This is my first review of an event that I attended in person, so it may be a different tone and perspective than my other reviews.
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: MOUSTACHE MOUNTAIN VS. THE UNDISPUTED ERA (c)
I didn’t think there was any way Moustache Mountain would regain the titles. I figured this was their kiss off so they could go be the flag bearers of the NXT UK brand. But shit, there was more than one instance where I thought oh damn they might win this! Tremendous match. The crowd was on fire for this one. I’d say a 60/40 split in favor of the Undisputed Era. I’m a Moustache Mountain guy myself. I really enjoy what Undisputed Era brings to the table as an obvious nod to the NWO right down to Kyle O’Reilly air guitaring the belt. But they are not trying to be cool heel. They are trying to be heels. In my opinion, the product is best enjoyed when you back the face over the heel instead of fighting the narrative that the promotion is trying to push. That’s not to say I don’t like favor heels sometimes, but for the most part, it’s best to let heels be heels and get their boos. With Undisputed Era, I don’t even see what they do that makes them so hugely popular as heels. They are such GOOD heels, that they make the faces that much better and it should get the faces more cheers.
I went way off on a tangent there. This match was tremendous. I think it was the match of the night. Great back and forth action, great storytelling with Trent Seven grabbing the towel, fighting within himself, and ultimately throwing it into the crowd, and a great finish. I knew this one would be hard to top, and nobody was able to do it.
Match Rating: Eight Gold Medals
VELVETEEN DREAM VS. EC3
Let me talk for a minute about Velveteen Dream. I can’t think of any current wrestler who impresses me more as an overall performer. He’s a homage to the great heels from the Golden Era of WWF. His facial expressions, his mannerisms, his entire attitude and character are perfect. At the beginning of the match he had an old school heel, over-the-top temper tantrum when EC3 threw his jacket at him. His tights said “Call Me Up Vince”. I hope that happens soon and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table on the main roster.
This match started out well, died in the middle, and exploded at the end. Great finish, but a really lackluster match overall. The crowd around me was mostly put to sleep by this one. We got some EC3/Velveteen chants going, but it was pretty much just to try to regain interest in the match. I made the comment to the person I was with that Velveteen Dream is better than EC3 is making him look. For anyone watching who wasn’t there live wondering about the random chant and huge pop in the middle of the match, they didn’t turn on the big overhead screen when the match started, so people were chanting “Put the screen up!” and there was a huge reaction when they finally did. So there you go, you got the inside scoop.
Match Rating: Three Gold Medals
NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: RICOCHET VS. ADAM COLE (c)
I was surrounded by Adam Cole fans. Since he’s in Undisputed Era he’s included in my earlier diatribe. I respect what he does but the “Adam Cole Bay Bay” thing just keeps him from being a truly great heel. He should not be looking for that type of crowd reaction. Maybe it’s just me being old school/traditional/Jim Cornette but as I said earlier, I enjoy wrestling best when there’s a face who gets cheered and a heel who gets booed.
Opposite to the EC3/Velveteen match, this one started off slowly, but I could feel that they were saving their energy for the latter part of the match. I was right. Once this match picked up it was excellent. As many people there were cheering for Adam Cole, Ricochet got a HUGE pop when he won and both guys got a standing ovation.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: KAIRI SANE VS. SHAYNA BASZLER (c)
Our first clear cut heel vs. face match. Shayna was universally booed, and for good reason. Unfortunately she didn’t look the best in the ring tonight and the match suffered some because of that. She’s certainly grown as an in-ring performer but tonight she just didn’t seem to have it. Still, this was a really good and really fun match and there was a huge pop when Kairi won. I expect to see Shayna on the main roster soon, possibly as early as Monday or Tuesday. I wonder if she will be a face or heel, because you’d expect her to be put together with Ronda Rousey if she goes to Raw, but I don’t know if I can see her as a face.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
NXT CHAMPIONSHIP LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: JOHNNY GARGANO VS. TOMMASO CIAMPA (c)
I think this is probably the kiss off to this feud and that Johnny will be coming to the main roster as well. Some really great spots in this match. It did not seem as good as their previous two matches, and there were a small number of boos for Johnny and cheers for Ciampa. For the most part though, Ciampa was loudly booed, which you can clearly hear if you watch the show. The air seemed to come out of the place when Ciampa won. People around me were chanting “This is bullshit.” Not in an angry at the bookers way, but in a heel heat way, which is exactly what you want. There was a lot of silence around me too, myself included. We wanted to see Gargano overcome and FINALLY get that belt. It didn’t happen, but it was still a really good match.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
Overall I would say the show was good not great. I certainly enjoyed myself for the third year in a row. Rumors are that SummerSlam is moving away from Brooklyn next year, but hopefully a Takeover will remain.
Overall Show Rating: Six Gold Medals