I'm back, baby! I was on vacation, traveling all over this great land, and I discovered the one thing that truly brings us all together:
Didn't NOBODY like that Bayley/Bliss match.
Anyhoo, we got a pretty solid episode of NXT to get to, but real quick, I want to point out that we have switched theme songs while I was gone. This is good, because the previous song was absolute trash, and apparently just a placeholder. This is also weirdly bad, because while the new song is definitely a better song, it is somehow a worse theme. Like, it's just not suited to opening a TV show.
Past the new opener, we've got Heavy Machinery! These guys are fun, everybody likes these guys. They're mashing Some Jobbers up...hey, it's that ogre-lookin' fella from a few weeks ago! Hey, Ogre! Or Lars Sullivan, if you want his actual name. His tag partner doesn't matter, because we all know the drill. Lars does great, tags in his partner, Heavy Machinery hit all their big moves and finish with the Compactor. Match Rating: Wait For It. After the match, Lars is pretty pissed, and delivers our requisite whoopin'. Third time's the charm, Lars.
Oh shit, Roddy's gonna talk at us. It takes forever and a day, brother, but eventually, he gets it out that he wants a shot at Roode. This brings Roode out, natch, and he absolutely tears into Strong. He tells him he hasn't earned a title shot (true), calls him a good hand (true), and tells him to stay in his lane so he might one day get to take a photo with the champ for his son (unverified).
Man, if Roode and Strong were one guy, that guy'd be great.
Nikki Cross is up on the roof, being incredibly pissed at Ruby Riot. Apparently, they're just going to redo the triple threat match next week. I'm okay with that.
We get an Authors of Pain vignette spotlighting the tag division. It's not, uh, real stacked these days.
In fact, our next match is Sarah Logan (Mary Dobson, remember?) against Peyton Royce, and it's at this exact moment that I realize Kay and Royce are the single best tag team in NXT. To be fair, they're a GREAT tag team, but you get my point. Anyhoo, Logan starts strong with a fireman's carry takeover into an armbar, but Royce counters with a roundhouse kick that just takes her head off. I actually figured the match was over at this point, but it only gets two. Royce goes into a beautiful STF (PAY ATTENTION CENA), then starts laying in snap suplexes. It's looks like a tre amigos, but after dos, she transitions into a Death Valley Driver! That gets a two count, and Logan nails a headbutt to take the advantage, following it up with a dropkick and some Dean Ambrose chop/punches. She nails a running knee strike that should be a finisher, but only gets a two count. Logan moves to throw some more hands, but Royce catches her and counters back with a strike combo, then puts this thing away with the Fisherman's suplex. Match Rating: Real Good, Y'all.
Next, we follow up on Andrade Almas. See, last week he got his ass pinned by Some Jobber. Most guys'd be pretty mad about that, but Almas decided to blow it off and go out partying. Instead, he and his entourage got confronted by Some Lady who was absolutely disgusted by what Almas has become, and slapped the taste right out of his mouth. Looks like this is starting to go somewhere.
Itami v. Lorcan is up next, and like a dope, I forgot something important. Itami blew up at Kassius Ohno after his loss to Bobby Roode, but later they showed the two of them out in the parking lot, burying the hatchet. Ah, good sportsmanship, the true tell of an impending heel turn. What makes me a dope is that I don't remember if that was on this episode, or if it was last week, and now it's important, and I don't have time to check, and you know what? Let's just get to the match. Whew. Itami opens the match with a HARD slap to Lorcan, followed by a serious clothesline. Okay, we're not holding back tonight. Lorcan comes right back with some punches, but Itami catches him off the ropes with a knee to the midsection, then follows that up with a second one that gets a two count. Itami lays in a shoot kick and sends Lorcan into the corner, but Lorcan comes back with a boot and a running blockbuster. Itami gets back up and nails a counter kick, then uses another kick to stun Lorcan while he goes up to the top turnbuckle for a clothesline. He wants to lay in some more of his patented striking offense, but Lorcan gets a quick rollup for two! They both know the match isn't going to end like that, though, so they opt for some straight NEVER openweight shit, just wailing on each other for a couple minutes, until Lorcan has enough and just grabs Itami by the face, chopping and slapping the shit out of him. He follows that with a running European uppercut, then follows that with a second one that sends Itami out of the ring. The crowd is loving this, and so am I! Lorcan goes all the way to the top turnbuckle(!) and launches himself onto Itami at ringside with a senton!! Lorcan can't be stopped! Wait, no, the ref just stopped him, because after Lorcan rolls Itami back in the ring, Itami waves the ref over, pantomiming a knee injury. Welp, it turns out that was a lie. Itami was playing possum, and just as soon as Lorcan drops his guard, he eats a couple kicks and some strikes, and then it's time to Go 2 Sleep. Itami's got this...wait, no, he wants another! Dang, and another! The ref needs to stop this, even the commentary team thinks so, but Itami wants a fourth, until Kassisus Ohno comes out. Man, mind your own biz, KO. Ohno tries to talk Itami down, but instead they wind up in a shoving match. Itami elects to bail, and the ref has to throw this one out. No contest. Match Rating: Non-Finish Aside, I Wish All Heel Turns Came At The End Of Matches This Good.
We catch up to Ember Moon backstage, as she's been cleared to compete. And apparently, cleared to cut Bayley promos, right down to the cadence of the words. Upshot - she still wants Asuka and the belt, but she needs to deal with the Aussie Mean Girl Squad first.
Our main event was Lorcan/Itami, yet nevertheless we still have No Way Jose vs. Killian Damo. That's my compromise, live with it. Damo's got his own, Irish pipes-tinged version of the SAnitY theme. He's out with Young and Wolfe, but they don't play a part for once. This match is alright, but after Lorcan/Itami, I'm inclined to cut to the chase. NWJ has a pretty good run, and his offense is notably better than the last time we saw him, but ultimately Damo's power offense gets the best of him. The Belfast Blitz gets two, and NWJ manages to counter back with some punches, and finally manages to hoist Damo up into a legit impressive TKO, but that also only gets two. Damo's had enough after this, hits a headbutt (they're in, these days), then a mule dropkick, and finally the Ulster Plantation ends this match. Match Rating: Like I Said, Alright.
That's it for this week. Good women's match, great match with Lorcan and Itami, some filler, and the promise that next week will be absolutely huge with that Triple Threat rematch. Don't miss it.
Itami and Lorkan slapped and punched the shit out of eachother. Awesome stuff. And the multiple GTS-es. Loved how stiff the first one looked (at least, I hope it justl ooked stiff) The 2nd and especially the 3rd were great because Lorkan wasn't even properly dropping anymore, he was just out of it. (Again, I hope it was just selling and not real) I like where this story is going. Itami vs Ohno could be a sick brawl. And give Lorkan a rematch too. The guy is good.
Almas'story also seems to be going somewhere. Finally.
Evil Vince is so far removed from nWo Bischoff that the comparison is moot, though. I think Vince becoming an on-air personality may have been motivated by Vince wanting to prove how much more awesome than Bischoff he was (which he absollutely was)