I’m not sure why NXT is essentially the hand-me-down brand.
Everything that used to be a wrestling thing that is no longer a wrestling thing somehow gets given to NXT to become their wrestling thing. In Your House, Halloween Havoc, Great American Bash… these used to be real WWF/WCW pay-per-views of the 1990’s. But they’ve all be discontinued and someone decided that NXT gets to patch them up and try them on to see how they fit.
It’s weird, But I guess it makes sense. I can’t imagine many of the people who watch wrestling nowadays are under the age of 30 to begin with. When you get outside main roster WWE, like NXT, they certainly have a more voracious fanbase of people who grew up on wrestling and have been fans for ages. So what better way to cater to those fans than by reminding them of their youth?
“In Your House? Wrestling used to be in MY house! There Mind Games and Dogs to Beware of and Good Friends who were Better Enemies! Sunny and Todd Pettengill gave away a house! I wonder what happened to those people…”, and then 100,000 folks simultaneously Google “What happened people who won house WWE” or whatever.
(I bet you are doing it right now)
((I did, anyway. There is a WWE.Com article interview with the winner that is the first result))
With all of the main roster thematic cast-offs that the black and gold brand gets, we are two years away from NXT Takeover Great Balls of Fire, guys.
(Why do I keep bringing that up these days?)
Anyway, NXT In Your House is a good way to round out a weekend that saw me go to the movie theater for the first time in ages! 90’s pay-per-views! The cinema! So this is a whole week of blasts from the past! If only there was something equally antiquated happening on the show tonight. But nah, you already have a throwback pay-per-view title. Why would this show have anything else–
OH MY! Take all my nostalgia dollars, WWE!
Match 1: Winners Take All 6 Man Tag
I hate to say this match disappointed me, but I REALLY wanted Legado to win. Wilde and Mendoza have just gotten better and better since they joined with Santos, and Santos himself has been nothing short of dynamite. I love that threesome, and I wish Wilde and Mendoza would get rewarded for their work. There’s nothing wrong at all with MSK and Reed, but Legado should have it all.
Unideal result aside, this match was what wrestling would look like after ten cups of coffee. Both teams zipped about like they were in fast forward. I had a lot of fun watching this! WWE and NXT just typically gives us such fantastic openers; I’m not sure match-quality-wise that anything will top this. Maybe the main event…
Match 2: Xia Li vs Mercedes Martinez
I’m going to go ahead and call Xia’s finisher kick Trouble In Shangri-La. Is that okay?
This was another really good match to start the show, and honestly… I hadn’t had high hopes for this one going in. But Xia is really killing this new character of hers. She has gone from a nondescript jobber to the stars to someone who really has it put together. Good for her!
Mercedes Martinez is kind of in the Toni Storm NXT holding pattern of being someone who can eat losses for whomever they are building up at the moment. Kind of unfortunate for her (and Toni), but she can still be counted on to entertain. Maybe Toni and Martinez can form a team and rejuvenate their careers that way, the same way Shotzi and Ember did a few months back.
Match 3: Million Dollar Championship Ladder Match
LA Knight was the only sensible winner here, and I say that as someone who has unabashedly loved Cameron Grimes for the last year. But the Million Dollar Championship is essentially a heel status piece, and this feud turned Grimes good.
The match quality dipped here because of course it did, but there was no lack of good spots along the way. The neck breaker onto the sideways ladder was particularly sick. But you don’t watch LA Knight matches for their star ratings; you watch for his old school character work.
Poor Grimes never wins a feud, though, does he? He may still end up getting the best of Knight yet, but it feels like this is his spot for the time being.
Match 4: NXT Women’s Championship
Man, even I forget how many people there are in NXT that I am a huge mark for. We had Legado Del Fantasma to start, then Xia Li (who I’m getting there on due to this bizarre story they’ve given her; I love silly gimmicks!). After that was Cameron Grimes, and now? Ember Moon. I friggin’ love Ember. For a while, she was my favorite woman in WWE.
This was another high caliber match, and maybe Ember’s best singles affair since her return to NXT. She was in no danger whatsoever of actually winning the title, but they booked her strong as hell, and Raquel only won due to Dakota Kai. I hope they continue this feud on TV because they had great chemistry.
I am 1-3 in who I am cheering for tonight! NXT is not trying to send me home happy.
Wait, I’m already at home. I am, literally, In My House.
Match 5: NXT Title Fatal 5-Way
Okay, this was pretty spectacular. Five incredibly talented guys just going berserk on each other. And man, Karrion Kross post-injury is far, far better than he was before it. I’m getting all of the way on board his train lately; Back before he hd to abdicate the trap, I’d never consider that I’d soon be crediting him as an incredibly talented guy.
This was an advanced class of Booking A Monster tonight. He looked great; everyone looked great fighting him. Is this my Match of the Year so far? I’d have to review the last six months, but I kind of loved this while it was going on. There were just so many spots that filled me with glee.
If I had a complaint? It takes me back to what I said on Twitter earlier this week:
I’m so tired of choke-out finishers. Out of the three main champions, we have two guys using an MMA choke as a finisher, and the third guy using a Full Nelson which has the exact same effect of “make the referee tap your arm and determine you are dead”.
Is this just me? It’s just me, isn’t it? But man, hugs are boring. Throwing people at the ground with force, that’s fun!
(Speaking of users of boring choke outs…!)
No Samoa Joe return, and that leaves us in this spot of… who the hell challenges Kross next? He has taken down EVERYONE. Who is left? Bronson Reed, maybe, but he seems preoccupied with his own belt. Dexter Lumis is too busy in a romance angle. We could still conceivably get Balor to go back to the Demon, but… that feels unlikely.
Anyway: no surprise return, but we did get an odd post-match segment where Sad William Regal implied he might be stepping down as NXT General Manager because the angry people kept brawling throughout the night.
Overall, we had two definitively stellar bouts in the opener and the main event. There was a third battle that was damn good–Ember vs Raquel–and the other two matches were both perfectly fine and furthered character stories. I feel like “Stew Writes A Glowing NXT Review” is up there with “Dog Bites Man”, but hey… don’t blame me. They do good work!
Until next time… take care!