The SmarK Rant for NXT – 11.04.20

The SmarK Rant for NXT – 11.04.20

With the promise of more Pat Mcafee and Toni Storm, I’m ready to give it another look this week.

Live from the Capitol Wrestling Center in Florida.

Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett and Beth Phoenix

Ember Moon v. Dakota Kai

Ember’s got new gear and music for her repackage, which is probably a good call.  Moon takes Dakota down with an armbar and Kai works a headlock on her, but Ember goes back to the arm.  They trade more stuff on the mat and Kai takes her down by the hair, so Ember gets fired up and returns fire.  Ember with a senton and Kai backs off to the corner and suckers Moon in for a shot to the post.  Dakota works on the arm off that and runs it into the corner and then gets a nice armbar on the mat off that.  Moon slams out of that and makes the one-armed comeback with kicks instead, which offends Kai as the captain of Team Kick.  Moon pulls her to the apron and slugs away out there, delivering her own kick to the head on the HARDEST PART OF THE RING.  Kai bails to the floor, so Moon hits her with a dive, but then tries it again and goes headfirst into the railing as we take a break.  Back with Moon making a comeback as I get we didn’t need to see the heat segment, and a spinebuster gets two.  Kai gets a facebuster for two. She hits Moon with a high kick, but Ember gets a codebreaker for two.  They slug it out and Moon gives her a free shot and catches her in a crossface.  Well that’s dirty pool.  They trade rollups off that and Kai turns it back into an armbar and cranks on it, but Ember makes the ropes.  They slug it out again and Ember gets all fired up and beats her down to set up a corner splash and biel out of the corner.  She goes up, but Raquel runs interference and Kai brings her down with the GTK for the pin at 15:47.  Excellent opener but it’s odd to bring Moon back and then job her right away, especially since Kai already had her title shot and lost.  ****  I like that Moon is being something closer to herself instead of whatever weird Mortal Kombat ripoff she was supposed to be before, and showing more fire.

Meanwhile, Cameron Grimes is still a little jumpy, and doesn’t think that a zombie referee is legal.  Maybe Trump should try that legal strategy.

Meanwhile, Shotzi Blackheart has chosen Toni Storm as her opponent tonight and will welcome her to the ball pit.  Whatever that means.  I mean, I’d certainly welcome Toni to…you know, never mind.

KUSHIDA v. Cameron Grimes

Grimes hides in the ropes and runs away from contact, still a little jittery.  Kushida rolls him up for two and goes for the arm, controlling Grimes on the mat.  Grimes stomps out of it, but Kushida hiptosses him into an armbar and then takes him down with a couple of armbar takedowns for two.  Grimes fires back with forearms, but Kushida takes him down with another armbar and continues working on that.  Grimes escapes with a shoulderbreaker for two and we take a break.  Back with Grimes stomping on him in the corner, but Kushida fires back with kicks and a handspring elbow, and a seated dropkick.  Pele kick and he tosses Grimes and kicks him off and goes up for a dive, but Grimes goes back into the ring and Kushida turns it into a flying bodypress for two instead.  Grimes gets a rollup for two and a backslide for two, but then transitions into a powerbomb for two.  They fight to the top and slug it out, and Kushida takes him off the top with the hammerlock and then beats on the arm with kicks, but the ref is bumped.  Kushida rolls him into the Hoverboard lock with no ref, but Grimes gets his bodypress and there’s still no ref.  So another ref comes out, and it’s the ZOMBIE REFEREE, so Grimes freaks out and walks into the hoverboard lock at 13:26.  Kinda goofy finish to say the least, but you have to love Grimes.  ***1/2

Meanwhile, Toni Storm is flattered to be chosen by Shotzi, but Halloween is over.

Meanwhile, Io Shirai wants to face the challenge of Rhea Ripley.  About time.

Killian Dain & Drake Maverick v. Ever Rise

Dain throws his partner to the apron and decides to take care of things himself, and then tags Drake in and hurls him at Chase Parker for two.  Drake gets caught in the jobber corner and beat down by Martel, and Parker gets a running knee for two.  Martel goes to a nerve hold, but Drake fights back in the corner and then declines to make the hot tag to Dain, while we cut to Pat Mcafee and his newly-named “Kings of NXT” arriving.  That name is weak sauce.  Also weak sauce is the finish here, as they head to the ring and beat everyone up at 3:51 while Pat steals the camera.  Come on, three fuck finishes in a row this week?

