As many of you are aware, WWE Network is pretty packed with all sorts of content. And as you may also know, we here at Place to Be Nation love long term, in depth projects. So, as part of this initiative, members of the PTBN Staff are choosing programs at random and after watching each program, they will share their thoughts, notes and recommendations with our readers. So, settle in and enjoy this epic ride through wrestling history!
Run Time: 58 Minutes
Why Aaron Why???: The Bulldog tape last week was the pits, I wanted to watch a good tag match.
Aaron George: It started with Aleister Black blowing off Gargano’s “TOMMASO CIAMPA CAN’T BE CHAMPION,” with a dismissive, “ok” and led into Black getting, as Mr. Burns would say, the beating of his life. Ciampa pounced and DDT’d the champ into oblivion. It was sweet.
Brian Bayless: The backstage segment where a crazed Johnny Gargano told Aleister Black he could let Tommaso Ciampa win the NXT Title only to have Black walk through a door only to get attacked by Ciampa and DDT’d on the floor was great. It got heat for the upcoming Ciampa/Black match and made it seem like Gargano could have possibly set up Black for the attack.
Jacob Williams: The brief backstage interaction between Gargano and Black was great. Gargano looked like a man losing his mind, while Black did a perfect job of telling said man to stay out of his business. And as a cherry on top, Ciampa snuck in to attack Black to close it out. This is just the kind of short and sweet segment that NXT has made its bread and butter.
Calum McDougall: The Aleister Black backstage assault by Tommaso Ciampa was great and was definitely the best non-wrestling segment. Ciampa being a complete shitbag with his wave at the end was superb and extra points are dished out by me for the backstage worker asking him Ciampa to stop it in the calmest and least threatening voice ever. Also, in retrospect, there was also some excellent foreshadowing when Johnny Gargano said to Black that he knew what he was doing.
Dave Hall: Ciampa’s backstage attack on Aleister Black. This was short, but brutal. The DDT onto the concrete floor from the table was an awesome spot, and credit to Black for taking the move for a short backstage segment. Ciampa’s ongoing challenge and baiting of Black as he moved away was the icing on the cake.
Aaron George: Obviously it’s Undisputed Era versus Moustache Mountain. What an expertly worked tag match. Easily one of the best of the decade. The Undisputed’s leg work on Trent Seven was spectacular as was Seven’s selling. They just destroyed his knee for twenty minutes of non-stop action. What still staggers me is these guy’s attention to detail. The way O’Reilly hooks a leg around his opponent to keep him from the ropes, the body positioning so Seven can’t make a tag. It’s a perfect blend of old school and new school. Not only that but the strategy is clear from the get-go and on a WWE produced show the commentators pick up on it and enhance it. Roderick Strong may be the best offensive wrestler I have ever seen and Tyler Bate is a god damn phenom. The only thing that keeps it from being perfect is the finish. I love the selling, I love Tyler Bate not tagging Seven in because he doesn’t want his mentor to get hurt, I love the emotion of throwing in the towel, I LOVE Seven and Bate screaming at each other… I can’t get around the fact that he could have easily just jumped in the ring and broken up the hold.
Brian Bayless: The Tag Team Title match between Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong vs. Mustache Mountain was tremendous and one of the best tag team matches in WWE history. The storytelling was superb and it had the crowd going mental near the end. The work in the match and drama involved made it a classic as all four men were at their best. If you subscribed to the WWE Network and have yet to see this match then you should watch it ASAP.
Jacob Williams: I made the mistake of watching Moustache Mountain vs Undisputed Era right before bed. I say mistake because I couldn’t sleep due to my brain buzzing. Of course these guys all have great moves and spots, but the story and emotion they created stuck with me. From Seven making me believe the knee abuse could really end his career, to the UE being vicious and unrelenting, to Bate’s anguish as he tries to decide whether to throw in the towel, I was invested in every second. There is nothing quite like a match that really works and reminds you why you love wrestling so much. This was that kind of match.
Calum McDougall: There is only one answer here and it’s the main event. Both teams were excellent and the story they told was outstanding. There was a point where the Undisputed Era are working over Seven’s knee and the camera pans to Tyler Bate on the apron and he’s almost in tears because he can’t help his partner. And then, just when he gets into a position where he can get in the match, Bate gets pulled off of the apron. I got completely lost in this match, as did the live crowd who didn’t stop a dueling chant all match it seemed and the end was absolutely incredible. I cannot say enough how good this match is, anyone reading this who hasn’t seen it needs to do so now!
