It is so nice when a wrestling event lives up to great expectations. Suck it Charles Dickens! This was a fantastic show. My only regret in writing this review is that I am doing it alone. Still, let’s talk about this great show. Over on our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained we discussed this and other topics that may or may not be relevant. Please enjoy.
- Adam Cole defeated EC3, Velveteen Dream, Ricochet, Killian Dain, & Lars Sullivan in a ladder match to become the first-ever North American Champion
I will admit, I didn’t think Adam Cole was winning this. I don’t like that he won it. I didn’t like that this match occurred prior to the tag team match. Those are minor complaints. The thing is, this match was one of the 5 best ladder matches of the past 5-10 years. This delivered in most ways that you would want a ladder match to produce. Yes, I do have to bring up the fact that Killian was sent into a ladder that was on the desk and ring apron and rather than his momentum moving the ladder, it was as if he hit an invisible wall. That was probably the only shitty spot of the whole match. I loved it. This was great fun, I have in fact rewatched it. I think Velveteen took the most damage, followed by Ricochet and EC3. Velveteen is a star in the making and it is super exciting to see when everything just clicks for a wrestler. Adam Cole, figure out if you are a heel or a face because I don’t like your bullshit antics. I don’t like this Bullet Club, wannabe NWO attitude of being the cool bad guys. Be a face or be a heel or be a tweener. Those are 3 viable options.
Rating: 8.0 and this was only the third best match on the card.
2. Shayna Baszler defeated Ember Moon to become the new NXT Women’s Champion
This was a significant improvement over their last match in January. I know that Shayna did what she is supposed to do. I simply didn’t enjoy this match. Furthermore, I feel that if Shayna wasn’t friends with Ronda, she would not be in the position that she currently is. It’s not as egregious as Nia or Charlotte, but in a way, it is. Like, now just because you are friends with someone you get handed belts? At least if it’s in the lineage of the family, you feel that it’s a worthwhile risk, and people like Randy, Rock, Road Dogg, and Jason Jordan prove that it’s a good gamble. What? Jason isn’t Kurt’s son? Wow, I am shocked!! This match simply didn’t click for me. It was watchable, but not rewatchable for me. If you enjoyed it, I won’t criticize you like normal. Shayna needs a lot of work and I feel the belt should go to those who have really worked on their craft. This sort of shit doesn’t happen with the guys. You want equality, then demand more from the female talent and demand more from WWE for bypassing talented females to put the belt on Shayna. I actually think Shayna will be fine in about 2 years, but her progress may be slower since NXT’s women’s division is pretty barren at the moment, especially if Nikki gets called up. Also, I didn’t much like Ember’s entrance. I love Halestorm, but this started off rough before it got decent at the end.
Rating: 3.9 because I cannot give it a 4.
3. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly defeated Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne to win the Dusty Rhodes Classic and retain the tag team championship
This match was fun. I hated the ending. I really don’t like Undisputed Vanilla Midgets, and they got more vanilla when Roderick joined their group. The same criticism I had for Cole goes even more for this match. Cole is at least a very talented dude, just small. I don’t dig Roderick much. I think O’Reilly is my favorite of the group, but that’s because he doesn’t piss me off as much. Look, we knew AOP wasn’t winning. Roddy and Pete never made sense as a team and it always felt like one was going to turn on the other, and you would suspect Pete turning on Roddy. Instead, they did a double turn, and kudos for pulling that off. But fuck the stupid ass fans for cheering and these guys acting the way they did. You did heel shit, so act like fucking heels. The fans deserve more of the blame than the wrestlers in some way. Pete is the only one in the angle who played his role properly. Still, if it results in Pete getting some UK back up and them getting rid of Undisputed Era, I am all for it. Let’s get Wolfgang in there.
Rating: 4.9 because I wouldn’t watch this again, but it was solid.
4. Aleister Black defeated Andrade Cien Almas to become the NEW NXT Champion
This match……this fucking match was so good. I think more people will say that the Gargano vs Ciampa match was match of the night, but if we are talking about bell to bell action, I would argue that this was the better technical match. Cody Rhodes would tell me that I don’t understand wrestling. Cody Rhodes can go fuck himself. Andrade is the total package once he got Zelina Vega. This was such a great back and forth match. I thought Andrade would retain and wasn’t upset when he won. These guys busted their asses and told a great story. The only issue was that this match didn’t have the build to it that Gargano and Ciampa had. The reality is that this was great for everything that it did and the last match was great for everything that it did. We don’t have to live in a world where we MUST choose one or the other. Bother were incredible. I loved this match and thought it was match of the week and match of the year candidate.
5. Johnny Gargano defeated Tomasso Ciampa and is reinstated to NXT
If you like your match with more emotion and storytelling, this was fucking amazing. Ciampa showed the world how cool it can be a heel by giving zero fucks and doing everything to make Johnny shine. Undisputed Era, this is how you heel. The spots were big. The kickouts were well earned and timed right. If you say that this is the match of the year so far, you’re not wrong. I prefer the previous match, but hell, we got treated to greatness. I loved this match. You know that this and the last match were great because I watched it with my buddy Ron who rarely watches wrestling and never sees NXT. He was engaged in this. That is how you can tell if a match really succeeded. Get a non-wrestling fan to be entertained and glued to the TV screen.
Rating: 9.0 yup, I am calling it a tie on ratings because there’s no need to nitpick here.
6. Overall, I would say this is a tough card to beat. I don’t think that they will be able to this calendar year. 2 9’s and an 8 is tough as hell to beat. Mania had 14 matches and none were even an 8. Good luck 2018 in topping this masterpiece.
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