Back from a break and Pat denies being a bunch of a scumbags, because they’re professionals with class.  So they’ll hang the Undisputed Era’s banner in the rafters to retire their era.  They had their stupid hand signal and won a bunch and everybody loved them!  So they added Roddy Strong by turning on Pete Dunne, so he turned on them to get revenge.  And after years of being on the top, all it took was one run-in with Pat to end their run.  But before they can hang the banner on the “banner rafter thingie”, Pat has a change of heart and thinks maybe they should just throw the banner into the trash can instead.  Because it’s trash.  Just like Vic Joseph’s face.  Gotta love the random heel insult.  So yeah, they throw the banner in the trash and light it on fire, and Pat makes sure to tell all the fans “on the little tron thingies” that they’re the worst, and the live fans suck too.  This is a man who 100% understands his role and how to pull it off.  They head to their evil YUKON and try to leave, but Killian Dain charges back and attacks, which results in Dunne putting his head in the door and slamming it.  Pat:  “I like what you’re done, but it was a little aggressive.  We’ll talk about it later.”

Meanwhile, Johnny Gargano denies all the nasty rumors against him lately.  He LOVES wheels, actually!  And then he gets a spooky call from the Scream person, who is actually sitting there at the table playing the Game of Life with him.

Toni Storm v. Shotzi Blackheart

No crazy entrance for Shotzi this week as she hits the ring all fired up, but tries a springboard and slips on the top rope.  Whoops.  She comes back with the ball pit legdrop and takes Toni into the corner with a headscissors, but Storm hits her with a butt splash in the corner for two.  Snap suplex gets two.  Shotzi spins into a small package for two, but Toni boots her down again and goes to a chinlock.  Shotzi fights out, so Toni takes her down for another chinlock as Beth notes that there’s an old saying about “Your accolades yesterday are great but what have you done today?”  I’ve literally never heard that saying and also that would make you sound like kind of a dick.  We take a break and Shotzi is making a comeback with kicks and a running senton onto the ropes for two.  Toni ducks an enzuigiri and gets a german suplex for two.  Shotzi gets her own suplex for two, but Storm headbutts her for two.  And of course Toni stops to grab her head in disbelief, which allows Shotzi to come back again and they fight to the apron, with Shotzi hitting a bad looking DDT out there.  Maybe it’s time to retire that one.  They’re both down on the floor, but Shotzi breaks the count and Candice LaRae appears on the screen and has taken her tank hostage, which allows Storm to roll her up for the pin at 13:00.  What is WITH the terrible finishes on this episode?  And then a monster truck pulls up and Candice brutally runs over the tank.  It’s a toy tank.  Who cares?  Anyway, the match was decent but too long for Shotzi, and they were having trouble getting on the same page and the distraction finish sucked.  **1/2  For me this was a pretty big disappointment in general, because Shotzi had such a big star turn last week and they followed it up with a 50/50 loss via distraction finish and she’s right back where she started again.  And it’s not like Toni Storm couldn’t afford the loss.

Meanwhile, Santo Escobar denies having to cheat last week, but Jake Atlas shows up and attacks his men.

Timothy Thatcher joins us with a live session of Thatch-As-Thatch Can, teaching us about reversals.  In this case, the guillotine choke, as Timothy shows us how to reverse it into a top wristlock, and he applies a little more pressure just to make sure the kid was REALLY tapping because he wanted out.  So he offers the kid a chance to do the same reversal, but then slips out and puts him in an anklelock before someone else (Austin Grey?) comes out and saves.  This show needs more Thatcher.

Meanwhile, Xia Li has been getting letters from home and it’s very upsetting to her.  Not as bad as having your tank crushed by a monster truck, but she’s pretty upset and wants to challenge Raquel Gonzalez as a result.

Tommaso Ciampa v. Velveteen Dream

Can we please just keep Dream off TV for a few weeks?  Why do they insist on just on plowing ahead with putting him out there like someone sending out dick pics to an unwanted recipient? Dream still has a cast on his arm, so Ciampa goes for it right away and chases Dream to the floor.  He suplexes Dream onto the railing and then slams him on the announce table and smashes the cast into it a few times for good measure.  Back in, Ciampa tosses him out of the ring again and Dream bumps into the plexiglass, allowing Ciampa to hit a german suplex and running knee back in the ring.  Ciampa escapes the Fairytale Ending, so Ciampa stomps the broken arm again as Dream tries to run away.  Dream bails to the floor and Ciampa puts the boots to him out there as we take a break.  Back with Dream raking the eyes to take over and he slugs away in the corner and follows with a spinebuster.  Ciampa comes back with clotheslines and a superplex for two.  Dream counters the Fairytale Ending into a rollup for two and tries the Dream Driver, but Ciampa escapes from that and goes to the apron.  Dream hits him with a dive and back in for a suplex that puts both guys on the floor.  Dream gets a superkick out there and brings a chair into the ring, but Ciampa hits him with the draping DDT and Fairytale Ending for the pin at 14:00.  Hey, finally a clean finish tonight!  I continue to not understand what the point of Dream is at this point, since he loses every match and doesn’t have any kind of clearly defined character anymore.  Anyway, the match was good, but again, fuck Velveteen Dream.  ***1/4

Really great show this week again despite all the terrible finishes, and I just wish we had an NXT champion to give the main event some kind of direction.  But this was a fun show that flew by and Pat Mcafee is just awesome.