Thadd’s NXT Review

So your boy Five Star Showtime has a cold and is trying to deliver pizza. Thadd watched NXT tonight and here are his thoughts.

Small time feel with Big money production. This is NXT. There are so many reasons why they are the real deal. Unlike the main roster which is a roster overflowing with talent and littered with nonsense gimmick ppv’s, NXT only has 4 a year. It makes the stakes so much higher for each match. Win or wait six months to get redemption. I love the legitimate enthusiasm from Mauro Ranallo combined with the in ring play by play knowledge of Nigel McGuiness. Those two together are gold. Pure gold. So here we go, here is my review of NXT Takeover Phoenix.

Well lets get this started

Undisputed Era (c) vs War Raiders for the Tag Titles:
War raiders come out looking like Norse Gods. I got chills. UE is hoping to “shock the system” tonight in what would have to be considered an upset. I have to imagine that if UE loses tonight they’re going up to the main roster as the rumor mill is saying that the tag division is getting a push.

Hanson and Rowe came out early with their own innovative offense of using one man to inflict damage on the other. Pretty cool acutally. Some back and forths you’d expect with a striking team like UE but the power of Hanson and Rowe was just way too much for UE to handle. The cool spots here were the end of the match. Hanson cartwheels out of O’Riely and Strong’s high-low and then hits a SPRINGBOARD BACK ELBOW. Yes, you read that correclty. Followed by the backdrop/legdrop combo and 1-2-3

Winners and New NXT Tag Champions, The War Raiders

Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno:
The only match on the card with no gold on the line. Here we go Broooooo. The rumor I heard is Riddle doesn’t lift. If so thats insane. His physique would say otherwise. Now, Ohno, I can believe.

A lot of strikes in this one. As to be expected. The match went exactly as expected. Ohno getting the majority of the shots with Riddle hitting a big one every now and then to stay in the match. The big moment was at the end. Riddle hits a huge high kick and Ohno while on his knees holds out his fist for a fist bump. Riddle audibly says “Hell No” and knees him hard in the face. Followed by a sleeper suplex. Then while about to hook up the Bromission just starts elbowing the ever living crap out of Ohno and he’s forced to tap.

Winner, Matt Riddle, Bro.

Ricochet (c) vs Johnny Gargano for the North American Championship:
Ricochet has earned his nickname. He is literally the marvel superhero. The things he does in the ring is just stupid crazy and super innovative. Gargano is extremely technical so we knew this was gonna be good.

About everything you would expect. Some just stupid spots. Gargano looked for a top rope frankensteiner and Ricochet literally landed on his feet. Yes, on his feet. Gargano stayed technical for the most part while Ricochet had the big spots usually reversing Gargano’s attempts. You had his amazing tope con hero over the turnbuckle to the outside. My favorite spot was when Gargano looked for a springboard back elbow and Ricochet caught a Gargano escape. I thought he was going to tap. Insane. The finish just shows how far Johnny Wrestling has changed when he pulled the mat up on the outside to expose the concrete much like Ciampa did in their match early last year (more on that later). Brainbuster to the concrete then before he finished he looked Ricochet in the face and said “Its Over” and hit a slingshot DDT. 1-2-3.

Winner and new North American Champion, Johnny Gargano aka Johnny Badass.

Shayna Bazler (c) vs Bianca Belair for the NXT women’s Championship:

Gotta admit, Im not a huge Bazler fan and I’m not exactly sure what the EST of NXT actually means. Sorry all. But I digress,

Bazler did what Bazler does and was agressive and loud. Belair hung in there til the end and powered out of a lot of things but in the end they pulled the ole WWE classic ‘heel pushes the face into the ref and hits their finisher but the ref is nowhere available to get the count’. Belair stands up while in the carabuta clutch but couldn’t twice.

Winner and still NXT women’s Champion Shayna Bazler

Tomasso Ciampa (c) vs Aleister Black for the NXT Championship:

I’m excited for this one. The insane, crazy, randomness of Ciampa vs the precise, calculated strikes of Black. Side note, so he’s engaged to Zelena Vega in real life. Random right?

Well I was wrong. Ciampa was methodical the entire match. Targeting his knee the entire match. Some pretty cool spots like Ciampa hitting a tower of London on the apron and after Ciampa pulled the mat on the outside to expose the concrete (sound familiar?) Black hit a double knee dive on the exposed concrete. Rolls him back in the ring and black mass. Black’s black mass is the cleanest strike in all of pro wrestling, fight me. Ciampa hits his fairytale ending and black kicks out. Hits a draping ddt then another fairytale ending and lifts him up for a third when Black pulls away and spins for another black mass but mid spin his knee gives out and boom, fairytale ending and 1-2-3.

Winner and STILL NXT Champion, Tomasso Ciampa

Cover photo via sporting news