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NXT’s TakeOver On Friday Night SmackDown

It took four long years but on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, fantasy became reality as NXT stormed onto the main roster and annihilated their competition and I loved every minute of it! 

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It took four long years but on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, fantasy became reality as NXT stormed onto the main roster and annihilated their competition and I loved every minute of it! 

For four years the WWE Universe has been asking the question when will the creator of NXT Triple H bring NXT to the main roster and wreak havoc? It’s always been considered a fantastic fantasy but never a true reality.

Dream matches such as Daniel Bryan vs. Johnny Gargano, The Undisputed Era vs. The Shield or The Club has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Well, on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown we got our answer and it was as EPIC as we’ve always dreamed it would be.

Brock Lesnar Quits Friday Night SmackDown: After a brilliant segment that took up enough time with Paul Heyman doing what Heyman does best. The walrus showed footage from Crown Jewel where “The Beast Incarnate” tapped out Cain Valesquez with the deadly Kimura Lock.

He claimed that because of Rey Mysterio’s vicious attack Lesnar wanted to get his hands on him but since he’s contractually obligated to SmackDown. We have a major problem okay let’s fix it!

(SmackDown Women’s Championship Match) Bayley vs. Nikki Cross

Bayley defended her SmackDown Women’s Championship against the number-one contender Nikki Cross. “WWE’s Twisted Sister” brought the fight to the champion coming out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Cross is always fascinating to watch because you never when she will turn up the volume of her chaotic and unpredictable wrestling style.

Tonight was no different, as Cross went for The Purge but “The Boss” Sasha Banks got involved breaking things up. Bayley went up to the top rope to deliver her signature Flying Elbow Drop but Cross kicked out at the last second. Cross answered back trapping the champion in between the ring apron and the cover pounding away at her. Banks finally struck and Cross was ripe for the picking for the new callous and vindictive Bayley to execute what I hope is her new finisher.

Takeaway: I liked this match it was one of Cross’s best showing since arriving on the blue brand. With her bestie Alexa Bliss nowhere to be seen, Cross chasing after the women’s title gives her something to do for the time being. Bayley once again is portraying a much more vicious side to her that we’ve never seen before. Bayley hit her new finisher spiking Cross’s head into the mat to give her the victory.

Moments later, the NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler appeared out of nowhere sending Banks right into the ring post before shifting her attention to Bayley. “The Queen of Spades” blasted the SmackDown Women’s Champion with a devastating knee strike followed by a gutwrench suplex and yet another decapitating stiff knee, knocking out Bayley cold.

Takeaway: Holy Shit was my reaction when I saw Baszler come out. I was surprised she came alone without the rest of The Horsewoman. The NXT Women’s Champion obliterated Bayley striking first and making her mark on a brand unfamiliar with the carnage she can cause.

In a backstage interview, we saw the loudmouth Sami Zayn interrupted by NXT’s Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. They chased Zayn into the ring. Zayn finally got shut up as “The King of Bros” hit the Bro Derek and “The Limitless One” hit a stunning second-rope Moonsault.

Takeaway: First I’m really thrilled that NXT is pairing Keith Lee and Matt Riddle up more they did on Wednesday and now tonight. Perhaps, they could be next in line to dethrone Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish? Thank God someone finally shut up Zayn! It was absolutely glorious to watch him getting beat up.

On what was supposed to be a monumental edition of MizTv with Bray Wyatt the new Universal Champion, WWE upped the ante with Tomasso Ciampa making the show truly must-see. “The Greatest Sports Entertainer Of All Time” tore into the A-LISTER throwing out shots he’s been hearing his whole career. The Miz essentially challenged the former NXT champion to a match.

Ciampa bulldozed through the must-see superstar drilling him with some stiff knee strikes. The A-LISTER grounded Ciampa locking in the Figure-four Leglock forcing the NXT star to apply enough pressure to make it to the rope for a break. Ciampa turned The Miz’s lights out with a wicked lariat and finished him off with the Fairy Take Ending.

