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Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN PRO WRESTLING COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. Man, I’m SHOCKED that the Social Justice Warriors didn’t come after me too for my last column. I guess when you speak about real facts instead of just straight up judging, it’s hard to argue… People are just too uptight online and everything seems to be offensive now. Then, when anything that is deemed “offensive” is said, the mob is there to attack you and then spread the word to everyone possible of your mistake. Really a sad time we live in these days and in the end, it will just result in massive censorship.
Many of you have asked “why don’t you review NXT shows?”. Well, since the Brand Extension of 2016, my viewership of NXT shows kept getting worse to the point where I barely watch any of the regular television shows. It is difficult to keep up with 2 brands of WWE with RAW and Smackdown. However, in my opinion, since the talent raids to fill those RAW/Smackdown shows, the NXT television show isn’t as good as it used to be. During 2015-2016, you were guaranteed at least 1-2 good matches each week because the older NXT roster was LOADED. With a thinner roster or constantly reloading, the television shows weren’t as good and I just stopped watching. Sorry… RAW and Smackdown are too much for me.
But, I like watching NXT Takeover events cold because like what happened 3 years ago with NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2015, it is nice to watch Takeover shows with a completely fresh perspectives. I had no idea what I was watching during August 2015 with Takeover Brookly and then I quickly fell in love with the promotion. Suddenly, I was not only watching the television show each week, but binging previous weeks and months along with previous Takeover events. In many ways, it SAVED me as a wrestling fan as I was pretty disgruntled as a wrestling fan and just ended my 1 year+ boycott of the debuting WWE Network. Hell, NXT helped me keep the WWE Network beyond my 1 free month trial that I obtained to simultaneously watch WWE Money in the Bank 2015 and the NBA Finals.
I’m still baffled as to why the WWE didn’t make NXT as the separate brand and not split RAW/Smackdown. Oh wait, I see those $2 Billion worth of Television Deals, so I’m wrong… But NXT getting talented raided repeatedly has hurt the show and yet Triple H has performed a great job reloading the gun as quickly as he can. Some of the 2017 events started slowing down but they have quickly picked things up again during 2018. They have a solid nucleus of talent now and several wrestlers have that smaller look that Vince McMahon wouldn’t care to use on the main WWE roster. Soooooo why promote them? Let them be NXT employees and pay them well because these Takeover events make money and the TV show helps retain WWE Network subscribers.
I’m going to be brutally honest on NXT, though… I’m not that crazy on Mauro Ranallo as an announcer. He just seems to scream more like a fan or a wrestling mark rather than just being play-by-play calling the moves like Jim Ross or speaking in a calmer, non-distracting voice like Michael Cole. I honestly wasn’t crazy about him on Smackdown and am honestly happy that he moved to NXT to allow me to hear him scream just 4-5 times a year now. Nothing against him personally, I just don’t like his style of announcing.
Like everyone, though, I have more excitement for NXT Takeover than WWE SummerSlam. That should NEVER be the case, especially with me.
On to the show…
Mr. Tito’s PHAT NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2018 Review
Tyler Bate/Trent Seven vs. Roderick Strong/Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Tag Titles was the HOT OPENER. I really enjoyed this match and it was a refreshing change of pace from other hot openers seen on NXT Takeovers. I’m not bashing the other matches, but just saying that it was a different type of match… More physical, more psychological, and fewer higher spots. I liked how they played up the “throwing in the towel” from the previous match and played that up later. The Undisputed Era won in the end with their finisher but credit goes to Mustache Mountain (great name!) for taking quite a beating here and dishing some of it back out to the champions. No complaints for a solid 20 minute match to start the show. Here we go, [ **** ], off to a great start once again here at NXT Takeover.
Afterward, two HOSSES in facepaint (War Raiders) arrive and just destroy Undisputed Era and destroyed Strong/O’Reilly. They hit 2 DEVASTATING tag team moves that made my jaw job. DAMN those guys look awesome and looked agile in their destruction of the Undisputed Era. Nice, we’ve got a great match already lined up for the next Takeover event.
Next match is Velveteen Dream vs. EC3. In my opinion, the Dream could be that next MEGA DRAW. Guy is full of charisma and has tons of ability… He’s just remarkably young. I personally don’t like his name, but me hating his name could be an asset if he’s a heel and it just makes me want to hate him more. But how can I hate this guy? He is seriously the future of the WWE if pushed right. He checkboxes almost everything that Vince McMahon wants in a Main Event superstar. EC3 is pretty good, too, and he gets a few checkboxes too although he has that “TNA stench” that might keep Vince from ever trying to push him. He looks like he lives in the damn gym and tanning bed! Dream has “Call Me Up Vince” on the back of his tights, LOL! That’s great! EC3 seemed a bit robotic out there and just didn’t have a conflicting personality to ignite the charismatic side of Dream. It is almost as if EC3 is too muscular and that is limiting his movement, but damn is he strong! Dream is a longer dude and EC3 lifting him with zero problems. Like the Dream Valley Driver, which looks a lot more deadly than Cena’s Death Valley Driver or as I call it, “higher body slam”. At least Dream follows through with his body into that move. Oh damn, and then Dream hits his DVD on the side of the apron and follows that up with a Macho elbow on the side of the apron as well. Nice finish to what was sort of a sluggish match between these two. [ *** ] I would keep Velveteen Dream in NXT for a while and eventually make him NXT Champion. He looks great in flashes now, but promoting him too early could be devastating as seen with other wrestlers rushed to the main WWE roster. Let him draw as NXT champion and then promote him.
