18th Jul2019

‘WWE NXT’ Review (July 17th 2019)

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this week’s NXT review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we’ve got…well, NXT, so don’t hold your breathe. I like some of what this brand does, but too much of it just feels like amateur hour wrestling with a billion dollar budget…like The Last Jedi. Okay, let’s see if our main event can make this show a real thrill.


Match #1: Matt Riddle def. Arturo Ruas via ref stoppage

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Although Ruas proved to be a worthy opponent of Riddle on the mat, going hold-for-hold with the former UFC fighter in brilliant technical exchanges, Riddle closed the door on the Brazilian Superstar after lighting him up with a Final Flash knee strike and pummeling him with a ground-and-pound attack to earn a TKO decision.

My Opinion: 2.5 out of 5 – This was just a squash match dressed up as a real match. Riddle just pounded on Ruas for a few minutes and some shooting happened at some point and it was over. Riddle did well here, but this mostly felt like a waste of his talent.

Match #2: Bronson Reed def. Dexter Lumis in the first round of the NXT Breakout Tournament

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Bronson Reed and Dexter Lumis, the final competitors to debut in the NXT Breakout Tournament, gave the NXT Universe its first look at one seriously hard-hitting mastodon (Reed) and one utterly unnerving purveyor of mind games (Lumis). The enigmatic Lumis appeared entranced as he jammed his gloved hands into Reed’s eyes and nose, threatening to rearrange Reed’s facial features like Mr. Potato Head. The mysterious powerhouse (who hails from an undisclosed location) exhibited agility and balance in addition to cruelty, even making a midair adjustment and landing on his feet when Reed moved out of the way of a dive to the floor. It was just that sort of high-risk maneuver, however, that was Lumis’ undoing. After enduring painful bursts of offense from the 330-pound Reed — including a Vader-like Thesz press that almost turned Lumis into a Jackson Pollock painting on the ring mat — Lumis found an opening for a top-rope senton bomb. However, Reed rolled out of the drop zone, causing the twisted Lumis to crash and burn. With the NXT Universe watching in awe, Reed rallied back and launched himself off the top rope with a canvas-cratering splash to pick up the win and advance to the next round, where “The Aus-zilla” will face Cameron Grimes.

My Opinion: 2 out of 5 – Jonas Rock and Sam Shaw’s new names suck. Sadly, this match wasn’t much better than their lousy names. The moves were well done, but the match never came together. I feel bad about criticizing wrestlers, but that’s part of the job, when necessary. Okay, this one shrunk the kids and blew up the baby (the Rick Moranis special).

Match #3: Kushida def. Apollo Crews

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Kushida once again leveled-up his world-beater status, this time by besting SmackDown LIVE’s Apollo Crews in a riveting dream match that had the NXT Universe on the edge of their seats Crews, who was making his return to NXT TV for the first time in more than three years, appeared galvanized by the hero’s welcome he received inside Full Sail Live, and that only added to Kushida’s troubles trying to put away the boulder-shouldered Superstar from Stone Mountain, Ga. With his unique combination of herculean strength and gymnastic elasticity, Crews thrashed Kushida with power moves and aerial feats. Unable to match his opponent’s incredible physical attributes, Kushida relied on a strategic counterattack, laying the groundwork for his signature Sakuraba Lock by targeting Crews’ left arm anytime the opportunity presented itself.

As the bout reached its final stretch, both Superstars found themselves locked in battle on the top turnbuckle. Then, in a moment that made the entire NXT Universe hold their breath, Kushida pulled Crews off the top rope with a rolling armbar. Crews desperately scrambled to break the hold, but the ring-wise Kushida stayed one step ahead and deftly maneuvered into the Sakuraba Lock for the tapout. Although he lost, Crews held his head high after the match as Kushida raised his arm in a clear show of respect for the SmackDown LIVE fan favorite.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5 – This was some strong wrestling from two of the best wrestlers competing today. They had loads of chemistry together, which sounds like Netflix preview of one of their romantic comedies that no one has seen (the one with Joey King seems to have done well, though). The moves were crisp and the pace was fast like lightning, which not a set-up for one of my bad jokes. It was nice to see NXT deliver another fine match between people who know how to deliver them.

Match #4: (Main Event) Adam Cole vs. Twan Tucker – NXT Championship Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

As Adam Cole found out, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The NXT Champion’s planned title defense was exposed as just another attempt by The Panama City Playboy to needle Johnny Gargano, after Cole revealed that his hand-chosen challenger would be Twan Tucker, the Cleveland-area wrestler-in-training whom Gargano encouraged to follow his dreams on Target: TakeOver XXV (and whom Cole mocked on his Bay Bay Championship Tour). Cole promised the WWE hopeful a fair fight and explained that he had come alone, sans any other Undisputed ERA members. The same could not be said for Tucker. Rather than take Cole up on his offer, Tucker revealed that he brought backup in the form of Johnny Wrestling!

A look of deep concern overtook Cole’s face as Gargano made a beeline to the ring, sparking a wild fistfight that sprawled throughout Full Sail Live. Despite Cole’s desperate attempts to get out of Dodge, Gargano stayed on the attack, rapping Cole with cathartic lefthanded haymakers as they filed up and down the bleachers and eventually onto the entrance stage, where NXT referees managed to temporarily halt the melee. The reprieve was brief, however, ending when Gargano dove off the stage and onto Cole. The fight then carried into the ring, where Gargano blasted The Undisputed ERA leader with superkicks and cinched on the Gargano Escape. The NXT Champion frantically tapped out while NXT officials struggled to pry the irate Gargano off Cole. Gargano eventually relented, but as he left up the ramp, he held up three fingers, making it abundantly clear that he’s searching for a championship rubber match against his bitter foe.

My Opinion: 0 out of 5 – This was another bait and switch to set up a brawl between Cole and Johnny Gargano. The brawl was nice, but it was a waste of time.

News Of The Night:

  1. Johnny Gargano will fight Adam Cole in a Three Stages Of Hell/2 Out Of 3 Falls Match at the next Takeover for the NXT Championship.
  2. Mia Yim attacked Marina Shafir to incite Shayna Bazsler to an NXT Women’s Title fight.
  3. Killian Dane attacked Matt Riddle after his match to start a feud.

Final Verdict: 3/5

This one got by on the KUSHIDA/Apollo Crews match being great and the angles being good, even though they largely felt pointless.


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