NXT Stand and Deliver
April 1, 2023
Before reading this, know that I don’t much care for WWE. I rarely watch it and I’ve not liked it since…2004 maybe? I’ve still not forgiven them for JBL. I used to enjoy NXT until it imploded and turned to shit.
Hello, we’re back in WWE. Fucks sake. I’ve not seen a show from this promotion since I stayed at Andy Ogden’s place last year and we sat through some garbage NXT PPV show. It sucked. We’re in the Crypto.com Arena (WTF name is that shit?) Hosts are Vic Joseph & Booker T.
I go to take a shower before the show starts and when I come back, it’s already started. Basically, the pre-show had a match on it. Because WWE are terrible at commentary, I have no idea what’s happening. They do a fake heel turn, for some reason. Chase U are the victors over a collection of former Indies guys, who have all changed their names. I can’t remember any of the new names. Jagger Reid? What the fuck is a Jagger Reid?
I’ve watched a dozen Indie shows this week and never got lost. I couldn’t follow that match at all. What’s happening? Why is it happening? It was bad storytelling. This is the biggest “Sportz Entertainment” company in the world, and they can’t even explain a match. We then jarringly cut away in the middle of introductions for the next match because we’re going over from free to pay TV. An absolute fucking mess of a company. They’ve dropped their ASL to about 0.75 of a second on the video packages. It legitimately feel nauseous watching it.
NXT Women’s Championship
Roxanne Perez (c) vs. Zoey Stark vs. Indi Hartwell vs. Gigi Dolin vs. Tiffany Stratton vs. Lyra Valkyria
I know who Indi Hartwell is, because I watched her on the Indies and I know her name. See how simple that is? Dolin is Priscilla Kelly. Valdkyria is Valkyrie from Ireland. I feel a raw panic about not knowing what’s happening that I’ve not had since I tried to review Japanese tapes for the first time, and I had to write down people’s tight colours to follow it.
I generally don’t like multi-person matches with a load of spots tacked together. The spots aren’t what annoy me here though. The first ladder is set up in the wrong place. The belt isn’t hung up properly. The climbing is PAINFUL. It’s the slowest climbing since the 1990s. They do a Terry Funk ladder spinning bit, but Pris starts doing it before anyone is in the ring. Then she falls over. My hottest take here is that you shouldn’t let inexperienced people into a match where fucking up can result in serious injury. It’s irresponsible.
Some random bird turns up, out of nowhere, and shoves Dolin off the ladder. The camera completely misses her until she’s on top of the ladder. Stratton eats shit on a terrible spot where she falls off the ladder to the floor and no one catches her. Dexter Loomis turns up and carries Indi up the ladder to pull the belt down, because women can’t achieve anything without the help of a man. What a message! This was a mess. Don’t watch it.
WWE NXT Tag Team Champions
Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) (c) vs. The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed & Julius Creed) vs. The D’Angelo Family (Channing Lorenzo & Tony D’Angelo)
Gallus? Fuck me. The worrying part is they’re probably the best team in this. Again, all this mass of moving parts doesn’t help when everyone is inexperienced. I kinda like D’Angelo because he just runs through people and doesn’t give a shit. They should have tags though and don’t. So there’s always three people in the ring and one of them usually looks like an idiot. They keep getting in each others way. Everything looks fake. They do a dumb tower of doom thing outside the ring and Brutus misses the knee to knock it over. The Network craps out on me and I miss the finish. Gallus retain. Absolute dogshit wrestling. Nothing had any time to breathe. It was like watching the worst shit tier Indies.
Sidenote: I missed Joe Coffey’s return. Joe Coffey got cancelled. I have no idea why they’ve allowed him to come back. Fucking midget.
Backstage, Pretty Deadly continue to host the show. They’ve had so many segments on the show already that I cannot stand them. It’s classic overexposure. The trouble is, they’re not on the show. They’re hosting it. Whatever that means.
WWE NXT North American Championship
Wes Lee (c) vs. JD McDonut vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. Dragon Lee vs. Axiom
I’m begging for a fucking singles match. BEGGING. This is the third clusterfuck in a row. Luckily there are some actually good wrestlers in here. Axiom is the former A-Kid. Devlin got cancelled as well, so he changed his name to JD Don’t Google Me.
Ilja and McDonut have a sub-feud. That will come to the boil at some point. I didn’t even realise Dragon Lee is debuting here. To my disappointment, Dragunov does some of the dumbest stuff in this. Not taking spots properly and having to throw himself into the buckles under his own steam. He makes amends by blocking the ref’s count when McDonut has a pin. Ilja murders Wes Lee with a chop. He gets so fired up his head starts bleeding. His anger and destructive behaviour makes a nice change of pace from the wall to wall spots this show has had so far. McDonut (heel), Axiom (face) and Dragunov (very angry man) turns briefly into a very good three-way match within the match. It’s a shame it follows two messy matches. The last time I watched NXT it was only good when Dragunov was involved. Glad to see that’s a constant. To be fair, all of these are good.