Matt Riddle is ringside and hyped as the next big WWE (or NXT) signing. I love how the Takeover events do that. Do you notice how they make you want more?
Adam Cole vs. Ricochet is up next as I wonder why neither guy is on 205 Live. Then again, I don’t wish that on anybody… Stay in NXT and entertain! For a high flyer with many flipping moves, Ricochet just makes his movement appear so effortless. Cole is talented and although he is at 6’0″, he looks smaller than what Vince would want in a top star. Sooo… Keep him in NXT! Why not? Match seemed to be too much on the Ricochet offensive side Adam Cole getting any chance to shine. Then again, it probably takes a lot to sell what Ricochet is trying. The handspring into the backstabber was a thing of beauty! Good high flying psychology as Ricochet blocked the superkick from midair but then later takes the kick when he tried the moonsault. That should have been the finish, damn… The part where they were trading kicks and punches was quite cool… Holy cow @ that reverse Frankensteiner that Ricochet hit from a standing position. THAT is talented. Then Ricochet leaps over the top rop, clears it, and its a Frankensteiner on Adam Cole as he is standing outside the ropes on the ring. Holy mother of God! Ricochet then hits a what, 650 splash (??) on Adam Cole as it was a 450 but with an additional role that caused him to land on his back onto Cole. That was sick! [ ****1/2 ] Sick display of offense by Ricochet with Cole selling everything perfectly. My only wish is that Cole could display some more of his offensive moves to even things out. Still, that’s a good rating and the best match so far.
Shayna Baszler vs. Kaire Sane is up next… I really like what I’ve seen from Baszler so far. The potential is there to line her up for a future opponent of Ronda Rousey, no doubt. Female referee in the house, wow… Sane is quite a beauty but very talented herself. Interesting mix of styles for this match, although a good bit of this match was Baszler bullying Sane with physical offense. But why shouldn’t she? Eventually, Sane has enough and snaps… I like that. Sane gets in some good offense following that but Baszler eventually starts applying submission holds… But Sane escapes those, hits an Alabama Slam, and tries another top rope elbow. Knees went up for Baszler and as Shayne tries to to lock in a submission hold, Sane rolls her up for a pin. Wow… Shocker of an ending, as this may confirm that Baszler is going to join Ronda for the 4 Horsewomen Survivor Series match. [ ***1/4 ]. NEW NXT Women’s Champion! Happy for Sane, as she has performed well in any match she’s been in and took a hell of a beating here from Baszler.
MAIN EVENT is here at the 1 hour, 50 minute mark of this event and that makes me happy. NXT Title match between Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano. The question is this: can they top their previous 2 great matches together? Ciampa is WWE ready but I don’t want him the WWE Creative Team to ruin him. He’s an amazing heal who can generate real heat with psychology. I think highly of Gargano but you just know Vince would disregard him. Personally, I would have went with an “I Quit” match instead of the “Last Man Standing” match. “Meh” to 10 counts… Like any No Disqualification matches, they use the stair and then the announcer tables. I’m almost fully desensitized to those moves, as they are common for most main events anymore. If I was in this type of match, I’d grab a chair and just keep hitting my opponent until they aren’t breathing. However, both guys don’t follow that formula and give us a great match instead. Not complaining tonight… Ciampa’s Powerbomb move into the knees is just sick! I like how Ciampa just calmly sits and waits for the referees to count to 10, including having a chair in the ring to watch the count. Jim Cornette would be proud of the fire extinguisher spot to cause blindness and Gargano goes to town with a crutch. Both go on to to destroy the ring and everything ringside until Gargano accidentally hurts a guy ringside. Then Ciampa piles on table parts, chairs, and the injured guy on top of Gargano in attempt to get a 10 count. That was cool! And then an idea in Last Man Standing that I’ve never seen: handcuffs! Ciampa finally goes through the 2 tables that were stacked onto each other via Superkick and the table’s legs got Ciampa in the head. Ouch. Ciampa sells being loopy on the outside. They head to the entrance way where Ciampa gets handcuffed to the speakers or something the ring entrance’s set design. Gargano goes on the attack! Good guy Gargano lays off the attack and Ciampa is able to stand on his feet while handcuffed to break the count. For whatever reason, Gargano does a running attack that causes him to take a big dive into equipment and causes himself to lose to a 10 count as Ciampa stands up at the last second to retain the NXT Title. Didn’t like that ending but the match was damn great. [ **** 1/4 ]
LAST WORD: Well, Triple H probably did it again! He is outshining the Big 4 events with these Takeover shows even as RAW/Smackdown brands raid his roster. Solid show all around and not a stinker of a show, but most of all, loaded with GREAT wrestling matches. WRESTLING, you know… No other theatrics needed. [ A+ ], superb show and strongly recommended!
And remember… To purchase the Doc’s book Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the Wrestlemania Era via Amazon.com in the United States, GO HERE. To purchase this book via Amazon.com in the United Kingdom, GO HERE. If those don’t work, please inquire Doc via Twitter through his handle @TheDocLoP.
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So just chill… Until the next episode!
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