The NXT Report Card (8/15/18): Backbreakers Before Brooklyn

Well then, I guess it’s about that time. Seven days after being lied to and mistreated by Lord Steven Regal, I now must return to the scene of the crime. It’s Full Sail Live (not really) and frankly, I’m uncertain of my safety. After seeing poor Ali Black floored by some unknown crook, I’d be a fool to trust anyone this week, but I have a job to do and you can bet your life I’ll do it. Seriously though, after my last outing, I promised more silliness than ever so considering that, get your seatbelts on and stay safe.

DISCLAIMER: any wild predictions I make that you disagree with will likely be proven completely wrong in the coming weeks, months and years anyway so don’t worry too much. Basically, take everything you read from this point forward with a grain of salt as its credibility is preposterously low.

NJPW New Japan Cup Night Three Results (3/7): Will Ospreay And Zack Sabre Jr In Action

We open tonight’s show with a recap of last week’s closing angle as well as what followed on WWE.com. What’s that? Why was it online rather than featuring on NXT TV? Hmmm, probably to make my job impossible mate, I’d imagine that was the main motive.

The Street Profits

Opening match time now as we get started with the advertised Street Profits/Mighty match. After watching Ford get double-teamed early, Dawkins came in on a blind tag and some tandem offense followed. Dawkins then landed some right hands on Thorne but the Aussie then turned things around, quickly isolating big Angelo. It was interesting to see roles almost reverse here, with Dawkins selling for a portion and in fairness, doing so quite well.

Either way, he eventually evaded Thorne and fought free, bringing in Ford who ran wild with some massive lariats on both men. He then isolated Thorne and scored a quick roll-up whilst holding the tights. This wasn’t anything must see but The Street Profits remain entertaining from start to finish, and Ford’s hot tag here was great. Overall, they once again did a good job of maximizing their time.

Grade: B+

The Mighty

As I’ve said time and time again since The Mighty turned heel, this unit’s increased intensity and aggression is quite tremendous. They were immediately nasty here, landing chops and corning Ford right away to allow for some double-teaming. Moreover, I continue to love their now trademark cut-off spot in which Thorne just hits people in the back of the head. As far as the heat, it had a rather impressive range, including some pretty cool power stuff as well as a whole bunch of strikes.

This remains a good team going nowhere and in that sense, it stands alongside 28 other WWE teams that are in the exact same position. Much love.

Grade: B

Backstage, Shayna Baszler seemingly has some advice for Aliyah before her match with Kairi Sane. Oh, and by the way, that match is NEXT!!!!!!!!

But not actually next of course as first, The Undisputed Era are listening to their theme song whilst taking about TakeOver: Brooklyn. Kyle made a Dan Severn reference here and Bobby Fish was generally great fun too. Speaking of The Undisputed Era though, I have a PIVOTAL news bulletin for you all.

PIVOTAL NEWS BULLETIN: I’ve produced an Undisputed Era feature and if I may say so myself, it’s very worth reading pal. Have fun, and comment your immense praise below.

Kairi Sane

As was promised long ago, Kairi Sane is now here to take on Aliyah but first, Shayna Baszler made her way out and headed to the announce table. After some heeling early, Aliyah initially took advantage of a distracted Sane, roughing her up until Kairi turned things around in an instant, snatching the Stretch Muffler. Aliyah eventually made it to the ropes and unleashed some strikes but Sane soon countered, and followed up with a couple running blockbusters.

The Interceptor came next, and after hitting the Sliding D, Sane nailed the Insane Elbow but didn’t go for a cover, instead staring Shayna down and hitting the elbow twice more. She then lifted Aliyah’s shoulder off the mat and applied The Anchor to force a submission. Baszler was enraged by these antics, and climbed atop the announce table like all great NXT Women’s Champions before her. Sane was rather spiteful here and frankly, I enjoyed it. Rather effective segment honestly.

As for poor Aliyah, I’m just very sorry. That’s all I can say.

Grade: B+

Up next, we got a video package about Adam Cole’s first year in NXT and the success it’s brought. This then transitioned into some focus on Ricochet, who discussed changing the industry just like Joe Hulbert has with his revolutionary wrestling review content. In all seriousness, this package reminded me of something I’d forgotten: the fact that Cole actually dislodged Ricochet from the ladder just moments before winning the title. This was unsurprisingly well-done.

Fanny Pack Fighting

The Velveteen Dream is now here and he has a microphone in hand. He says that EC3 is smart, clever and charming. Agree. He also says that EC3 had the Dream’s curiosity, but that he now has his attention. I’m less able to comment on that. However, he feels that on Saturday, it’ll be Dream Over. Once again, this feels rather subjective but I tend to agree honestly, that does seem relatively likely.