The execution on most things is good. The issues are little things like moving away from the ropes to allow a pinfall on yourself or having to move to take a spot because you’re out of position. The actual MOVEZ are pretty cool. You can tell Shawn Michaels is involved because there are superkicks galore. Dragunov is undoubtedly the star of the match but it’s a good showing from everyone. Wes Lee catches Dragunov charging into Unbesiegbar and keeps his belt. Any combination of these guys should be a cracking match to keep NXT interesting. Strange they put all their eggs in one basket. Nice basket though. ****
Grayson Waller vs. Johnny Gargano
Waller wanted to fight Shawn Michaels but instead HBK brought Gargano back to fight him, and then refused to sanction it. But it still has a WWE ref in WWE referee colours. Make it make sense.
I had forgotten how much Gargano slaps his thigh. I hate it. Gargano gets planted in the jaw with a knee. Booker asks to see it again and they replay it from an angle where you can’t see anything. This company has been making television for like 70 years and still can’t do it properly. Waller grabs various plunder and hits Gargano with it. Sometimes right in front of Johnny’s wife and infant son. “Don’t let the baby see this” says Booker. That baby won’t remember this. Unless WWE sign him and force him to watch it. I thought they were going for “symbolism” but instead Candace just waffles Waller with a Singapore cane. I like that. Like most Gargano matches it’s too long. It reaches a peak and then carries for ages afterwards. At least the second peak is the actual finish here. Gargano waffles Waller with a couple of chairs, like a maniac, and taps Waller out with the Gargano Escape. Keep Gargano under 20 minutes and he’s pretty consistently great. ***½
POST MATCH: The Gargano’s go to celebrate and are joined by Indi Hartwell. Gargano giving her ‘the rub’ by posing with her, or something. Terrible camera shot. Backstage, Pretty Deadly chat to more people and I’ve had to start muting these spots. They’re unbearable.
They show a clip from a Dusty Rhodes documentary. I would love to watch a Dusty Rhodes style wrestler nowadays. Someone who was shite in the ring but knew how to tell a story and cut a promo. Nobody in this company can talk anymore.
WWE NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship
Fallon Henley & Kiana James (c) vs. Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn
Fyre is Kay Lee Ray. She’s the only standout here. In all honesty she’s too good to be on NXT. But then NXT has always been full of people who are too good to be here, ever since WWE signed the Indies dry.
We get about five minutes in…and I can’t figure out who the heels are. I thought it was the champions, because they look like Valley Girls and they brought two fellas out with them. Apparently the champs are not on the same page. The crowd absolutely don’t give a shit.
There’s a lot of stuff going on with the various blokes and Kiana wants a bag, so she can hit someone with it. Fallon says no. The Scots win. This did nothing for me at all.
WWE NXT Championship
Bron Breakker (c) vs. Carmelo Hayes
Maybe it’s just my time away but this doesn’t feel even remotely close to a main event on NXT. Last time I saw a show Breakker looked ok as a main. He reminded me of Scott Steiner, his uncle, which is a good thing. There’s a lot of posturing here. That dork Carmello slips on the ropes and repeats the spot, which is just him bouncing off Bron anyway. So, you did the cardinal sin for nothing? This is what happens when you plan matches so intricately with no room for anything to go wrong. After a spot heavy show, they opt to slow it down. I commend that but if someone called this “boring”, I wouldn’t argue with them. They could make more of Trick Williams ringside interference. He literally does it once, gets caught, and booted to the back. The crowd clearly want Carmelo to win. He’s more creative than Bron, albeit less consistent.
They work in a ref bump. I hate ref bumps. Hayes taps out but the ref misses it. Trick blasts Bron with the belt and that isn’t the finish. Hayes then wins clean so he can pretend he deserved it. This rolled along and was fine. The finish was not good though.
POST MATCH: Bron just hands him the belt and endorses the man who cheated him out of the title. Odd behaviour.
I despised the first two matches. It was a terrible start to the show. The five-way would have been even better if it wasn’t surrounded by a mass of clusterfuck style matches. Nor the sheer number of scramble matches I get exposed to on Mania weekend. That was the highlight of this show. Gargano-Waller actually worked pretty well on the whole. Everything else is basically a pass and I hated the production, and the ref bump sucked. Not exactly NXT of old but there are a bunch of good wrestlers in that 5-way they can use until some of their home brand guys improve. If they ever do.