Another week, another Report Card and I have to begin this edition by thanking my close, personal friend and fellow booking committee member Road Dogg Jesse James as without him I’d have nothing to discuss in the intro today. As we all know I usually just reference Arn Anderson or Alexa Bliss in this situation but that isn’t necessary this week as the whole wrestling is buzzing about Kevin Owens’ attempted murder on Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Let’s be honest guys, it was incredible and I for one cannot wait for the eventual KO-Adam Pearce blow-off match. In regards to NXT it’s got me thinking though.
It was really only two years ago that Kevin was still a “NXT superstar” and I’m now starting to consider who could be shoot headbutting Mr McMahon in two years’ time. So I open the discussion up to you guys, what names are we thinking? I personally like the idea of Vince taking one of those cool spin kick gimmicks that Aleister Black throws or maybe even Heavy Machinery’s awesome squash finisher. I guess what I’m saying is that in Vince we’ve found the perfect guy to get these young guys over and I admire him taking up the carpenter role at this point in his life. Best for business as the kids say.
I have no idea what’s happening on NXT this week so let’s hope it’s either incredible or preposterously bad for the sake of this article’s entertainment level. It’s going to need all the help it can get.
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.
We get started here with the previously advertised match between the Iconic Duo and Ruby Riot and a partner of her choice…I think. It’s just Ruby here early though and the heels quickly got control but as I’ve discussed before, I often find both Billie and Peyton a little half-hearted in this portion of matches and that was no different here. Nikki Cross then appeared looking mischievous but the duo continued to beat up Ruby including Peyton applying that cool rope submission thingy. However, Billie then hit the discus forearm on Peyton and Nikki tagged herself in.
Cross ran wild and hit her finish before tagging in Ruby who hit the top rope senton for the win. This was very short and nothing really new for the Iconic Duo who have seemed stagnant for quite some time as far as positioning on NXT.
Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross
As I’ve already said this was a pretty short match and I don’t have too much more to say but one thing I would note is that I appreciated Riot’s serious body language when walking to the ring. It wasn't too dissimilar to her normal entrance but facially she seemed to be selling the situation she was in and I always appreciate that kind of thing. Riot sold early but none of it was drastic enough to really discuss much before Nikki’s eventual tag. Her big hot tag wasn't exactly spectacular but it fit her chaotic character and the people loved it so that was obviously good. This was more of a character/story piece than an actual match but it was still good fun nonetheless.
It’s now time for one of those random press conference clips as Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss talked smack to Johnny Gargano. Their match is…UP NEXT!!!
No Way Jose
Our mate Jose is here for a backstage interview and I’m very excited. He’s talking about LARS and his loose screw before officially challenging him to a match next week. This guy rules and I’m going to make the announcement now. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m opening a booking office and building the territory around No Way Jose as my top babyface. It’s going to be incredible.
Grade: B+ (Booking Office Opened)
Time for the marquee match now as Johnny Wrestling FINALLY takes on Mr. Moss. Gargano outwrestled him early due to his nickname but then mostly sold and played the physical underdog which was obviously a good look for the still new Moss. This also, of course, played into the story of Johnny’s single match struggles as he really put over Riddick’s offense. He then fired back with some strikes, made his comeback and eventually put on the Gargano Escape but Riddick simply made it to the bottom rope and Johnny was now shook like a Sasha Banks stan before a women’s title defense.
Johnny may have oversold his shock a little for me here but I like the idea anyway and I’d rather someone overdo it then undersell it. Now befuddled, Johnny began to sell again but got the win anyway, hitting the slingshot spear.
I’m unsure of when else I’ve covered Riddick but I know that he was on the Brighton show that I famously attended so I’m certainly at least somewhat familiar with him. He obviously has a tremendous physique and did some solid power stuff early. Moss moved pretty well too, even if he wasn't exactly exuding charisma. I did appreciate that there was a genuine viciousness to some of his stuff though, including some nice punches in the corner. This is a very good sign in my eyes. There wasn't a ton of innovation or creativity in his stuff whilst in control but he also wasn't really the focus here either so I don’t blame him for that. Solid showing for the big lad.
Another showcase for Dawkins and Ford up now as they take on the Ealy Brothers. This was more of the same awesomeness honestly but with some new tandem offense and a tremendous spot based purely on Dawkins’ headband being removed. Nigel McGuiness also made me genuinely laugh out loud with his befuddled pondering of “how old are they?” in response to the Profits’ ‘secret’ handshake. They cut Montez off and got a brief heat on him before he tagged Dawkins in and the big man ran wild on both brothers leading to Ford’s frog splash finish.
They then ran into the crowd as Full Sail went wild like me watching a War Games match from 1987. This act has been really fun thus far and I look forward to the next step of their progression in NXT.
A video celebrating Asuka was shown next and it was unsurprisingly very well produced. I delved into this more last week but to sum it up, yes Asuka was and is very good at the wrestling. Following this, Regal said that he’s yet to decide what will be happening with the NXT Women’s Title.
After a short Wolfgang promo, we move to the main event, a UK Title match between the Scotsman and champion Pete Dunne. Wolfgang sold Dunne’s technical offense early before turning it around for some success of his own in that area. He was unable to maintain control for too long early though as the champion continued to cut him off but that big rugby tackle gimmick came into play again which I obviously loved as a fellow manly man of men. Wolfgang then hit a big dive that likely has a cool name I’m unaware of and even a moonsault for a false finish.
A big superplex, a recent Report Card favorite, soon followed but Wolfgang’s Senton Bomb didn't come off as he was instead caught in an armbar that was then transitioned into a triangle choke. Wolfgang powered out of it and the pair traded big strikes until Dunne hit his finish for the win. A really good showing for Wolfgang who is fun to watch bell to bell even if I’ve yet to really connect with his character so far.
The bloke that wears the belt no one really understands is a very good professional wrestler and that showed itself again in this match, even if in less spectacular fashion than has previously been the case. He got straight into his usual trademark stuff here as he isolated the challenger’s arm and fingers in violent fashion as usual. He paid homage to Nikki and Alexa with a big forearm not once but twice which made me very happy as a proud Englishman that had his hand rested on his heart whilst watching the UK champion.
I liked how often he went to the arm and hand early to gain control, focusing on it and even putting on a neat double wristlock at one point. However, I do wish that it would’ve played a bigger part in the finish. Then again, it may have played a major part in it that I just missed due to my own ignorance. Nonetheless, Pete sold Wolfgang’s offense really nicely and elevated him by the way he presented the final minutes of this match. My countryman and I are delighted to have this vile man representing us. Tremendous.
Oh my goodness, THE UNDISPUTED ERA are (is?) here! Dunne begs off briefly before elbowing O’Reilly in the face but the trio puts the boots to him until Wolfgang tries to help fight them off. Dunne doesn't return the favor though and just leaves him to get beaten up. They do just that and this hysterically named group departs before Trent Seven and Tyler Bate finally arrive. A pretty fun angle to go off the air and I think I like where this is going.
Whilst I enjoyed the main event of this week’s episode, overall this show didn't do a ton for me to be honest. It was solid and developed some stuff as intended but I’d be lying if I claimed that anything on here was ‘must-see’ or truly standout. That’s fine too, NXT is a wrestling product without the pressure of RAW or SmackDown and that allows them to drag their stories out and tell them in whatever fashion they feel is best suited. There really isn’t much of an incentive to rush any of it and that shows at times. Still some fun stuff on here as usual though of course.
Please comment your thoughts below or just tweet me abuse like many others already do @JoeHulbert5 on Twitter. Until next time folks.