NXT 348 Recap
The Authors of Pain vs. Nails and Riesen
(not sure how Riesen spells his last name, it’s never been on screen)
This was a total squash match. TM61 came out at the end and got squashed as well.
Authors of Pain win.
Andrade Almas vs. Angelo Dawkins
Alma’s is an absolute stud. I haven’t seen him in a few weeks, so I’ve forgotten how well he moves, he’s a 245 lb man but he moves like a 200 lb cruiserweight. Oh, this was a squash match as well.
After the match Bobby Roode came out to let Almas know that at Take Over Brooklyn they will be facing off against one another. I’m actually really intrigued by this. I’ve never seen Roode before but I know he’s been a big name outside of WWE for a long time. Should be fun.
Billie Kay vs. Liv Morgan
Ummm, Liv Morgan looks like a Carmella clone. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen her, I just forgot how much like Carmella her character is. Though apparently Carmella is from Staten Island and Morgan is from New Jersey, so clearly, they’re totally different.
Pretty good match. Not a squash at all. Both ladies performed well and got good spots in. I look forward to seeing both of them more.
Billy Kay wins.
Tucker Knight and Patrick Clark vs. Gargano and Ciampa
Gargano and Ciampa are fun to watch. Both are individually talented but their cooperation is creative and effective. I really like that they are getting pushed up the card.
Tucker Knight is a really big dude, but he moves so well. This is probably like the 4th or 5th time I’ve seen him. I hope he gets more air time because I think he has the potential to be a pretty decent performer.
Gargano and Ciampa win.
Samoa Joe vs. Mojo Rawley
Why is Mojo Rawley still in NXT!? He got drafted. I don’t get this. Is there no one else Joe could have a mini-feud with? Apparently not.
Line of the match, from Graves: “When in doubt chuck Mojo Rawley head first into the stairs.” Definitely got an LOL out of me.
I really didn’t care a lick about this match, at all, but Rawley held his own. I’ve thought Mojo was all hype and little talent but it turns out he’s actually a pretty good wrestler. I look forward to seeing how he develops.
In my opinion, this match did more to develop Mojo than it did for Joe but I really, really, really don’t like Samoe Joe. I think he’s the worst. Not as a human, just as a character on a show.
Samoa Joe wins.
After the match: Nakamura showed up along with like 17 security guys/refs.
NXT is rebuilding but this isn’t a bad thing at all. They lost so much in the call ups before the draft and in the draft itself that its no surprise that they have to rebuild quickly. If you take a look at the roster, however, you can see that they’ve been preparing for this, mostly.
The Women’s Division in NXT was hit the hardest during the draft, when Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella all got drafted. This left NXT with Bayley and Asuka and a few ladies that the WWE Universe is glaringly unfamiliar with. Asuka and Bayley are both incredible but after them there are a ton of question marks in the Women’s division. Who is going to take up the mantle that these two now carry? Billy Kay has been getting pushed lately, so probably her, but the future of this division is up in the air. Which is a weird thing to say after NXT changed WWE for the better by putting Women’s wrestling on par with the guys.
The Men’s division is rebuilding as well, though it is not in such a tight spot as the Women’s division. We still have Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Itami, Almas, Roode, Aries, No Way Jose, and a few other decent singles competitors. This division will be fine and NXT creative will make it compelling.
The tag team division has The Revival at the top and then a bunch of fresh, young teams vying for the titles. This is a really good thing. Yes we lost American Alpha and the Vaudevillians to the main roster but in the wake of that we’ve seen the emergence of The Authors of Pain, TM61, and Gargano and Ciampa. This division will be just fine.
Now that we’ve briefly laid out each division’s state, let’s get to the main point: rebuilding isn’t a bad thing. NXT is what got me back into professional wrestling, so it will always have a soft spot in my heart, so perhaps I’m biased here, but I think that NXT creative is the best in WWE. When I see NXT with a lot of gaps to fill I don’t panic like I would if it was Raw or Smackdown because I know that this team can deliver.
I may not know Billy Kay, Ember Moon, Andrade Almas, or the Authors of Pain but I can guarantee you that in 6 months time I’ll have enough back story and emotional equity in all of them to love or hate them. NXT is in a unique situation, much like a college sports coach. You have to recruit and find the best talent out there for you to mold and then after a few short years you have to watch that talent that you’ve poured into so much move on to the ‘big leagues’ and so far NXT has done a bang up job fulfilling this role.
If I were to ever get a job in professional wrestling I would want it to be with NXT because, to me, this is where the most creative, fun, engaging, and moving stuff is happening. So yes, NXT is rebuilding, but I’m not worried. I think they will do a fine job in building up the next crop of talented performers, we just have to give them a little bit of time. Ideally this delay would have never happened but it would have been near impossible to develop the next wave of talent while such a large group of established wrestlers were still around. This is one of the downfalls of a draft, you pay the price in the short term for what you hope will be a huge return in the long term.
Things of Note
- Bayley and Asuka signed their rematch contract for Take Over Brooklyn. The stare downs were a bit much but Bayley sure does seem to have a new aggression about her. This match should be absolutely incredible.
- Corey Graves is so good at his job. Not a new discovery, just wanted to make sure you knew that.
- Lots of lead up to Take Over Brooklyn, but much better than Raw did their build up to Summer Slam.
- Austin Aries will be facing No Way Jose at Take Over Brooklyn.
- On Regal’s desk he had a stand showcasing his Brass Knuckles…classic.
- NXT is definitely building Billy Kay up to be the next big Women’s superstar. It might take a while but she is talented. I think it all depends on how well her character is developed and wether or not she can connect with the audience. I think she’ll be best as a heel, for what its worth.
- Another NXT time blunder. Both Phillips and Graves said that the CWC was still in the first round and then proceeded to show highlights from the last match of the first round: Gargano vs. Ciampa. You can’t be in the first round if the first round is already over. This is the problem with time-delayed recording, you run the risk of getting your timeline messed up.
- Speaking of Gargano and Ciampa, they’ll be fighting The Revival at Take Over. This show is going to be AMAZING.
- Ember Moon is definitely a female. Last week I made a comment wondering if Oney Lorkin going back to his roots was this new character, Ember Moon, because the promos were back to back. Turns out I was completely wrong. Sorry about that.
A-. Too many squash matches to get an A but the promos here made sense and actually added to the show, unlike Raw this week. The main event was a good match and the aftermath was entertaining. Take Over is going to be so, so, so good.