Greg DeMarco weighs in on the 12/19/18 edition of WWE NXT, featuring a steel cage match between Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano!
In the 12/18/18 Daily DeMarco, I told you that Aleister Black needs to win the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble. And I stand by that statement.
Bob here didn’t agree:
“This is the dumbest thing I’ve read all day”
Evoking emotion…that tells me I am doing something right! There’s plenty more where that came from, so keep the comments coming!
This week’s edition of WWE NXT featured a Steel Cage Match and more–I’ll have my overall thoughts right after you get your star ratings (because this is a wrestling website, there must be star ratings!).
12/19/18 WWE NXT – Results & Ratings
- Io Shirai & Dakota Kai over Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke in 4:43 when Shirai pinned Shafir – **1/2
Match was better than I thought it would be. Duke and Shafir looked way more credible than their experience would have you believe. I was skeptical, and now I am a believer. I would love to see this again with more time.
- Dominick Dijakovic pinned Aaron Mackey in 1:48 with Feast Your Eyes – NR
No reason to rate this squash match, but goddamm this was one of the best squashes I’ve seen in a long time. Dijakovic is a completely different performer than the last time I saw him. NXT has turned him into a power wrestler, and it’s working. He’s 6’7”, added more size, and has one hell of a future.
- Heavy Machinery beat Blake Howell & Danny D’Accardo in 2:39 – NR
This match was more about the Undisputed Era watching from the stage than anything else. It did what it needed to do, and as a guy who doesn’t love Heavy Machinery, I didn’t mind this match.
- Johnny Gargano pinned Aleister Black (with an assist from Tommaso Ciampa) at 17:58 of a Steel Cage Match – ****
Aleister Black is a main roster superstar in waiting. I am telling you—have him win the 2019 Royal Rumble and you have a ratings draw by April. The opening 2.5 minutes on the floor are not part of the listed time, but they are part of the rating because they were entertaining. The only drawback to this match for me was the stipulation of being able to leave the cage. This match wasn’t created because someone was running from someone—so seeing anyone try to escape the cage just didn’t make sense. Everything else? Brilliant. This match belonged on a Takeover, or a main roster PPV. Great work, great storytelling, great crowd. This had it all. Don’t sleep on this match.
I really enjoyed this show. Shirai and Kai made a good team, and Duke and Shafir surprised me. A lot. There’s something there with them, and their trio with Shayna Baszler can really accomplish some things. Duke “gets it,” and might have the brightest future out of the three.
Domnik Dijakovic is a completely different wrestler now–and he’s a star. Seriously, he needs to be built to a match at Takeover: Phoenix, because he can be 2019’s breakout star for NXT.
Black and Gargano delivered in a big way, especially for a TV match. Including the opening brawl, we got over 20 minutes of action, coupled with some great storytelling from the DIY guys. It’s a busy time of the year, but find the time to watch this match.
The Good, Bad, and Ugly is Bobby’s thing, but if I followed that format here, this show would definitely be GOOD.
Good Reads On The Chairshot
- Per Eric’s Raw YouTube Report, the McMahon’s still draw.
- Andrew gives you snowflakes for Raw & Smackdown now!
- What did Bobby think of Smackdown?
- Valentin drops some New Japan Tag Team knowledge on you.
Lots of good stuff happening at The Chairshot–and you can be part of it! Thanks for reading the 5th Daily DeMarco, here’s to many more….
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (3/18/19)
Who delivered the biggest performances of the night on Raw?
Greg DeMarco brings the Three Stars of The Night back with the March 18 episode of WWE Raw from Chicago!
Raw was live from Chicago, on the Road To WrestleMania, and it seemed like the perfect night to revive the Three Stars! I mean, it’s a mega city for the company and a very important Raw. I figured the entire roster would step up in a huge way. I was wrong…
But we did get a packed WWE Raw, including Kurt Angle’s opponent being revealed as Baron Corbin, Beth Phoenix officially returning to the ring, and the heat being turned to 11 on Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins. Now, it’s Three Stars time…shall we?
The Third Star: Leo Rush
I know people find Lio Rush annoying, and it means he’s doing his job. In reality, he delivers in a big way on a weekly basis, making Bobby Lashley more relevant and usually putting in a great in-ring performance. This week was no different, especially when he was selling for Braun Strowman. Bobby Lashley also let it happen to Lio Rush, which is another way Lio delivered–letting Lashley’s character develop even further. Hate on Lio Rush if you must, but he continues to enhance Bobby Lashley’s entire act on a weekly basis.
