NXT Review, 5/16

What a troll job by Ciampa to start the show. He and the crowd both do everything they can to piss each other off as much as possible. Candice LeRae hits him where it hurts the most, that Johnny was better. As if this feud couldn’t get any more personal, Ciampa taunts Candice with jabs at Johnny’s manhood before she whacks him across the face. Excellent job to keep this feud feeling like the top story in NXT, even after their brutal unsanctioned match.

Segment Rating: Eight Gold Medals

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LACEY EVANS VS. BRANDI LAUREN

A quick squash match for Evans just to let her show off some skills and get some heat, until Kairi Sane attacks after the match. We’ve seen this before from Sane when she came after Shayna Baszler, but that never went anywhere at the time. This seems like they’re actually building up to a Sane-Evans match.

Match Rating: Four Gold Medals

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Why does Dakota Kai get a press conference every week? Nikki Cross mentoring her could be really interesting, I’m down to see where that goes.

 

RICOCHET VS. VELVETEEN DREAM

Headlocks, armbars, and rolling reversals dominate the early part of the match before Ricochet hits a springboard dropkick. Both guys seemed to want to show off their athletic ability rather than hurt their opponent. Lars Sullivan does not have that issue. He gladly came down with the express purpose of hurting both men. So we got a quick gymnastics routine that never materialized into a match because Lars Sullivan came out and cleaned out. I like it. It saves a takeover-quality match for a better time and gets a lot of heat on Sullivan as well as gives him a shove into the NXT Championship picture.

Match Rating: Six Gold Medals

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RAUL MENDOZA VS. KONA REEVES

It’s funny how the Street Profits act as faces by being flashy, wearing gold, and having swagger, and Kona Reeves acts as a heel by doing the exact same things. The difference is that it feels real from the Street Profits and forced from Reeves, it’s just interesting how the same type of gimmick can work two different ways. Reeves certainly wrestles a heel style, with contempt for his opponents. I need to know more about Mendoza to care about him. Who is this guy? What is he about? They said he comes from a luchador family, but that’s about it. He’s one small step above a jobber, and he’s treated as such in this match, a glorified squash for Reeves. I don’t know that I see much potential in Reeves at this point, but I always want to see people’s gimmicks work, so I hope I’m wrong. This match got a few minutes and the moves were quick and crisp. Both of these guys can certainly go in the ring. Nothing too special, but I enjoyed it, just make me care more about both guys.

Match Rating: Four Gold Medals

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I can never get over Dozovic’s voice. I love it. I wonder if Heavy Machinery is destined to be the face tag team that everyone loves but rarely gets a meaningful win, like a stepping stone for heel teams getting a push. That’s what it feels like with TM-61. Even though War Raiders aren’t heels, Heavy Machinery got the same treatment from them. There are worse places on the card. Somebody needs to do it and Heavy Machinery can thrive in that role.

 

DANNY BURCH, ONEY LORCAN & PETE DUNNE VS. THE UNDISPUTED ERA

Kyle O’Reilly skipped out on fifth period to be here for this match. Pete Dunne, the ugliest mofo in wrestling not named The Great Khali, definitely lives up to his “Bruiserweight” nickname, his offense looks ridiculously painful. Pre-teen wunderkind O’Reilly gets most of the ring time for the Undisputed Era. They’re excellent at the tag team heel wrestling dynamic with quick tags, keeping each other fresh, isolating their opponents, and working behind the referee’s back. The Boston Snowman Oney Lorcan gets into the match and goes ape shit, I love his intensity. We get a few minutes of awesome pandemonium with all six men in the ring. The crowd is super hot for this match and it keeps getting better as it goes on. The suplex/neckbreaker to the outside spot with Adam Cole and Pete Dunne was great. Burch and Lorcan work so well together and are way over with the crowd, they get a HUGE win over the tag team champions, and I think a title shot may be on the horizon for the Brit and the whitest guy this side of Southie. What a tremendous match. That could main event a pay per view.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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Overall Show Rating: Seven Gold Medals

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