Nonetheless, EC3 arrived in response and rightly complimented Dream’s fanny pack. He then discussed building parking lots as well as themed restaurants. Following this, he then repeated the word “victory” which enraged Dream whose response only earned a fanny pack chant. EC3 then started to take off his clothes and screaming commenced. Dream jumped him first though, before failing to capitalize as EC3 fired back with some punches, next standing tall after hitting the 1%er.

This was a fun promo segment between two charismatic men that can talk. Yep, even in 2018, it’s still possible.

Grade: B+

Before I can watch my lord and saviour Goddy Strong wrestle, I’m first being shown WWE Now. Look guys, I’m now being shown things that I usually watch on the horrific WWE app after persevering through a 30 second ad. Now that exact content is being shown to me on the award winning WWE Network though and frankly, I find it rather repulsive. Nonetheless, Cathy Kelley ran through all of the potential attackers, including arrows and all.

My favorite here was Lars Sulliv…OH MY GOD…WESLEY BLAKE IS HERE…HE’S ACTUALLY ON THIS SHOW.

I haven’t seen this man since he sheepishly appeared in the crowd of faces applauding Asuka but he’s back. Against all odds, he’s back. Best of all, he’s quite obviously being thrust immediately into a main event position, feuding with Aleister Black as soon as Ali is back and healthy. Well done Wes, top man!

We now move to a big-time video package about Ciampa/Gargano 3. Okay, this format is obviously nothing new at this point but I must concede that this one ruled anyway. In fairness, it only covered what’s happened since Chicago and did a beautiful job of it too, telling this story whilst also giving it the grand feel that it probably deserves. Gargano’s wacky rage is a bit much for me at times, but this was worthwhile purely for Ciampa predicting that Brooklyn will be his ultimate moment I love it (maggle)!

Black’s injury is a shame but you can bet your house that this’ll still deliver in a big way, that’s just what these two do.

Finally, we get some footage of Bianca Belair training in recovery and oh by the way, Pete Dunne defends his UK Title against Zack Gibson next week. Let’s get to it!

Tyler Bate vs. Roderick Strong

Main event time pal and both men are accompanied by their tag partners as we get started. Right away, Roddy ran into a big boot and a massive strike exchange broke out immediately. Bate took an early advantage but an O’Reilly distraction soon halted that, and a backbreaker turned the tide for good. Roddy was well and truly on top now, assaulting Bate with a level of venom and velocity that only he’s capable of, this even included punches to the spine. All hail.

More backbreaking greatness came next until Strong applied a hold (wrenching it throughout of course). Bate came back with some headbutts but couldn'

t regain momentum, with Roddy landing another violent chop to keep a grip on things. However, Bate was able to block Roddy’s superplex attempt and he took advantage too, landing a diving European uppercut before another exchange of strikes took place. Bate won again, unleashing some delightful punches, and then keeping on top with an exploder as well as a standing shooting star press.

The airplane spin was unavailable though, with Bate’s back failing him. This was of course brilliant because it’s the greatest psychology touch in all of rasslin. FACT. Bate stayed on top regardless, landing a suplex after scoring a quick counter. They continued to go back and forth afterwards, with strike sequences coming from both sides until Roddy came out on top. Another backbreaker came next but Bate reversed End of Heartache and flurried big, eventually hitting a big dive to the floor.

As the action approached its climax, Seven prevented O’Reilly from interfering and distracted Roddy in the process. After wiping Trent out, Roddy returned his focus to Bate but was nailed by some big strikes and then swiftly put away by the Tyler Driver 97. This was an incredibly enjoyable main event, with crisp work and physicality throughout. Bate is a great wrestler and Roddy remains one of earth’s finest properties. Strong match pal (that was an intended pun, yes).

Oh, I’m grading this TakeOver Style by the way, all hail.

Grade: A

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’d say this was a rather effective go-home show for NXT. This week featured a couple strong video packages, some character development and even a standout match to build interest in Saturday’s tag title match. It really ticked all the boxes but in the same way, probably only featured one thing (the main event) truly worth watching for the busier rasslin fan. Then again, if you’re reading this, how busy can you really be? In fact, if you come to this before watching the show, I’m not really sure that I deserve your readership in the first place.

I’m thankful for it either way though and for those insane enough to care, I’d say this was a good show that lacked the truly great content to make it anything more than that. See you all on Saturday pal, in Brooklyn….I won’t be there of course but in spirit, I’ll be in the main event. Have fun.

Grade: B+

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