August means NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. Here’s our review of the two episodes of NXT TV leading up to it:
Amber Nova vs Nikki Cross Nova was impressive in her TV debut here, even if this wasn’t really an impressive match. Neither woman did a bad job here, it was just barely more than a squash. ***
Keith Lee Video Package While short, this segment got me excited for Keith Lee’s debut, for sure. ***1/2
Adam Cole Promo Not the most charming promo from him, but an effective one. ***1/4
Vanessa Borne Backstage Very good egomaniac promo. The more character development they can do with Borne, the better. ***1/2
Adrian Jauode vs Kassius Ohno Fun mannerisms from Ohno and an impressive (if limited) debut from Jauode. Surprisingly competitive bout, all things considered. ***1/4
EC3 & Velveteen Dream (vegetarian!) Pretaped Scene This feels so weird and un-WWE/NXT. I’m happy for NXT TV to try new things, but this thing just bounced off of me.
Marcel Barthel vs Keith Lee Oh hey. A proper Ringkampf-style entrance for Barthel; interesting. This was a merely okay debut/squash that really didn’t show off Keith Lee’s personality or athleticism as much as I could hope. I’m sure we’ll see more of both sooner than later. ***
Street Profits Fun Time Fun time is fun time. ***1/2
Vanessa Borne vs Taynara Conti This match felt weird to me. The crowd seemed kind of dead and the action was almost sloppyish.
Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano Smooth, exciting action in this one until Ciampa gets it thrown out. Regal predictably announces a triple threat match for the title.
Aleister Black Knocked Out It’s interesting how both Gargano and Undisputed ERA were leaving the scene. ***
Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins (Street Profits) vs Nick Miller & Shane Thorne (The Mighty) This match felt rushed to me, but all of the action (except maybe the finish) was very good. We also had some meaningful face/heel dynamics and a decent build, so it was all enjoyable. ***1/2
Undisputed ERA Pretaped Promo Yup, back to charming Undisputed ERA. I can’t wipe the smile off my face for these hang-and-chat promos by UE. ****
Kairi Sane vs Aliyah (vegan!) Baszler continues to be great on commentary. In the ring, Aliyah and/or Kairi seemed to have some minor timing issues. Interesting attitude on display by Kairi towards the end of the match, which made this match more interesting as an angle than as a bout in itself. ***1/4
Adam Cole & Ricochet Video Package Pretty brilliant stuff from Adam Cole, Ricochet, and the NXT video team. ****1/4
Velveteen Dream (vegetarian!) & EC3 Promo Some fun stuff in these two going back and forth, even if some of it feels a bit boilerplate-ish. ***3/4
Aleister Black Knockout Analysis I don’t know. This feels super heavy-handed. It doesn’t add to the mystery for me; I feel like it has the opposite effect.
Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa Video Package This program hasn’t always been pitch-perfect but this package highlights how much emotion is built into it. ***3/4
Tyler Bate (w/ Trent Seven, vegans!) vs Roderick Strong (w/ Kyle O’Reilly) Brilliant action with some great twists for those familiar with their movesets. One of the best matches on NXT TV in some time, however short. ***3/4
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