Man oh man it has been one hell of a week and while it is finally over for Chicago, I have one more hour of wrestling to enjoy! Typically the NXT that airs after a TakeOver is just a glorified highlight reel of said TakeOver with one or two matches that were filmed as dark matches before the PPV, so it’s the same set, same presentation and more importantly, same crowd! Then they will go back to Full Sail and do the next set of tapings. I will usually accidentally read spoilers but thankfully I have such a poor memory that most of it ends up being a surprise when it happens. This may end up a shorter review or may just end up a sort of recap of this past cycle of NXT with some thoughts about the coming chapter.
OH F--K considering I DO already know one spoiler that I don’t think will be in this episode which is that SPOILER ALERT Undisputed Era lost the tag titles to Mustache Mountain aka Strong Style Collective aka Tyler Bate and Trent Seven! That s--t f-----g RULES! I was treated to several matches by the aforementioned Mustache Mountain during my brief affair with WCPW and I can tell you, Mustache Mountain f-----g RULES. It’s crazy how good Tyler Bate is. He does such a thorough job in that gimmick that I wouldn’t have even imagined how f-----g badass he is in Progress Wrestling. I’m all the more impressed because he is only 21 years old and wrestles like a dude with more than a decade in the ring behind him. Okay, enough putting Tyler Bate over. Those fuckfaces beat Roddy and O’Reilly. That stinks. On to this week’s ACTUAL episode of NXT!
The whole thing starts with a nice still image of Leon White aka Vader and then, kinda tastelessly, goes to the scrolling news feed thing at the bottom of the screen, explaining that Vader died Monday night at the age of 63 and then they run some wrestler’s tweets. I guess this is the first “content” WWE has had a chance to pay tribute on but it’s kind of a throwaway way to do it and also it takes away from this whole recap video package. Ugh. The video package made TakeOver seem even better than it I remember it being, which is great because I loved it! (Vic Joseph is great. I’ll almost miss him next week when Mauro is back)
The first match in this leftovers episode of TakeOver is Dakota Kai, aka the Second coming of Bayley, facing off against Bianca Belair and now I remember about last week’s little setup for this match. I have little expectations for this match. So far this is GREAT! Dakota has some nasty kicks and some clever moves but she is so adorable and likable! Some dude just yelled “The E-S-T sucks!” F-----g dorks. Bianca Belair seems really likable as well but she is already settling in to being a heel really well. It seems to suit her ring style, which is really bullish and menacing. Dakota Kai got those big strikes in early but then she is really good at taking a beating. Belair does the suplex where you hold em up in the air for-f-----g-ever to drain all the blood to their head. You know the one. Anyways, I ALWAYS find the recipient of that move to be more impressive than the one delivering it. That said, Belair bounces Kai’s legs off the ropes and back into that position and it’s really impressive…again…and again….damn. These two kick the s--t out of each other and Dakota really reminds me of Sami Zayn with her kicks, which is also awesome! Belair finishes her off with a Torture Rack slam meets a Michinoku Driver. It’s a cool move and makes her look like a beast. I would have liked it all more if it wasn’t Dakota Kai, but that’s actually the point, isn’t it? Belair beat MY favorite babyface in NXT and so that makes me more invested in Kai and also makes me more mad at Belair. F-----g good job, HHH.
Kathy meets up with Ricochet backstage after his match with The Velveteen Dream and it’s all pretty forgettable. I don’t know or care what he said. “I’m great in the ring…I said I would win…who cares” Then she finds Velveteen Dream, sitting there all bummed out and he reiterates “I said, at TakeOver, ‘Dream OVER’ “. WTF?!? Did my dude just “quit”?? Ok, man. I’m completely on board, as even the THOUGHT of him quitting bummed me out.
Shayna vs. Nikki review package plays and after they cut to Kathy again, this time with Baszler and two of the the other 4 Horsewomen of UFC who aren’t Ronda (side note: Is it just me or are they mentioning UFC more than ever on WWE TV?).
Video recap of the title match from TakeOver plays and reminds me how brutal that match was. I still don’t buy that Lars Sullivan didn’t leave with the title, but whatever. I think the guy is great. Some dickwad tries to talk to Aleister Black backstage after the match from the PPV and Black just says “nah, man, I can’t” and walks off…that was f-----g stupid. They should have just showed Lars lifting scaffolding and putting it down. I guess I’m already done with Aleister Black as champ.
The video package for the tag match of the Soccer Hooligans vs. Undisputed Era f-----g rules because it has the Fozzy song from the PPV and it’s one of those earworms that just hangs in your head after. It’s like a Foo Fighters song in that way. The hooligans have some lame backstage post match segment and whatever f--k it I don’t care. Move on. Maybe I don’t like those dudes.