Dave Hall: Undisputed Era vs Moustache Mountain. WOW. This match was unbelievable. It had great counter-wrestling, innovative double teams, excellent story-telling and a drama filled ending. The focus of the Strong and O’Reilly on the leg of Seven was near-perfect, with crisp and hard-hitting shots that made it look like they were really destroying Seven’s leg. The near-falls and false finishes were great. I really liked that after the hot-tag to Bate, Seven was receiving treatment on the apron to his leg and then Bate refused to tag Seven in due to concern for the leg. This match really drew me in, and I could not believe how good it was. Best match I have seen so far on this journey.
Most Cringeworthy Moment
Aaron George: I thought that the fat guys with the beards doing the Kari Sane dance was going to walk away with this thing. I thought that… until they showed that damn commercial for Extreme Rules. The one where they ask “SUPERSTARS” to describe Extreme Rules and 30 seconds. What follows is perhaps the most forced effort to create off the cuff comments I have ever seen. Carmella trying to remember “the thing,” Roman being Roman before we had all the sympathy for him, and MIz… Jesus Christ, Miz at his most unbearable. “HAS IT BEEN 30 SECONDS YET???” Fuck You.
Brian Bayless: Nothing on this show fell under this category but Mauro can be grating at times on commentary. I did think he added to the Tag Title match though.
Jacob Williams: I hate to cop out, but I can’t really think of anything truly cringeworthy. Even the stuff that can come off as a little cheesy in a vacuum (some of Mauro’s goofy lines, Sane’s very on the nose pirate stuff), fits the tone of NXT, so I have trouble calling it cringeworthy.
Calum McDougall: “Shiver me timbers, Kairi Sane” – Come on Nigel, you’re better than that line!
Dave Hall: Dakota Kai’s interview with the interruption by Lacey Evans. The interview started ok, however when Lacey interrupted it became more apparent that the two women were quoting lines. There was not a great deal of feeling in the put downs and the challenge. Dakota seemed to struggle remembering her lines in the end. A small disappointment on an otherwise great show.
Aaron George: Steve Corino running out to break up the fight between Candice LeRae and Shayna Baszler. He must have screamed “HEY” about forty times while he flayed about, waving his arms in the air as though he did not care.
Brian Bayless: Nothing stood out as intentionally funny but the Shayna Basler and Candice LeRae parking lot altercation was broken up in a goofy way.
Jacob Williams: Any time there were random dudes trying to break up a brawl, they always sounded goofy. While Ciampa was destroying Black, there was one unenthused guy with the most half-hearted concern for the victim. “Hey… stop it. We need some help…”
Calum McDougall: It has to be the aforementioned and completely useless backstage worker doing absolutely nothing but telling to Ciampa to stop beating on Black. Next time with feeling please sir!
Aaron George: Two thirds of the commentary team is fantastic. Mauro is a revelation and I could hear him scream about BUSHIDO style all day. He enhances ever match he calls. Nigel is also a powerhouse once you get past the fact that he should be calling Formula One. I swear every time he opens his mouth I hear, “MICHAEL SCHUMACHER NEARING THE CHICANE!!!!” Adam Cole is a star and Danny Burch has the best head butt I have ever seen. Kari Sane is as crisp a woman’s wrestler in the company and Shayna Bazsler kills every segment she’s in. I love seeing urgency in matches. Danny Burch goes for a pin of Cole, get’s two but then immediately flows into a cross-face. It feels like the guys are trying to win matches. On the pain roster there’d be five-six poses between those moves. This show just feels like wrestling.
Brian Bayless: The opening match between Adam Cole and Danny Burch was good and a strong way to open up the show. Kairi Sane showed off her charisma against Vanessa Borne. And speaking of Borne she showed potential herself.
Jacob Williams: Nigel on commentary always throwing in great little details, like pointing out how Cole annoying his opponents gives him advantage. The Burch vs Cole match was a great example of a perfectly done TV match that works for both guys. Baszler was her usual ornery self. Sane had a fun in ring promo. I already gushed about the main event, so I’ll refrain from repeating myself. Also, I love watching Kyle O’Reilly wrestle.
Calum McDougall: Adam Cole vs Danny Burch started off pretty awkward for me but it ended up being quite a good match. On a side note, if I was going on a night out in London, i’d want Danny Burch by my side, the guy is hard as nails! Also Moustache Mountain are b i g s t r o n g b o i s and are c o o l a s f * * *, they have a great star presence when coming to the ring and I love them both individually and as a team.
