ve found this more irritating than a poison ivy enema but was curious to see just what the “Hottest Free Agent In Wrestling Today” would bring to the table.
Turns out, f*ck all.
After all the build, after all the promises of Green being the future of NXT, she lost to a woman who hadn’t won a single match in her entire time with the WWE.
What the hell?
What was the point in building her character only to have her lose her debut match to that most deadly of finishers, the surprise roll-up?
And just which one of them is in the dog-house behind the scenes?
After all, only having heat within the company could’ve led to that payoff.
The Dusty Rhodes Tag-Team Classic Final: The BroserWeights vs The Grizzled Young Veterans
And talking of heat, it seems that all the stories about Matt Riddle being in the WWE doghouse might just have been a load of crap.
If he was there is no way, no way, that he and Pete Dunne would’ve won The Dusty Rhodes Classic which should remind you not to believe everything you read on the internet.
Outside of all this, and the fact I still can’t find myself climbing aboard the Riddle train, this was a hell of a match and easily my Fight of the Night.
Both teams left it all in the ring, with the kind of wrestling that makes you want to grab a non-believer and sit them in front of your TV while yelling “LOOK!!! LOOK!” at them over and over.
It was fast-paced, hard-hitting, and slicker than a pimp with their hair greased back.
Even though I’d said that The BroserWeights were always nailed on to win the tournament, there were moments when I was convinced that Liverpool’s Finest would be walking away with the trophy, but sadly, as a supporter of my countrymen, it wasn’t to be and Dunne and Riddle would pick up the win in a fantastic match that’s worth repeat viewing.
Winners And New Dusty Rhodes Tag-Team Classic Winners: The BroserWeights
Even though it seems as if I’m a minority of one in regards to Worlds Collide, I was hoping that this week’s NXT would help scrub away some of the residues that were still lingering around after a disappointing PPV.
Well, not only did it scrub it away, it feels as if my brain has been dipped in bleach and boiled clean.
This was another superb episode and one that I’d watch again in a heartbeat and it set up some of the hottest matches going into NXT: TakeOver Portland.
Balor/Gargano, Ciampa/Cole, Dijakovic/Lee, are just three of the matches that are going to be on offer and we’re still 17 days away from the show.
I expect more developments over the next two shows, mainly because that’s how wrestling works, but have to admit there were a couple of downsides when it was all over.
The whole Chelsea Green situation is pure, unadulterated shite and very well may have damaged her character beyond repair, even before she’s got going in the company, and part of me is annoyed that Charlotte didn’t show up to challenge Ripley.
I know it makes complete sense for this not to happen, as I fully expect Flair to challenge for the RAW Tag-Team titles at Wrestlemania, believe it or not, but after the debacle of her match against Storm, who I’m convinced was more concerned about not getting hurt before her Royal Rumble appearance than she was about putting on a good match, it would’ve done Ripley some good to go toe to toe with The Queen.
Yet, these slight problems aside, there was nothing on offer from the last NXT of the month except brilliant wrestling and excellent story-telling.
And that’s all I ever want from my sports entertainment.