YOU’RE THE DEVIL, CIAMPA! YOU’RE THE DEVIL!
I basically haven’t paid much attention to any of the video recaps from the PPV but the one for the Chicago Street Fight f-----g sucked me in and I’m just remembering all the drama and all anxiety I suffered during it! F--k! That match was amazing. I almost actually care what Meltzer rated it! Those two dudes know each other SO well and they have wrestled together AND against each other SO MUCH that they trust each other on a next level. It is abundantly clear in the lengths that they go to with the other and the type of harm they inflict on the other. They can do that because they KNOW each other and they trust each other. It’s as if their entire career was leading to this incredible feud. I’m exhausted all over again right now and this is just supposed to be the f--k-off week of NXT.
Ad for UK Tournament looks pretty good. Pete Dunne rules at being a wrestler and should always have some belt with him, every time.
EC3 cuts a promo on some “journalists” outside of William Regal’s office and I look forward to seeing what happens with him. He still basically annoys and impresses me, which I then find more annoying. I think I’d like to see him f--k with someone like The Dream, but I have complete and total faith that HHH will do the right thing with him.
590 LBS! HOLY F--K War Raiders are some big f-----g dudes! They look and seem like they fit in front of this TakeOver size crowd. Perhaps the reason I haven’t liked them much till now is just that: they are already too “big” for NXT. There is a pretty big pop for The Mighty, despite the fact that they are the heels and generally f-----g suck. S--t, the repackaging of The Mighty might be paying off as they look better in this new ring gear and I’m inadvertently rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys! Again, good job HHH. I totally like seeing these War Raiders on this stage setting. These dudes are really f-----g awesome and the crowd largely already knows the deal to chant “WAR! WAR! WAR!” It’s pretty f-----g scary. Seriously, 15,000 people chanting “WAR!” over and over again is a little freaky. The bigger Raider bust out a flipping power slam that looks like the match is over but Shane Thorne breaks it up. Not long after that pin attempt comes the Fallout Legdrop, a move that looks so f-----g badass thats it’s not even worth trying to describe. Literally, watch this match for a great example of the move. It’s that much more absurd when you consider that close to 600 lbs is executing that maneuver. It’s not that it’s acrobatic or anything, just f-----g devastating. Oh. S--t. There is the “Copyright 2018”. Well, that went by pretty quickly.
As usual, there is a big sort of reset that happens after a TakeOver. It’s so nice because you don’t end up burnt out on or annoyed by a feud, some of which drag out for months at a time (i.e. AJ and Shinsuke). That s--t doesn’t happen in NXT. Everything is going to move forward because that seems to be how Hunter does business. If I were to make an educated guess as to what will happen next in NXT I can only say for sure that whoever has a title right now is in the title scene and beyond that, I don’t f-----g know! Was Velveteen Dream alluding to a gimmick change? Is Patrick Clark going to be “repackaged” and presented to us in a few months as someone/thing different? If so, will I personally still give a f--k? I could imagine going all in, one way or the other. Who will challenge Shayna Baszler for her title? I have no f-----g clue at this point, which is exciting, as long as it’s not the EST. She isn’t ready yet. What about Adam Cole (BAY BAY)? Where is my main man? Who will he defend his North American Title against? I don’t even want to see War Raiders with the belts after seeing them in front of the TakeOver crowd. They just need to be on Smackdown next week and it will be f-----g awesome. Maybe they could beat up the Bludgeon Brothers!
And this leads me to my final thought about this all: Think of the entire WWE as a bunch of toys. They are Vince’s toys and only HE can play with them. He gets bored every so often and steals some of his kids’ toys, which are better and newer than his. But Vince doesn’t always know how to play with new toys and he can be a little rough or just ignorant, often at the expense of the potential (Bayley, for example). It rules that HHH does in fact do such a good job with NXT BUUUUUUT he is just continuing the MacMahon tradition of poaching the best talents from all the other promotions and keeping all the good toys for himself and not sharing. The UK guys seems to be the few who have been able to somewhat work around that but otherwise, once you sign that deal with WWE, that is that, even if you are an independent contractor. As a carpenter who was off the books for years, I can tell you from experience, that’s a tough way to operate. It’s all to say that Vince and the WWE are essentially too big to fail now and because of that I have no choice but to just go along with it all and just enjoy. I will get a chance to see the best of the very best grace my screen, week after week forever and ever, and it will be awesome.
Wrestling Rules. F--k The World. Party Hard.
Do you love wrestling? Do you have strong opinions on AEW, WWE, NJPW, Impact, ROH, and the independent scene? Do you like to write about wrestling? Then we want you on our team. AIPT is currently recruiting wrestling writers. Apply to write for AIPT today!