Dave Hall: The matches were all very good. The main event was outstanding, with the Undisputed Era looking awesome in the ring and Moustache Mountain creating more drama in one match than I have seen on the main roster for over 12 months. The Adam Cole vs Danny Burch match was also very solid, with another strong build to a series of good near falls and an excellent finish. The women’s match was solid, and again the finish was great. That submission by Kairi Sane looked really good.
Aaron George: The North American title is too wide. While I love her in the ring what is Kairi Sane? Is she a pirate? A child that thinks she’s a pirate? This is a gimmick I could see dying a thousand deaths on the main roster.
Brian Bayless: The interaction between Lacey Evans and Dakota Kai was scripted poorly like it belonged on RAW but the performers tried. I wouldn’t call this horrible but it was the worst thing on this show.
Jacob Williams: Sane vs Borne was a little flat, as you could tell Borne was still finding her way. I’d really have to reach for anything else.
Calum McDougall: The start of the Cole/Burch match was maybe too slow of a burner, but to be fair it is far from bad so that should tell you that this is a good show.
Dave Hall: The Kairi Sane post-match microphone segment was a bit hard to take. Kairi delivered the lines with a big smile on her face and a lack of feeling. It did not make me believe she really wanted to get her hands on the champ. The only other lowlight was the couple of miss-timed moves by Vanesa Borne in the women’s match. She was slow on a couple of shots, and did not look very fluid in the ring. With everything else that was on the card, it was very evident she was a step off the pace.
Wild Card BABY!!!
Loved the Accent: As an Aussie watching this I really like hearing the “down-under” accent of Dakota Kai. It is really good that NXT is using so many different international talents and giving them the opportunity to move to the main roster. – DH
Biggest Mark: Firstly, I hate terms like mark and the like because a fan is a fan, and people can enjoy it whatever way the like. But saying that, I was an absolute mark for that main event! I tried to do this in the proper manner and take my notes as I went, but I that went out the window as soon as the bell went. There was at least three times in the match where I was full on shouting at the TV and probably a couple more that I can’t remember. As the saying goes, It’s still real to me dammit! – CM
Weird Fact I Realized While Watching: NXT is really into the initials KO: Kyle O’Reilly, Kevin Owens, Kassius Ohno. – JW
Innovative Camera Work: I really enjoyed the innovative way that NXT did their “earlier in the day” interviews, with both people walking along outside on their way to the arena and being interviewed in a very “real sports interview” style. It comes across very realistic and adds to the down-to-earth feel of NXT. – DH
Most Professional: Drake Wuertz is in the “Earlier Today” segment with Shayna and Candice LaRae in full referee gear, complete with ear piece. Maybe he thinks the 24/7 rule is going to come back soon and he wants to make sure he’s prepared. – CM
Best Tidbit: Dave Meltzer of the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” gave the Tag Team Title match a five-star rating. -BB
Aaron George: This is the kind of show that makes me excited about wrestling. Sure a couple of the matches were meaningless, but the main delivered and it feels like everyone involved respects the integrity of the product. It almost feels strange that there aren’t inferior wrestlers getting the big pushes, and that the company isn’t trying to actively piss off its fans. Great watch. RATING: 9/10
Brian Bayless: The main event was incredible and that alone is a reason to watch this show. Besides that the NXT Title stuff was really good and the opening match was solid. One of the best NXT TV shows in the history of the brand RATING: 9/10
Jacob Williams: This was an expertly crafted hour of wrestling. We got a strong title defense for a heel champion that still made the face look tough and scrappy. There were short and simple backstage segments to build storylines and feuds. And to top it off, an incredible feature match left us wondering what will happen to the losers. And it accomplished this without having many of the biggest stars even wrestle. When NXT is firing on all cylinders, it is an absolute joy to watch. RATING: 9/10
Calum McDougall: This is why people rave about NXT! None of the nonsense you need to put on to pad out three hours, just 60 mins of good to great wrestling on a consistent basis. Am I basing this score purely on the main event? Probably. But I cannot put into words just how good I thought that main event was. RATING: 10/10
Dave Hall: I have not watched NXT in a very long time and was not sure what to expect. What I got was one of the best tag team matches I have seen in many years, a solid opening match and a decent women’s match, with two strong backstage segments/fights to round the show out. The entire show flew by, and I was not really disappointed with any part of it. This show has got me wanting to see more matches involving the Undisputed Era, and hope that they get called up to the main roster at some point. RATING: 9/10
And we are out! Where will the Network Adventure travel to? Which Coliseum will be conquered next? Which of these assholes will quit the project in an indignant rage??? Find out in TWO WEEKS!