I took in the NXT house show last night in the Broadbent Arena in Louisville, Kentucky. The arena isn’t the biggest in the world with a capacity of 6,600. It was cut in half for the sake of the show and the seats off the floor were mostly empty. The floor was full, but the arena still didn’t look great and the lights were kept low all night. I’m not great at judging attendances but there couldn’t have been more than a thousand people there at the very most.
Unfortunately there was a bad wreck on the interstate and traffic caused me to arrive twenty minutes after the show started as it took forty five minutes to drive about three miles. Therefore, I missed the opening two matches, which included:
1. War Raiders b. TM61
2. EC3 b. Fabian Aichner
I arrived just at the end of the EC3 match and could hear the bell on the way to my seat.
3. Kairi Sane/Candice LeRae b. Aliyah/Vanessa Borne – Insane Elbow to Aliyah. 11:44. C.
The crowd was very hot for this with LeRae getting a strong CANDICE WRESTLING chant but they got even hotter for Sane, who came off like a major star. If nothing else she has a great entrance with the pirate motif working very well. This was a longer match than I was expecting with a lengthy heat segment on LeRae. It was also very formula based with LeRae and Sane taking over to start until LeRae got beaten down for several minutes. The hot tag brought in Sane and LeRae cut Borne off, leaving Sane to win with the elbow. Aliyah is rather enjoyable as a heel but I was a fan of hers for a long time. Maybe it’s the right move.
4. North American Title: Adam Cole b. Raul Mendoza – Last Shot. 11:52. B-.
This was probably the match of the night with Cole getting to show off a lot of what made him popular in the first place and Mendoza getting a little chance to shine. The bigger problem was Cole vs. the crowd, as they were cheering loudly for nearly every single thing that he did. Cole tried everything he could to get them to boo him, from not throwing his shirt to the crowd after seeing which side could make the most noise to running the ropes several times before stopping for a chinlock. The latter just earned him a HOLY S*** chant for a funny moment.
Mendoza got to show off as well here, and it’s clear that he has some talent. There’s always room for a high flier who can make a spirited comeback and that’s what Mendoza got to do here. Of course Cole retained in the end with the Last Shot and the fans were very, very pleased, but Mendoza gave a more than respectable showing of himself and hopefully someone was paying attention.
5. Tag Team Titles: Undisputed Era b. Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan – High/Low to Lorcan. 13:30. C+.
It’s always cool to see a dress rehearsal for an upcoming Takeover match and we got to see three of them in one night. Lorcan and Burch were game challengers here and did what they could, but the match never kicked into the higher gear that you might expect it to. What we got was certainly fun though and the Era continues to look more and more like a polished team every time they’re out there. All those years in Ring of Honor are paying off and it makes for a useful situation. Not a bad match, but I’d hope for more on Saturday.
There was actually a post match angle which wound up on WWE’s YouTube channel:
Velveteen Dream got a quick promo on the video screen, saying that it didn’t matter if you were a Louisville Cardinals or Kentucky Wildcats fan, you all sucked. While he wanted to fight Ricochet, he’ll have to settle for beating someone else up tonight as Ricochet is being held out due to injury (not mentioned).
Twenty minute intermission. At the end a fan got to play the What Happens Next game and won a Raw: The First 25 Years book.
6. Velveteen Dream b. Kassius Ohno – Purple Rainmaker. 13:47. C.
Now this was a weird one, mainly for one place. First of all, the fans loved Dream, giving him one of the biggest reactions of the night. The match was about all you would expect, with Ohno hitting him really hard (and loud) and Dream doing all his shenanigans to try and play some mind games. The first odd moment was near the beginning, when it turned into a very random Hulk Hogan tribute match. Ohno knocked Dream down and did the hand to the ear to all four ropes but missed a legdrop. Dream hit one of his own, then dropped two elbows before raking Ohno’s eyes with his boot in another Hogan trademark.
Ohno did hit a Hero’s Welcome (a rolling cutter, which he shouted by name before hitting it) and did all of his other usual stuff. He also banged up Dream’s knee but Dream was perfectly fine enough to hit the elbow for the pin. That’s exactly the kind of thing Ohno is great at: making someone else look good and then taking the loss which doesn’t do him any real damage.
Post match Dream told everyone to buy the Network so they could see him do this again on Saturday. Ricochet came out and said that he wanted to see Dream take the spotlight, so let’s see a flip. Dream played to the crowd a lot and loaded one up but Ricochet came in and scared him off. After being chased off, Dream said that Saturday will be a one star match and that one star was him. As he was leaving, Dream said if you wanted to see him do a flip, it would be 9.99. Ricochet said nothing was going to stop him from being in Kentucky and nothing would stop him from being in Chicago to punch Dream in the face.
7. Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler b. Nikki Cross – Kirifuda Clutch. 9:21. C.
This was about one thing: Cross is a psycho who messes with Baszler’s mind. There really is something to be said about how nuts she comes across as, which adds a lot of fun to her character. Baszler tried to use her skills and work her over but Cross kept going nuts and throwing Baszler off. In the end, Baszler got the Clutch for the knockout, but Cross didn’t tap in a smart move. She’s not the kind of person to tap out and they went with the more appropriate passing out, hopefully with a smile on her face at the time.
8. Aleister Black b. Lars Sullivan via DQ when Sullivan shoved the referee. 13:20. C+.
Black was in more of a traditional face mode here as he wasted no time in throwing all of his strikes at Sullivan. This included a few kicks to knock Sullivan to the floor but a moonsault got caught in midair. Sullivan worked on the leg to take away the kicks but the Freak Accident was countered into a DDT. He beat on Black some more but couldn’t put him away, eventually grabbing a chair instead, leading to shoving the referee down for the DQ. I’d assume an actual finish in Chicago, but this was energetic while it lasted and they worked well enough together. Black kicked the chair into his face post match to end the night.
Overall, this was your run of the mill NXT house show. It wasn’t great and for the most part, none of the matches really jumped off the page at me. However, it did a good job of making me want to see Takeover on Saturday and really that’s what these shows are for: to get you to want to see the bigger events. Most of the big names were there and if Ricochet had been healthy, I would have gotten to see four of the five matches on Saturday’s card. I had a good time and counting parking, the whole night was only $30. It was a fun time and if you like NXT, you’ll have a good time going to one of the shows.
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