Mr. Tito's PHAT NXT Takeover XXX Review Submitted by Mr. Tito on 08/22/2020 at 09:25 PM
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Welcome to Mr. Tito's PHAT NXT Takeover XXX review that is exclusively here at NoDQ.com. If you have read my Pay Per View review columns elsewhere, you'll know that I pride myself on writing my reviews as the shows happen and then instantly posting my review as the show ends. It saves me by writing the column and watching the show simultaneously and gives my readers something to instantly read after the show ends.
Heading into this Takeover, my expectations were low... I haven't been that crazy about the NXT brand as I have been during the past. Wrestlers are either too small or too dull... NXT confuses me on if they are operating as a Cruiserweight brand or having a bunch of dudes with awful names that nobody can market. Meanwhile, the Women's Division is a bit thin except for one extraordinary talent who will likely get called up soon (Rhea Ripley) and the Tag Team division isn't what it used to be. WWE's ability to raid the NXT roster frequently has hurt this roster and it appears that Triple H stocked up on 5'10", less than 200 pound guys so that Vince wouldn't recruit them.
Thus, I was heading into this show with very low expectations...
By the way, I watched the "WWE Untold" about the Bayley vs. Sasha Banks match at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015. Tremendous show... What I didn't know was that both wrestlers had mostly creative control over what happened within the match. They had little time to rehearse it but didn't want to try anything openly in the ring beforehand in case any male wrestlers or male road agents saw a high risk move and would try to deny them. Thus, that match was Sasha and Bayley coming up with their own stuff and also improvising as the red hot crowd helped direct them. Imagine that... Letting the wrestlers have a choice and then letting them make in-ring audibles to make the match even better. WWE needs more of this badly.
Onto the review.
Mr. Tito's PHAT NXT Takeover XXX Review
Back to Full Sail but with trainees as fans...
No pre-game show for me...
Finn Balor vs. Timothy Thatcher is our opening bout... I liked what I've seen from Thatcher, so far. Finn is consistently good but he just lacks personality and relies too much on spot wrestling instead of psychology. Plus, Balor is small and Thatcher towers over him. If y'all wonder why Balor didn't make it on the main WWE roster, well, optics are everything there. Oddly enough, Thatcher suffers some some of the same things as Balor, such as lack of character and personality, that would cause WWE to want to use him. Thatcher needs a cool mat-based gimmick like what Dean Malenko had with "Man of 1,000 Holds". And we're just 5 minutes into this when WWE Network decides to freeze. Awesome. Lots of mat wrestling, arm bars, and stretching to start the match as I wonder what the hell Balor was thinking by getting all of those tattoos up and down his arms. I understand that tattoos are a thing now with pro wrestlers, but at least get GOOD ones. Seems to be too much mat wrestling in this one, as dominated by Thatcher. Should try to change it up a bit with Balor's stuff to spice things up just a tad more. Then, Balor falls into the trap of selling the leg injury and then hopping back up on both feet several times without pain. Balor hits the Coup De Grace from the top rope (again, ignoring the leg injury)) and then wins with the 1916 DDT. [ **1/2 ] Too much Timothy Thatcher mat wrestling dominance for 3/4 of the match and then Balor failing to sell a leg injury for the remaining 1/4.
And now for the Dangerous Spot match of Takeover. Every Takeover show has at least 1 match where wrestlers take high leaps off of cages or ladders. It was Bronson Reed, Damian Priest, Cameron Grimes, Johnny Gargano, and Velveteen Dream in a Ladder Match for the vacant North American title. Shocking that Gargano has yet to be called up to the main WWE roster but then you look at his statistics... 5'10". I appreciate the Bam Bam Bigelow tribute by Bronson Reed. Speaking of looks, it appears that Velveteen Dream isn't going for theatrics with his entrance time time around. I liked when Cameron Grimes tried to wisely climb to ladders at the same time only for both ladders to be pulled away from him to cause a split. Ouch! They would later try a spot where everybody was in the ring with a bunch of ladders and the other 4 wrestlers were smashed by a charging Bronson Reed but it looked very ineffective. Then, they did a bit spot with an Electric Chair Drop + German Suplex + Superplex but I feel that I've seen this spot several times already. I just saw Gargano slap his leg hard for a kick and it made me think of Orton mocking NXT a few months ago. Very obvious. Bunch of outside spots where wrestlers jump on a group of WAITING wrestlers... Zzzzzz... WWE has somehow made the Ladder Match become boring. Gargano's wife, Candice LeRae interfered and stopped Cameron Grimes from climbing the ladder. Then, she did a spot on the outside with guys waiting to catch her. And then the SPOT OF THE MATCH when Candice made a huge mistake of climbing on Bronson Reed's back while on the Ladder and he opted to jump off the ladder and onto Gargano with LeRae hanging on his back. Wow! The usual setting up of ladders for a big spot and Gargano eventually hit a Sunset Flip off of the ladders and onto the platform set-up. I've just seen these same moves over and over that I'm numb to them. Velveteen Dream took a huge bump onto conveniently placed tables at ringside and Johnny Gargano fends off opponents at the top of the ladder by swinging the hanging belt. That's interesting. Damian Priest eventually fought off Gargano to win the title. The RIGHT GUY won the match, good. [ *** ] WWE needs to rethink these Ladder Matches, as they are no longer unique looking matches. Kinda boring in parts and nothing really stood out as special. Hard to be impressed when you've seen 20+ years of guys taking daredevil dives off of ladders in the WWE.
