Okay guys, I'm going to start this one off with an announcement. I've been thinking on this one for a while, and I've decided that my NXT recaps will be coming to an end when we hit Takeover: Brooklyn. I've had a ton of fun doing these for the past...FOUR YEARS?! That can't be right! Holy shit, you guys, why didn't you stop me before this? Four years! Anyhoo, yes, four years, but actually the reason I'm putting an end to these has nothing to do with that. Odds and ends keep conspiring to make these things later and later every week, and I've got a new writing gig coming up (don't worry; nobody will be paying me for that one, either) that I think is probably going to kill any chance of me keeping these up with any regularity. So, it's been a blast, but to all things, an ending.
ON THE OTHER HAND. That's a month from now. We've got four more of these bad boys to go, and this week's show was pure dynamite. We start off hyping the women's #1 contender triple threat, and if you've got a memory better than a goldfish's, you might be asking yourself, "hey self, didn't this used to be a fatal fourway? Wasn't Bianca Belair in it?" And, self, you'd be right.
No time for explanations just yet, though, 'cause we've got business in the ring. Dakota Kai and Lacy Evans had words last week, so this week they're going to punch each other. Fundamentally, this is why I love professional wrestling. Evans starts off by taunting Kai, so Kai immediately grabs a rollup, and when that fails to get three, goes on the offensive. She nails a pair of armdrags and a dropkick, gets another two count with another rollup, then just kicks the shit out of her. She goes for the Around the World, but Evans dodges that one and ties her to the Tree of Woe. As an aside, I also love pro wrestling because Kevin Sullivan stole a line from the Conan the Barbarian movie, and that's been the name of that move for 20 years. Anyhoo, Evans goes to town, nailing a wrecking ball bronco buster and putting the boots to Kai. Kai comes back with kicks and an attempt at a rollup, but Evans comes right back with some nasty-looking punches. She hits an elbow drop and lays in a rest hold for a while, transitioning into a surfboard, then letting up in favor of a slingshot elbow drop for two. She wants the big moonsault now, and we all know that she's going to miss it, and she does. This lets Kai finally get back in with some kick-based offense, nailing a pair of Around the Worlds and a Broski boot for two. Evans counters back with a pumphandle bodyslam, though, and manages to get just enough distance on Kai that when Kai goes for an enzuigiri, she misses. That's all Evans needs to hit the Woman's Right. Match Rating: I Take It Back; The Pun Is Inarguably Great, But A Punch Still Isn't A Finisher.
Backstage, Ricochet doesn't think much of the Era, but at least he respects Strong and Riley as fighting champs. On the other hand, he thinks that Cole's been ducking him since the ladder match, and he wants a shot at that NA title.
Ah, it turns out that Belair isn't "medically cleared" for tonight, which almost certainly means that she's still on her honeymoon. Live it up, Bianca!
Speaking of, her new husband and his tag partner have gone back to their roots for some training. In fact, they've gone so far back to their roots that they missed the fact that TM61 are now called The Mighty, and continue to call them the wrong names for the remainder of this package.
We catch up with EC3, who's got a grudge against Velveteen Dream, obviously, and who loves gland-handing fans, obviously. In the middle of this, however, he runs into Kona Reeves, who thinks they could be "the finest of friends," but also Kona is a dick, and also, who on earth would ever want to be aligned with Kona Reeves, so it doesn't go great. As the conversation breaks down, EC3 just starts repeating "Fight me, fight me, fight me..." and it is amazing. I assume they'll be punching each other next week.
We get a package to set up Ciampa/Black for next week, a match that will definitely happen why do you ask.
Kassius Ohno is out to take on... Match Rating: Sorry, Some Jobber. Ooh, brutal. Good decision to try to remind us that KO is a thing and can do stuff.
The Undisputed Era realize that Nikki Cross has a match tonight, so they're on the scaffolding. They...do that thing they do. You know.
A very cool War (sigh) Raiders package is next. I honestly don't think that these guys are very good wrestlers, but the packaging is undeniably good, and I see why people like them. This is a good hype package for a team that could probably use it.
Next is a very good hype package for a guy that most certainly does not need it, Velveteen Dream. Go out of your way to catch this one. Trust me.
In fact, you don't even need to go out of your way, because it's right before this week's main event, and holy shit, you do not want to miss this. This is probably the best free NXT match in the last...year maybe? At the very least, since they did the fatal fourway that made Gargano #1 contender. Anyhoo, we've got Nikki Cross, Candice LeRae, and Kairi Sane, and before the bell rings, we also get Shayna Baszler out to oversee the festivities. Cross is busy doing her very best ECW Spike Dudley impression, but she comes to and gives Baszler a little wave when she comes out, and it's magical. Once the bell rings, we are off to the races. Everybody trades rollups to start, looking for a fast finish, but there's no chance of that happening. Everybody just kind of runs into everybody else for a while, and I'm going to have to skip a bunch of cool stuff because I can't keep up with it. Eventually, Candice gets tied to the Tree of Woe (there it is again!), but Cross, who did the tying, gets nailed with a big Interceptor from Sane, who heads up top to hit a double stomp to Candice. That sets up the Anchor, again probably the coolest submission move in WWE right now. Cross cuts her off to save the match, and the three of them spill outside. Candice nails Cross with an inverted DDT on the ramp, but turns around into a diving forearm off the apron from Sane. They pile back into the ring, and wind up in a Tower of Doom spot that Candice gets the best of. All three of them are throwing punches now, until Candice hits an enzuigiri on Cross. Unexpectedly, this proves to be an extremely bad idea, as it allows Sane to absolutely kill her with a backfist. But then Cross comes to and hits Sane with a headbutt. That gives Candice enough time to come back around, and she nails a combo DDT/Flatliner on both women, setting up for a beautiful Lionsault that gets a two count on Sane before Cross makes the save. Cross drags Candice to the floor and pops her with a draping neckbreaker, then a trio of devastating back suplexes for Sane. Cross goes for another draping neckbreaker in the ring, but LeRae's grabs the ankle to stop her, leaving Sane on the turnbuckle. Candice gets a rollup for two, and keeps going with with an Unprettier, then follows up with an even better Lionsault than the first one! THEN HOLY SHIT! Sane comes off the top with the Insane Elbow right to the small of Candice's back! It's like a lightning bolt, like a meteor strike, straight through both competitors! You're damn right that's three! Match Rating: I Could Literally Just Watch That Final Strike Again And Again For An Hour.
I definitely left out a bunch of stuff, and I might have marked some stuff wrong, but just let that be a reason to go watch this match yourself. Trust me, this is worth it. It'll be Sane vs. Baszler at Brooklyn, and my one big hope is that we finally see Sane sail to the ring on a giant pirate ship. Make it happen, Hunter!
You've been doing the Lord's work - thanks for sticking with it as long as you did. NOTHING filled me with more relief than knowing I had a "last" recap in sight so I'm hoping that's how you're feeling, too. :)
I'd say "bittersweet," because I really did like doing these, but it has been getting to be a bit too much on my plate, and it will be good to free up the time I spend on these. I'm also not going to miss trying to take notes during some of these multi-man free-for-alls they do.
As always, I appreciate the kind words, and I hope everybody else that's been reading these has more-or-less enjoyed them as well. Also, I'm hoping to do some kind of big deal last recap when we hit the go-home, so if anyone's got suggestions, speak now or forever hold your peace.
They have been great reviews over the years - thank you for the effort and time it would have taken. It was appreciated. Enjoy your new writing gig - do it as well as you did these and you will be fine! Thanks again.