Took in NXT (not Takeover) Stand & Deliver and it was actually a pretty solid show.
The place was EMPTY with about 45 minutes before the start but it filled in very nicely. There were thousands of people there and the non-hard camera side was mostly full. The upper deck was tarped but the middle sections (which are small) had people. The hard camera side was mostly tarped with some sections open.
Kickoff Show: Women’s Tag Team Titles: Toxic Attraction vs. Raquel Gonzalez/Dakota Kai
The Kickoff Show match was nothing worth seeing, but the title change did pop the crowd. Wendy Choo was her usual annoying self but that is kind of the point….I hope. The big thing I noticed here was how everything felt choreographed. It came off like the women were doing their carefully planned out routines with everything laid out well in advance. It’s very noticeable and that’s not a great thing.
North American Title: Ladder Match
Of all the wild, multi person ladder matches I’ve seen, this was the most recent. What is there to say? There were a bunch of people flying around doing their spots and Cameron Grimes won. Other than Grayson Waller’s big crash or maybe breaking a ladder apart, I’m not going to remember any of this in a few days. That’s how ladder matches work these days and it doesn’t really mean much. Grime winning was the right move though and I’m glad he got it.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tony D’Angelo
This was a bit sad to see happen but D’Angelo going over makes sense. Ciampa has done everything there is to do in NXT and while I’m not sure if he’s going to the main roster or leaving, it was an emotional sendoff. The HHH cameo was awesome, but it was a little weird when he left and Ciampa was standing there in front of HHH’s Titantron with Motorhead playing.
Tag Team Titles: Imperium(c) vs. MSK vs. Creed Brothers
I really didn’t care to see this match, but it is nice to have the tag division getting somewhere again for a change. It isn’t the glory days, but it feels like there are teams fighting over the belts and that is more than has been seen as of late. If this leads to MSK being revealed as the team that attacked the Creeds and sets up a bit title match, everything should be fine. The Creeds are coming though and I don’t think that’s a secret.
Women’s Title: Mandy Rose(c) vs. Cora Jade vs. Io Shirai vs. Kay Lee Ray
Rose retained and I’m ok with that. Simply put, Rose isn’t some ring general who can steal a show every night, but she’s also FAR from some disaster who needs to be led through a match step by step. She gets a reaction from the fans and that is more than a lot of people are going to be able to say in NXT, or anywhere else these days. Yes the Toxic Attraction dominance is a little old, but Rose is the star of the team and I’m fine with her keeping the belt for a while longer.
Gunther vs. LA Knight
This was probably the second biggest layup of the show, as Gunther isn’t losing to someone like Knight. I like Knight, but he was out of his league here with a monster like Gunther. Odds are Gunther is moving into the title picture soon, as there isn’t anything else for him to do at the moment. It was cool to see Gunther in person, but we didn’t get the crazy loud chop for some reason.
NXT Title: Dolph Ziggler(c) vs. Bron Breakker
Then there’s this and….yowza. I would have bet money on Breakker winning here but they did a good enough job of shocking the heck out of me. Breakker not winning means he’s either already on his way to the main roster, or he’ll be getting the title soon. Either way, I was shocked by the result, but while Breakker was nervous and botched a bit, he was having a good match here. Ziggler deserves credit for that and that’s why he’s in NXT.
Oh and the Hudson/Pirotta vs. Lumis/Hartwell deal was as dumb as you knew it would be.
There might not have been a classic and this is by no means Takeover, but they have done a heck of a job of turning NXT into something watchable. The characters are established and you can see what WWE wants to do with them. This wasn’t a great show, but it was an entertaining show and a nice warmup for later tonight. If that’s what NXT is going to be, I can live with it going forward, as this was an enjoyable enough afternoon.
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