The SmarK Rant for NXT – 10.30.19
Continuing with my desperate attempts to catch up this week. Haven’t even read the results for this one.
Live from Orlando, FL
We open with a super-obvious lip sync “concert” by Poppy, which is somehow being done live with multi-tracked vocals and complex guitar changes, and turns into the entrance of EVIL IO SHIRAI.
Io Shirai v. Candice LeRae
Has it be “LeRae” and not “LaRae” all this time? Was this like a Berenstain Bears situation? LeRae attacks to start and Shirai dumps her and hits a dive, so Candice throws her out and does her own, so Mauro has the “hitting harder than a diss track” analogy ready to go. Back in, Candice goes up and Io brings her down with a lungblower in a great bump, and goes to work in the corner. Watching these two carry the women’s division right now really emphasizes how much they needed to get the belt of Shayna AGES ago and let someone else vie for it. Shirai with a chinlock, but Candice slugs back and gets a sunset flip for two. She tries a headscissors, but Io casually lands on her feet to counter, and Candice dropkicks her to the apron. They fight for a suplex out there and Candice elbows her back into the ring to escape, but she goes to the top and Io cuts her off and sends her to the floor as we take a break. Back with Candice making a comeback with a low dropkick and a tornado DDT out of the corner for two. Shirai puts her down and goes up for the moonsault, but that hits knees and Candice fires up and makes the comeback. Small package gets two. Io rolls her into an armbar and then turns it into a headscissors, but Candice makes the ropes. Shirai gets frustrated and grabs a chair, but the ref removes that and Candice faceplants her and hits a boot to the head. She tries to finish with a Lionsault, but that misses and she lands on the chair, and Shirai gets the pin at 13:17 as a result. Hell of an opener for the show. ***1/2 Rhea Ripley saves afterwards, preventing any further damage.
Finn Balor joins us, and he’s got the finger guns in full force again. “Two months ago I’m laying down for what’s supposed to be the hottest thing in the business just because he put on a new mask.” SICK BURN! Also, there’s too many tough guys on Twitter. Finally, if Johnny Gargano continues getting in his way, he won’t be “Johnny Wrestling”, he’ll be “Johnny Watches Wrestling”. Now this is the Finn we were all waiting for.
Shane Thorne v. Bronson Reed
I’m vaguely aware of Thorne from SR-71 or Matchbox 20 or whatever that team was, no idea if Reed was someone with a new name, but he looks like Mantaur. Thorne charges in with cannonballs in the corner, but Reed fights back with chops and they get into a chop war that ends with Thorne hitting him with a high kick and backdrop driver for two. Reed evades him and hits a release german out of the corner, and then follows with a sitout piledriver for two. Reed to the top and Thorne cuts him off, but Reed shoves him to the mat and finishes with a big fat flying splash at 4:24. Just kind of a match. **
Meanwhile, Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai are ready for the tag team title shot tonight.
Women’s tag team title: Asuka & Kairi Sane v. Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai
Asuka grabs the headlock on Nox and brings her to the corner for some chops from Sane, as they’re just dressing and working like all out heels now. I don’t know why you’d want either one to be heels when they were fantastic babyfaces, but here we are. Team Kick clears the ring and everyone fights on the floor, and we take a break. Back with Team Kick double-teaming Asuka in the corner for two and Kai gets some armdrags and a low kick for two. Mauro goes off the rails by comparing Kai’s kicking to that of a kangaroo, but then admits that he knows there’s no kangaroos in New Zealand but he wanted to make that reference anyway. “Well thank you for educating me” notes Nigel. Kai gets dumped and sent into the railing by Asuka. Back in, she goes to a leglock on Kai, although really doing it on the leg with the GIANT KNEE BRACE might have been a better idea. But hey, it’s wrestling, gotta work left. Kai fights for a tag, but misses a desperate enzuigiri attempt and Asuka continues cutting off the ring and working the knee in the corner. Kairi with the sliding clothesline in the corner for two and she puts Kai into a horse collar submission. I wish Brock would use that one more often, but then that would cut into his 2 minute matches filled with nothing but F5s.