Up next, we have Pat McAfee vs. Adam Cole... I do have to laugh at how Jim Cornette constantly laughs at how NXT security surrounds the ring for these guys but does nothing for other acts of violence, kidnapping, and other borderline criminal activity happening on WWE/NXT storylines. He's got a point... Adam Cole comes out and then Pat McAfee cuts a promo from the back before coming out. While Cole sent his Undisputed Era to the back, McAfee is bringing his NFL friends to the ring (wearing "Cole Sucks" shirts, too). I like the psychology to start, as Cole locks in that headlock and won't let go. Like a true heel, Pat runs to corner and wants a timeout (gets a sip of water too). How is it that Pat McAfree knows more about HEEL psychology in ONE MATCH than the rest of the WWE roster?!? As the NFL players start to get involved, the Undisputed Era runs out. Referees call out the security and we have a large group of bodies (hey, social distancing?!?). Pat McAfee then hits a freakin' Swanton on everyone at ringside. Wow... Pat back in the ring and now he begins to work on Adam Cole with a mixture of wrestling holds, heel rakes and gouging, and slams. 2 weeks experience, eh? Making Adam Cole, an experienced wrestler, look really bad here. Cole eventually shakes off Pat's offense and starts working on him. The inexperience of McAfee showed in parts, particularly when he sold the Codebreaker move (sold too early). Holy cow, as McAfee was trying to do the Superplex and he was shoved off but flipped cleanly onto his feet. McAfee jumped up onto the top rope to then deliver the Superplex. That was a tremendous show of athleticism. McAfee tried to do his Punt on the outside but missed and kicked the steel steps. Cole attacks the leg and then locks in the Figure 4. Low blow by McAfee and then Pat tries his Punt... McAfee sells the leg after he tried that Punt and then Cole kicked out of that move, which sells the weakening of that leg from the steel steps earlier. McAfee tried to jump from the top rope but ate a Superkick and Cole finishes off Pat with a Panama Sunrise finisher that was executed well. [ *** 1/2 ] My only issue is that it made an experienced wrestler, Adam Cole, look very weak against an inexperienced performer. That said, some inexperience aside, Pat McAfee is one hell of an athlete and understands heel psychology well. If I were WWE, I'd seriously offer Pat McAfee a contract to become a full-time wrestler. Doubtful that he'd take it, as his sports media job is highly lucrative.
Next up was Io Shirai vs. Dakota Kai for the NXT Women's Title. Kinda disappointed to not see Rhea Ripley tonight... I like how Dakota Kai has a "Diesel like" bodyguard with her. Say what you will about NXT, but they present Japanese wrestlers better than anybody else in North America. Both WWE and AEW struggle badly with presenting female wrestlers from Japan (male wrestlers as well). High impact, fast moving match between these ladies... Both were full of energy and had their motors running at high levels throughout the match. I liked how Io Shirai was selling the arm injury yet proved to show talent to pull off various moves one armed! The drummer of Def Leppard would be so proud. The match's pace reminds me very much of New Japan where the just hit move after move with both competitors proving their conditioning to be strong. Referee bump and Io could not score a pin. Of course, Raquel "Diesel" Gonzalez invades and slams Shirai. 2 count only. Shirai overcomes Dakota and locks in the Crossface BUT can't lock it in properly due to the injured arm. Shirai takes to the ropes and deals it to both Kai/Gonzalez on the outside and then she hits a moonsault for the 1, 2, and 3 on Kai. [ **** ] Gonzalez attacks afterward and Rhea Ripley comes out for the save. Staredown between Gonzalez and Ripley... Gonzalez walks away, like a true heel. Top to bottom, highly energetic match that was flawless in execution. Nice work, ladies. Then afterward, they build towards the future.
NXT UK is coming back with a PPV in September, Tommaso Ciampa is coming back this Wednesday. Meanwhile, Damian Priest celebrates being the newly crowned North American champion by hopping into a hot-tub with two babes. Life is good. Good to see that A wrestler is chasing tail these days on screen.
THE MAIN EVENT is finally here between Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross. Interesting dynamic heading into this match, as Keith Lee might be better served on the WWE roster yet Karrion Kross (anytime that you have to keep looking up the name to spell it correctly proves that you have a bad wrestler name) has only been on the NXT roster for a short while. Giving a top title to an unproven commodity can always feel rushed to fans. Kross looks the part and damn that entrance is fantastic, but what can he do inside the ring to impress? To NXT's credit, they are having the Champions come out 2nd consistently tonight and I appreciate that (didn't watch the pre-show). At 6'5" and 270 pounds, Vince will make money off of Kross if pushed correctly unless his valet "Sables" him. Keith Lee, meanwhile, needs better theme music. See if Three 6 Mafia is available to make another badass theme as they did for Mark Henry? Hell, recycle Henry's theme for all I care. Match started off with big man brawling until Keith Lee injured his arm on the outside and Karrion went after it for a long time. Lee eventually overpowered an armbar and lifted Kross for a slam. Offense was evenly divided from there... What is hurting this match is the LACK of a defined babyface and heel here... There is a total lack of heel psychology here and it's just guys swinging momentum back and forth to create interest. Eventually, Karrion Kross hits his finisher to Keith Lee to become champion. Announcer says "stunned silence" and I say "lack of face/heel psychology" to make the smaller crowd care. Decent big man match, but I really don't feel anything special for Karrion Kross winning the title here. Just doesn't feel right. [ *** ]
LAST WORD: Overall, a solid wrestling event from NXT... Nothing offensive here, yet nothing flashy to make it Must See TV with the exception of a non-wrestler named Pat McAfee. While his performance really overshadows an experienced veteran like Cole, Pat was damn entertaining in his efforts and I'd love to see what he could do as a full-time performer. Overall, this show gets a [ B ] grade from me.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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