Takeaway: The match was good, not great I didn’t really feel like Miz and Ciampa gelled well. Some of it was due to time restraints but both superstars have such polar opposite wrestling styles. It was a great sight to see Ciampa pick up a big victory here especially with TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series right around the corner.

Daniel Bryan/Triple H Confrontation: In the parking lot Bryan is questioning why HHH and Shawn Michaels are here? Bryan knows NXT is with him and challenges “The Cerebral Assassin” to a HUGE rematch from WrestleMania 30. Instead, HHH has other plans and calls the NXT Champion Adam Cole into the mix. The segment concludes with a colossal dream match announced for the main event with the NXT Championship on the line!

Takeaway: Bryan and HHH have such great chemistry together which is why their highly-intense personal vendetta had such an amazing payoff at Mania 30. There was a small tease of Bryan vs. Michaels but at this point, I don’t want to see that. Adam Cole is a freaking star he’s the most braggadocios superstar in WWE today.

Tegan Nox and Rhea Ripley vs. Fire and Desire 

Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille were set to battle Dana Brooke and Carmella but “The EST of NXT” Bianca Belair turned the night into a nightmare.

The women of NXT brought the level of intensity that is provided on Wednesday nights to Smackdown. Nox hurled Rose up and over the announce table and the Australian perfectly executed her Standing Modified Cloverleaf submission for the tap-out.

Takeaway: Quick, precise, and to the point. Fire and Desire had zero chance of survival against the women of NXT. SmackDown got a small appetizer of the brutality that Ripley brings to the table. This also gives the partners in the first-ever women’s WarGames match a little more edge and confidence going into the hellacious match.

(NXT Championship Match) Adam Cole vs. Daniel Bryan

Holy FREAKIN crap! As a huge fan of NXT for a long time now I was entranced by this fantastic five-star match. I may be wrong but it truly felt like Bryan cranked up the volume in his strikes and high-octane offense to the level of an NXT-esque match. His kicks appeared devastating and using some joint manipulation is something we don’t see from Bryan very often. The NXT Champion proved without a shadow of a doubt that he was the star in this match.

 

When Bryan couldn’t put Cole away with every move in his arsenal, he began stomping him in the face reminiscent of how he won the WWE Championship from AJ Styles. Bryan executed a fantastic German suplex from the top rope that turned Cole inside out. The NXT Champion withstood all Bryan was dishing out and landed his signature Panama Sunrise from the top rope followed by the Last Shot for the hard-fought victory.

Takeaway: I do not feel that words can describe how EPIC this match truly was. In my opinion, this not only gave Cole a huge amount of momentum going into WarGames but a massive win over a former WWE champion speaks volumes to how valuable he is to the company going forward.

After the match, HHH brought all the NXT talent into the ring and delivered a powerful warning to Raw and SmackDown stating “NXT fired the first shot, now Raw and SmackDown let’s see what you got!”

Overall Show Takeaway: This was an amazing and exciting episode and a terrific idea to bring in NXT as a backup plan for all the talent who couldn’t make it. This was an excellent step forward heading into Survivor Series and, it also solidified what was once viewed as a “developmental territory” as a strong equal to the “major leagues” on the main roster. With the possibility that Raw or SmackDown can take NXT under siege, the WWE Universe must be prepared for some captivating television!


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WWE NXT 2021 Year in Review: Best Matches Of The Year

Bradley Jay takes a look back at 2021 for NXT as he ranks the best matches of the year!

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Bradley Jay takes a look back at 2021 for NXT as he ranks the best matches of the year!

Better late than never. Here are the best NXT matches of 2021.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ilja Dragunov versus Rampage Brown versus Joe Coffey 4.5 stars
  • Swerve Scott versus Leon Ruff, NXT TV, 5-4-21, 4.6 stars
  • KUSHIDA versus Johnny Gargano, NXT Vengeance Day, 4.6 stars
  • Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa versus GYV, NXT TV, June 17, 4.7 stars
  • Subculture versus Eddie Dennis & Primate, NXT UK TV, 1-11, 4.7 stars
  • A-Kid versus Nathan Frazer versus Rampage Brown, tv 09-24 4.7 stars

Ilja Dragunov on his win over WALTER at WWE NXT TakeOver 36

7. WALTER versus Ilja Dragunov, Takeover 36, 4.7 stars

When you are talking about the best match of the year, you have to split some hairs. Yes, this match was brutal and lived up to the hype, but the end left a sour taste in my mouth. Dragunov is standing tall, belt held high, with his foot on a prone WALTER’s chest. WALTER has been too good for too long to deserve this kind of disrespect. Dragunov had a million reasons to celebrate his victory, and that gesture was forced and unnecessary. Great means great from start to finish.  

WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa -- NXT UK Championship Match: photos | WWE

6. WALTER versus Tommaso Ciampa Takeover, Stand & Deliver,  4.7 stars

I gave Ciampa a 1% chance of winning. Despite the lack of drama, these two told a masterful story with near flawless execution. Something about WALTER brings out the best in whoever he faces. He did it with Tyler Bate and Ilja Dragunov. He did it with Ciampa. This was easily his best performance since his return from neck surgery. People say he’s a brawler, while guys like Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong are known for their gas tank. Ciampa showed he can run with the best of them. He earned the respect of Imperium and my #1 Star of the Night.

WWE Women 🎊🍾 — Kay Lee Ray(c) vs Meiko Satomura for the NXT UK...

5. KLR versus Meiko Satomura, NXT UK TV, 3-4-21, 4.8 stars

Kay Lee Ray versus Meiko Satomura was brilliant. Near flawless. Oh how these two deserved a live crowd. I was worried because the build was rushed and forced. Silly me. After 25 years of bumps, Satomura is still quick as a blink. I can only imagine what she looked like in her prime. I’ll be honest. The post-match show of respect from KLR was so genuine, I shed a tear.

WWE NXT UK Crowns New Women's Champion In Meiko Satomura

4. KLR versus Meiko Satomura II, NXT UK TV, 6-9-21, 4.8 stars

How would they top their first MOTY contender match-up? By delivering another MOTY candidate. I would have liked to see Satomura with more rage & anger throughout. And it would have been better if I watched on mute instead of enduring Nigel McGuiness’s incessant yapping. Satomura’s post-match reaction was priceless. She’s been wrestling for two decades and still looked like she just won her first title. If you tell me either is the best women’s wrestler in the world, I will not argue with you. 

MSK vs. Grizzled Young Veterans -- Men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: photos | WWE

3. Grizzled Young Veterans versus MSK, Vengeance Day, 4.8 stars

It’s my favorite cliche in all of wrestling: the tag team match will steal the show at Takeover. I wanted to see MSK deliver in a longer match. Wow. I got what I asked for. I loved the end when Nash Carter flipped the switch from goofy skater boi to a guy who can get angry and kick some ass. As for Wes Lee? Shades of Ricochet! And I’m already looking forward to GYV in the finals of next year’s Dusty Cup Classic. 

Something Wicked This Way Comes - NXT's "New Year's Evil" Review (06/01/21) - STEELCHAIR Wrestling Magazine | Covering WWE, AEW, NJPW, ROH, IMPACT and more

2. Rhea Ripley versus Raquel Gonzalez, New Year’s Evil, 01-06, 4.9 stars

First, one tiny grievance. I was hoping for more with the finger tattoos. Someone should have tried to tear a digit off. That would have sealed the deal and made this 5 stars. Despite that missed opportunity, I loved this match. Both women looked like absolute destroyers. I’m sorry to see this rivalry end. Any other night, including Takeover, this would have been MOTN by a miracle mile. Wednesday night was not any other night… 

Kyle O'Reilly Addresses Hospital Reports Following NXT New Year's Evil 2021 Main Event Against Finn Balor | EWrestling

1. Finn Balor versus Kyle O’Reilly, New Year’s Evil, 01-06, 4.9 stars

Call me bitter, petty, a mark. If O’Reilly had won this would have been 5 stars, maybe more. There are few wrestlers in NXT more universally loved and appreciated than O’Reilly. Everyone wanted to see him win. I was certain we were getting his Daniel Bryan WrestleMania 30 moment. I felt O’Reilly’s anguish when he lost. Heartbreaking. As it is, we got what could be the 2021 MOTY, and it’s the first week of January! It will be a very good year watching everyone else try to top this.