Asuka with an STF, and she makes sure to aim Kai towards the heel corner so she can’t just fight out and make the tag. And indeed, Kai does fight out, but Asuka has enough time to beat her down and prevent the tag. Kai slugs back on Sane and that only upsets her, so Kairi puts her down with a palm strike and goes to a headscissors on the mat. Kai gets a nice bridge for two, so Asuka comes back in and continues working the knee and kicks her down again for two. Asuka with another leglock and we take another break. OK, we’ve passed the peak of the heat segment by a lot, time for the hot tag. Back with Asuka going to another leglock, and then the Kabukis do an amazing sequence where Asuka hits a codebreaker into a Sane neckbreaker while Kai just ragdolls all over. Finally she dumps both heels and crawls for the tag, but Sane puts herself in between. Kai kicks her out of the way and it’s finally hot tag to Nox. She runs wild with elbows and goes up with a crossbody on Asuka for two, but Asuka counters the shining wizard into a kneebar. Tegan turns that into a cross armbreaker, but Sane saves and everyone is out. Back to Kai and she hits a knee strike on Asuka and follows with a high kick in the corner, but Asuka blows the GREEN MIST OF DEATH and Sane drops the flying elbow at 25;23, wisely turning her over first so that the ref can’t see Kai’s face covered in green. I’m amazed that the crowd still goes crazy for someone spitting green Kool-Aid here in 2019. I mean, it’s simple and awesome, so I can’t blame them, but it’s just amusing that everyone is upping the crazy bumps and breaking furniture and here’s good old GREEN MIST getting the big pops from this jaded group of smarks. Heat segment here was far too long, but it I still love me some tag team wrestling. ***3/4
Afterwards, the Horsewomen head out for the beatdown on Nox and Kai while they’re vulnerable, but Rhea Ripley makes the save, only for Io Shirai to attack HER from behind, along with Bianca Belair. So this brings out Candice and it’s a huge brawl with all the women. Normally this would be what you’d end the show with, but in this case William Regal decides to come out and lay down the law, and he’s got a simple solution: WARGAMES. Well hopefully they’ve got something big to top that segment later.
Tyler Bate v. Cameron Grimes
Bate works the arm to start and Grimes flips out of it and does his own hammerlock. So then Bate does his own reversal out of that and takes him down with a wristlock before Grimes gets a headscissors. Bate with a dropkick into the aeroplane spin, but Grimes gives him a spinning uranage for two as we take a break. Back with Bate trying a foream out of the corner, but Grimes backflips into a german suplex for two. Grimes with some sliding knees to the back, but Bate makes the comeback with running forearms in the corner and an exploder into a shooting star press for two. Grimes tries to escape, so Bate pops up to his shoulders and gives him a SPIKE rana for two. GODDAMN this kid. Grimes with a forearm, but Bate hits him with the left and then Grimes counters a lariat into a bodypress for two. Bate gets the rebound lariat on the second try, for two, but Grimes escapes the Tyler Driver and Bate clotheslines him to the floor. Tyler follows with a tope and gets distracted by Killian Dain, which allows Grimes to finish with the high knees at 13:51. And then Dain cannonballs Bate into the stairs, as I’m thinking that Pete Dunne saying he didn’t care about Dain last week might have been a bad idea.
Meanwhile, Cathy Kelley can confirm that the women’s locker room is buzzing over the WarGames announcement. But can she REALLY confirm that? What’s her source? Seems like irresponsible journalism.
The Undisputed Era v. Keith Lee & Matt Riddle
Mauro steals “No Limit Bro-ldiers” from Twitter and then at least cops to it. Riddle gets tossed and the champs double-team Lee with kicks, but Keith takes them out with a bodypress that flattens both guys. Fish and O’Reilly try to pull down the top rope and Lee outsmarts them in a funny spot and chases them out of the ring, into kicks from Riddle on the floor. Back in, Lee and Riddle team up for some chops and Riddle hits Fish with a Jackhammer for two as we take a break. Back with Riddle hitting Fish with a rolling gutwrench, but O’Reilly traps him in the corner for some knees. Double suplex by UE gets two and Kyle pounds Riddle with knees to the back and Fish gets a senton for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Fish with a chinlock and Riddle powers out of it, and reverses to a sleeper. O’Reilly charges in and accidentally boots Fish in the corner, but recovers and leglocks Riddle. Matt fights out, but Fish trips up Keith Lee and prevents a tag. The Era hits the double-team brainbuster on Riddle for two, as Lee saves, and the Era pisses him off one time too many before he gets the hot tag. Lee destroys them both with clotheslines and suplexes him at the same time. Lee TO THE TOP, but O’Reilly tries to cut him off and Lee flicks him away like a bug. Moonsault misses Fish, however, and Fish gets a samoan drop for two. O’Reilly with an armbar, but Lee just powers him up with an arm curl and slams out of it. Back to Riddle and he throws suplexes, but Cole and Strong run in and get chased off by the babyfaces. Back in, however, the High-Low finishes Riddle at 15:55. Didn’t really feel like this one went anywhere. *** The Era proceeds to the beatdown on Riddle, but Ciampa makes the save and once again proclaims his love for Goldie, but tells her that she’ll have to wait because Daddy’s going to WAR.
Yeah, I think the sequencing was off on this one. The women’s stuff should have ended the show because they couldn’t top the WarGames announcement and it kind of burned out the crowd for the rest of the show. I continue to really enjoy this show, which much like AEW is an experience I just can watch without being constantly insulted. AEW had the hotter crowd and better show this week, but they’re both pretty great and a winner is us.