Greg DeMarco rates this week’s WWE Network shows, and they deliver in a very consistent way!
Three shows. One week. I was a busy man this week with the new job and the birthday, but I finally got the rest of NXT hammered out! I hope you enjoy the ratings as much as I enjoyed the shows because they delivered in all three this week.
WWE 205 Live
Lince Dorado vs. Jack Gallagher – ***1/4
Underrated match here. Great mix if styles and both men had a chance to shine. Loved the finish. Don’t sleep on this one. I like that the match was left open-ended. I feel like we’ll see Gulak/Gallagher/Humberto Carrillo vs. Lucha House Party, and I’m not upset by that.
No Disqualification – Noam Dar vs. Tony Nese – ****
I’ve been wondering out lout about who steps up to challenge Buddy Murphy at WrestleMania. Now, the answer is really simple. That challenger should be Noam Dar. Hell of a match here, both men kicked each other’s ass, but told a story while doing it. I’ve never been the biggest Tony Nese fan (in WWE, I loved him on the independents), but he delivered every bit as much as Noam Dar. This could have sold a crowd on a main roster show.
WWE NXT UK
Noam Dar vs. Jordan Devlin – ***3/4
One hell of a match between Dar and Devlin. From a televised perspective, Noam Dar low key had a hell of a week. I won’t get off of my Dar vs. Murphy idea anytime soon, and Jordan Devlin would be a fantastic addition to 205 Live. The Travis Banks involvement didn’t hurt it for me, as that story is a big part of 205 Live. Plus it keeps Devlin strong in the loss.
Jinny vs. Mia Yim – ***1/4
I enjoyed this way more than expected, since Jinny is in it. The match built from the start, kicking it up another notch in the middle and finding a third gear in the end. Can Jinny win me over? The jury is still out on that, but I highly recommend this match.
WWE UK Championship Match: Pete Dunne vs. Wolfgang – ***1/2
Gallus is a vastly underrated heel stable. Dunne should be in NXT Takeover main events with Tommaso Ciampa. I would love to see that match at Takeover: New York. This match delivered, yet another in a great week.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Shane Thorne – ***
Good match that, for me, did way more for Shane Thorne. Don’t sleep on Thorne, he deserves a chance. As for Dijakovic, it’s gotten to the point of repetition. Give this man something more to do.
Side Note: Interesting that they basically declared that Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly were a tag team again, and Strong and Cole were going after singles gold. Could Undisputed Era hold all the (men’s) gold at some point this year? I’d be shocked if that happened.
Side-Side Note: Kassius Ohno, who I love, still looks like a fat dude wrestling in his pajamas.
The Street Profits vs. Humberto Carrillo & Stacey Ervin Jr – ***1/4
This match, for me, might end up being viewed as the night The Street Profits “got it.” They turned up the intensity in all aspects, from character to ring work, and it really enhanced the match. Carrillo is also a star in waiting, and Ervin shows some promise as well. This was really good.
Taynara Conti vs. Aaliyah – **3/4
Aaliyah being paired with Vanessa Bourne is…odd. But for me, this is the best Aaliyah has ever looked in the ring. Props to WWE for being patient. Conti is a missed opportunity. When she helped Undisputed Era (that one time lol) she should have become a member. That would have done wonders for her, and given them yet another wrinkle. Outside of the post-match attack, this felt like an NXT Florida house show loop match (which it probably has been in the past).
Ricochet vs. Adam Cole – ***3/4
If you know me, you know my Adam Cole man-crush runs deep, BAY BAY. So I am obligated to tell you that the wrong guy won here. But if I set that love aside, it makes total sense for Ricochet to win while Undisputed Era stands tall at the end. It was all set up during the earlier promo.
That said, both men delivered another Takeover quality performance in this match.
The WWE Network shows (205 Live, NXT UK, and WWE NXT) had a total of 9 matches this week. One of them had 4 stars, one was below 3, meaning we still had seven other matches in the 3 star range. This was an entertaining three hours of content, and one of the most consistent weeks I have ever seen. Good on the fine folks on all three WWE Network brands, both on and backstage.
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.
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