The year didn’t end as strong as it started, but let’s be thankful for what we had. Thanks for reading, and always remember: Good things happen when you let wrestlers wrestle.  


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POD is WAR & Peacemaker: Episodes 1-3 Review

DC needs some love too! It’s not just all about Marvel! So POD is WAR, decides to cover some Peace-maker. John Cena, 80s hair metal, dumb jokes…is there anything more on brand?

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Well since the Bandwagon Nerds are buried in other shows, the tumultuous triple triad decided this show’s title just goes too well with our show name. So as a cheap excuse for a literary reference, and to spread the good word of hair metal and John Cena, POD is WAR will be reviewing Peacemaker!

  • Show: Peacemaker
  • Streaming Service: HBO Max
  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: Critics – 94% / Audience – 85%

WAR & Peacemaker Review: Episodes 1-3

Andrew: It was the best of shows…it was the worst of shows. What? Have you heard the podcast? If you expect serious this is the wrong article and definitely the wrong series to be watching.

The show picks up after the events of The Suicide Squad with Peacemaker (John Cena) being told he can leave the hospital and immediately conferring with a janitor whom he smoked a little weed with during his rehab. A comedic back and forth about being trustworthy and if Peacemaker is really a Superhero and not a racist Super Villain sparks up (a pretty consistent theme through the first few episodes as well) as Peacemaker decides he’ll leave but he has to be careful.

So he first heads to what I’m assuming was his place, an American flag painted trailer. We get a small hint at his crime fighting buddy Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) who left him a ton of messages because his dad (Robert Patrick) never shut off the cell service. Just as Peacemaker thinks he’ll have normal situations to take care of, he’s ambushed by a group of people claiming to be a detachment from A.R.G.U.S. and are employing his help on Project Butterfly. Peacemaker realize that since Amanda Waller is involved, he’s not gonna be able to get out of this; even though they won’t explain what the hell Project Butterfly is.

With the main story catalyst established, we then meet his father, in an unassuming house with an upside down American Flag waving in the front yard. Fast forwarding a little through the setup, his dad is a racist hard ass but also a tech genius and has created a pocket dimension in a closet to store all of Peacemaker’s helmets. So an awkward attempt at Peacemaker trying to reconnect with his dad, leads us to the best eagle in a streaming show…Eagley; obviously Peacemaker’s side kick and best friend.

The rest of the first episode is a lot of Peacemaker trying to live a somewhat normal life and drop the Super Villain implications. After going home with a hair metal groupie looking chick at a bar, he clumsily leaves the file on Butterflies and potential targets on the bed they just had sex on. Turns out, she’s a Butterfly. So John Cena in his tighty whities is fighting this woman straight out of 1985 with Quireboys playing in the background. Peacemaker manages to get to his car (A Ford Comet with the American Flag painted on it) to get to a helmet that blows the attacking woman to literal pieces.

From there we find out that basically everyone in this squad is straight out of F Troop. The tech guy switches registration but uses Peacemaker’s dad cause he was “stressed”, the conversations tend to just be awkward and it comes down to Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) needing to tranquilize a good portion of police officers to get Peacemaker out of that exploded body situation.

Vigilante’s actual introduction is amusing and we go through a buddy montage of shooting things and playing with grenades. Which is beneficial because when it comes down to their first Butterfly target, Peacemaker chokes because he doesn’t have a reason to kill them and two targets are children. Thankfully, Vigilante is a psychopath and takes out three targets before their meta-human bodyguard Judomaster breaks up the sniper’s nest. After a funny torture scene (I know what I said), we bumble our way into Judomaster getting hit by a truck to be captured and Peacemaker manages to take out the target. During all of this we see that Peacemaker’s father does get arrested for the situation with the 80s looking woman, and when he enters prison, he immediately intimidates a black inmate with many of the white inmates reacting to his return. The episode ends with the Aryan Nation bowing and calling him the White Dragon.

