The dust begins to settle from NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. (And then Ciampa kicks it up again.)
Undisputed ERA Promo **** The Undisputed ERA is one of the best things going in wrestling. All four of these guys can talk good; all four of these guys can wrestle great.
NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) vs Oney Lorcan ***3/4 Really good, but the angle for the match sort of put a ceiling on it.
Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight (Heavy Machinery) vs Sabbatelli & Moss Kind of a tedious match. The big angle of this match has just been happening in slow motion for so long.
Heavy Machinery Promo Minus five stars. Your steaks suck.
Dakota Kai & Shayna Baszler Backstage Promo **** Baszler reminds me very specifically of Samoa Joe’s NXT main event run in the most flattering ways possible. She just carries herself so well and she really gets the intimidation factor across extremely well.
Gargano & Ciampa Brawl, with Aftermath ***3/4 As someone who was a bit underwhelmed by their TakeOver match, I’m not the most interested in this feud eating up a ton more airtime, but this was fine. Maybe a little longwinded, but Candice sold it all extraordinarily well.
Aleister Black vs Eric Young ***1/4 Totally good, but not great. The weird, impromptu start to the match—like, as Percy asked on commentary, was this even a title match?—made it kind of difficult to get invested.
Undisputed ERA Pretaped Promo ***3/4 Some of the actual lines here were somewhat clunky, but these guys are just so much fun.
Kairi Sane vs Shazza McKenzie Kind of a nothing match, even by NXT TV match standards of length.
Lacey Evans Promo ***1/2 Pretty good, pretty interesting. Evans and Sane should have a satisfying match.
Candice LeRae Backstage Interview ****1/2 Super excellent work from Candice. I think she sold the emotion of the Gargano situation extremely well.
Lars Sullivan Video Package ***3/4 Pretty cool. Sullivan is a better-than-good talker.
Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins (Street Profits) vs Nick MIller & Shane Thorne (TM61) ***1/4 A narratively effective match. I think TM61 will be a lot more interesting as heels, so I applaud the move.
Kassius Ohno Backstage Interview *** Cool Suzuki tee, Ohno. This wasn’t as interesting as Candice’s segment though.
Patrick Scott vs Kona Reeves *** I really enjoyed this Reeves persona at a house show not too long ago. I thought Reeves had really good psychology in this match, and it was all very technically sound. An easy one to like, even if it was short and one-sided.
Dakota Kai Pretaped Interview, Interrupted by Vanessa Borne ***3/4 Really good heat-building between these two, with the NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler looming large in the storyline as well.
Candice LeRae vs Bianca Belair ***1/4 LeRae sold being distracted quite well: not too over-the-top but clearly legible. The match itself was effective but not amazing.
Pete Dunne (vegan!) vs Roderick Strong (w/ Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) ***3/4 Good wrestling but a bit of a non-finish to it.
Ricochet & Velveteen Dream (vegetarian!) Promo **** Ricochet’s part felt significantly more scripted and uneasy than most NXT promos, even though he had an obviously unscripted moment. Dream made it way better with his involvement, but by the end there was a lot of heat built between these two. Really good segment, even with some clunkiness.
Raul Mendoza vs EC3 *** A much better introduction to EC3 than the TakeOver: New Orleans ladder match. A decent TV match, but not much more than that. Mendoza’s offense looked good.
EC3 Promo ***1/2 Very well-delivered, even if it was a somewhat standard “I’m the best” rant.
Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, & Pete Dunne (vegan!) Backstage *** Not bad, but very terse. Kind of unnecessary, maybe. They were plainly allied at the end of the previous episode, so all this accomplished was communicating that it was a somewhat tenuous alliance.
Dakota Kai vs Vanessa Borne ***1/2 The crowd was really into this, and they had built the rivalry well in the previous week. This might be the best wrestling I’ve seen from Borne, and I thought it was a good match overall.
Shayna Baszler & Dakota Kai, Post-Match (Both Segments) ***3/4 Man, Kai really sells being terrified of Baszler well. She seriously looked like she was going to vomit from fear when Baszler showed up.
Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight (Heavy Machinery) vs Hanson & Rowe (War Raiders) ***1/4 Really short, but War Raiders looked great.
Street Profits Pretaped *** Kind of fun, but not their best.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Kassius Ohno ****1/4 Really good, really heated action. This is some of the best work I’ve seen from Ohno in his current NXT run, too. Super satisfying match. I honestly probably enjoyed this a hair more than I liked Ciampa vs Gargano at TakeOver: New Orleans (which I realize earned five stars from some publications, but I wasn’t quite that high on it personally).
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