The Second Star: Elias
Few people have a better grasp on their character than Elias (Alexa Bliss being one of them), and he’s gotten it to a point where it’s effortless. To me, that means we may see a big push coming for him after WrestleMania. In this segment he delivered a strong promo, interacted brilliantly with Alexa, got the desired reactions out of the crowd, and perfectly foreshadowed a WrestleMania interruption that very well might be John Cena. Count me in as walking with Elias.
Honorable Mention: Paul Heyman, Alexa Bliss, Ronda Rousey, and Sasha Banks
And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!
The First Star: Seth Rollins
If there was any question who has taken up the mantle of leading WWE Raw, it should be answered now. Seth Rollins delivered in a big way on Raw. Last year he carried things as Intercontinental Champion, and I think he’s more than ready to be the Universal Champion. I look forward to seeing his run, with opponents like Drew McIntyre waiting in the wings after WrestleMania.
But can I put in for a Rollins vs. Batista program post-WrestleMania? Please? Nothing would make me happier than seeing Big Dave put Seth over before heading back to Hollywood.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
Greg DeMarco’s WWE NXT Star Ratings & Review (3/13/19 edition)
Two great matches, and three great storyline developments. That’s good TV!
Greg DeMarco takes you inside a blockbuster edition of WWE NXT as we have the semifinals of the Dusty Classic and more!
We have quite the edition of WWE NXT here, with three major matches and almost no filler! NXT sometimes finds themselves in a rush to get to Takeover, but in this case I’ll take it.
Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler, with Jaxson Ryker) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) – ***1/4
- Moustache Mountain have to be two of the most likable wrestlers on any WWE brand. You can legitimately imagine hanging out with them at a bar (where they will drink you under the table).
- This tournament is tailor made for The Forgotten Sons, who could be huge with a win. Granted, the same can be said for The Street Profits and Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner–all who lost in the opening round.
- Ryker putting Blake’s foot on the rope to break up a pinfall is so old school–I love it.
- Still wonder why this can’t be Blake & Murphy on the main roster.
- Led by some heel shenanigans, The Forgotten Sons win and head to the finals.
#1 Contender’s Match: Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair – ***
- Side note: Shayna Baszler on commentary is fantastic. “One’s a nobody from Japan, and the other I’ve already beaten.”
- Shirai and Belair, along with Kairi Sane and Mia Yim, are revitalizing and basically reloading the NXT Women’s Division.
- Belair is a great example of a “fighter,” a WWE character who isn’t a face nor a heel, and it works. Shirai, of course, is a mega-babyface. I don’t need to tell you Baszler is a heel…and one of the best in the business.
- Great match was going before Baszler got involved, bringing Kairi Sane out as well. It all made sense, and I am fine with it.
Side Note: I kinda love Dominik Dijakovic trying to fight Keith Lee in a Performance Center ring. When you want to fight someone–when it’s become personal–it doesn’t matter where. Nice touch.
Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: Black Flash (Aleister Black & Ricochet) vs. #DIY (NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) – ****
- DIY wearing matching tights, and having a new Titan Tron video is such a great touch.
- Ciampa clutching Goldie while looking at Gargano, who “knows what he’s doing” is a level if deep subtlety that you just don’t see anymore. That’s Ole Anderson level shit.
- I do need to point out that this is typical for WWE tag teams, meeting the requirements of Patrick O’Dowd’s Vicious Cycle Of WWE Tag Team Booking.
- It wasn’t that long ago in WWE where this would have been the obvious TV main event two weeks before Takeover Phoenix.
- Ricochet looking at Aleister Black as to make sure it’s okay that he’s sitting next to him in the ring? Another great touch.
- Tommaso Ciampa applies the best chinlock in WWE today. Yes, this is a real thing. Randy Orton would be proud.
- Actually, Ciampa has stolen a good bit of his act from Randy Orton. Don’t @ me.
- Gargano gets hurt, and Ciampa has to go it alone. This, of course, is a throwback to Takeover: Chicago, when Ciampa got hurt…and we all know what happened there! (Ciampa turned on Gargano.) It’s coming.
- It took two finishers after a 2-on-1 advantage to pin the NXT Champion. That’s how it should be.
- Black Flash wins, and they’ll face The Forgotten Sons in the finals. If you know anything about WWE booking, you know this ends up. #SaveTagTeamWrestling
- The post-match developments with Gargano and Ciampa were nothing short of brilliant. I am not mad that Ciampa ended up hurt, at least in terms of the storyline. I’d give the show ending segment five stars, easy. A small detail is Ciampa tossing the NXT Championship–something he’s obsessed with–aside for it, showing that he has one obsession bigger than Goldie. Gargano’s smile when he stopped Ciampa’s turn–brilliant.
- The whole thing–brilliant.
I know we don’t get Gargano vs. Ciampa at Takeover: New York, and I am okay with that. They can revisit this down the road on the main roster. For now, I see it as a satisfying ending.