So while Peacemaker is having a crisis of character since he doesn’t feel he’s a bad person, his father is a racist Nazi Super Villain. Fun times right? Reminds me of my childhood – not the point though! Since they batched the first 3 and the rest will be one episode a week, this definitely leaves enough to be intriguing. Sophomoric Deadpool style humor, with Cena’s ignorant deadpan delivery of a lot of it, is pretty great so far. I personally need to see things evolve a little to really chalk this up as a great series, but the first 3 episodes had enough things to keep me intrigued. Also…the opening is…unskippable. It’s a work of art.

Andrew’s Rating: 4.1/5

PC Tunney: Due to an unfortunate golfing accident he is only a floating head with the ability to speak and not write. Dragon Speech technology has not reached the Tunney Mansion yet. For his thoughts tune in to the show!

PC Tunney’s Rating: 4.5/5


AJ Balaz: Okay, I’m not going to lie, wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was from the start but the intro instantly had me sold from the start with the near cringe worthy, stone face dancing as Wig Wam’s ‘Do You Wanna Taste It Plays’ to give us the joy that we are about to have in this series. The first episode give us a recap of what happened in the last Suicide Squad movie with Project Starfish and what is going on for Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker. He is tapped to do more work for the ragtag group of people who were against Amanda Waller in The Suicide Squad and are now Black Ops for a new Project that is going on, Project Butterfly. Of course being the jock like imbecile that they portray Peacemaker, they don’t tell him what it is and rightfully so… he’s kind of an imbecile. We are introduced to his father, who has a past we will get to later and his partner-in-crime, his best friend, Eagley. In the meantime, the ragtag group mentioned before has a file for Peacemaker involving the Project and the only thing Peacemaker is thinking of is… who he’s going to have sex with now that he is a “free man”. Striking out to one of the group mates, he finds a stereotypical 80’s punk rock girl and goes with that. Peacemaker, does the deed and we learn that the easy strange is actually a butterfly. After Cena sings one of the softest songs in the history of songs, he gets destroyed in the fight but after jumping out of a window, grabbing his helmet from his 1968 Ford Comet in American Flag print, he uses a sonic blast to kill the Butterfly, everything in about a 5 mile radius and we get Love Bomb Baby by Tigertailz as the outro to make light of the mood.

Following that, we get the group trying to get Peacemaker out. I haven’t mentioned the other main character of this story yet in, Leota who has been added to the group along with Peacemaker for this Black Ops mission. It’s unclear, very sketchy as to why she is in the group but she is an absolute delight and deterrent from the super serious thought process of the rest of the group. This is where more of the comedic side comes in where Peacemaker is running up the stairs to grab things from the butterfly’s room once Harcourt is telling him to stay put they are coming and he is confused as to how and asks if they can see him doing “other things” (It’s very dude bro, locker room humor. You’ll be desensitized from it very quickly. It’s few and far between). Peacemaker runs from any potential problem, the tech guy of the group changes things over that is slightly… going to make more problems after. They group escapes normally and the problem that they did was switch the records of Car Title and fingerprints from Peacemaker’s name to his father’s. At the end, we see that Peacemaker’s father that is now in jail, is a Supervillain, neo Nazi that has the name of “White Dragon”.

The third episode starts with the group going to get rid of the politician that was in the folder from episode one and Peacemaker’s sidekick comes into the fold, Vigilante. He’s more of the friend that tries to impress the group more and after Peacemaker’s rifle doesn’t have a ‘Dove of Peace’ to make him feel better of killing people, Vigilante has to step in to do the job. Peacemaker freezes up until the bodyguard of the politician attacks them, Judomaster, and kidnap Vigilante and Peacemaker. After the group tries to get in the house to save them, Judomaster is incapacitated, Peacemaker manages to break free, kill the politician and a Butterfly leaves the body, trying to escape. “Oh… Project Butterfly.”

AJ’s Rating: 4.3/5

 

POD is WAR Consensus Rating on Peacemaker Episodes 1-3:  4.3/5


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