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Mishal’s Top 5 NXT Matches Of 2020

Mishal takes a look at the WWE NXT brands in 2020 and ranks the Top 5 NXT Matches for the year!

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WWE NXT Kyle O'Reilly Finn Balor

Mishal takes a look at the WWE NXT brands in 2020 and ranks the Top 5 NXT Matches for the year!

NXT in 2020 has certainly been something.

Admittedly not off the hottest of starts within its first few months, the brand slowly managed to find its footing over the course of the year with some outstanding results once it got out of its slump, particularly over the summer months. A plethora of redundant storylines, disappointing feuds, the temporary shutdown of their UK branch, terrible directional changes for some characters (I’m looking at you, Johnny Gargano) and the awkward inclusion of a returning Charlotte Flair for reasons that remain unexplained resulted in a product that didn’t deliver the excitement we were used to.

Whether the state of the product was due to the raging damage of COVID-19 which restricted creativity or the companies clashing creative visions which were reported on just a few days ago, NXT for a while simply wasn’t itself. However, things changed as the months moved along.

A new era in NXT begun, one with an uproar of new talent, never before seen contest, stacked programming and a revitalized product that finally tried to be something different. Despite its blunders, NXT managed to bring about the change they’ve always been known for at a time when their programming had hit its lowest point since it became a standout in the industry.

And as a result, we’ve got some fantastic matches in a year where WWE is, in all honesty, not at its best position creatively.

Rather than lump the choices I have here with the main roster product, it’s best to dissect a product with so many quality showings on its own time.

A product packed with newcomers, returning stars, international talent and a number of stars who could carry the company forward in the near future, here is my list for the 5 best matches taking place in NXT in 2020.

5. Pat MacAfee vs Adam Cole – NXT TakeOver XXX

This is more of a personal choice for me personally. Prior to his arrival in NXT most people, myself included, doubted the raw, untapped talent that a non-WWE athlete like Pat McAfee possessed between the ropes. His rivalry with Adam Cole started off well with a believable kickstarting angle, the build-up to the match marked the start of a new phase for the NXT brand and most importantly, showed that even before his first match, MacAfee was somewhat of a natural for this business.

And much to the surprise of many this match exceeded every expectation we had going into it. Even as far as in-ring debuts go, it’s tough to find one that was as smooth and as well-executed as this one came across on the night.

In terms of layout or action this was certainly nothing out of the ordinary. The flow was structured like any other match you can come across on free television, with your standard feeling out period, mid-match domination by the heel and then the subsequent match closing stretch with a plethora of near falls involved. Where this content stands out, is in the performances of both men involved. MacAfee never looked out of his element, not for one second, looking like someone with far more experience than he actually possessed rather than someone competing in their first-ever match in that moment. His solid base of in-ring work, ability to keep up with the matches flow, selling, over-the-top demeanour and ridiculous athleticism made him a must-see attraction that prior to this match, was another celebrity to most people tuning in.

While certainly not the most varied contest on this list in terms of action, this match accomplished what many this year failed to do, and that’s get people talking about someone with more talent in the ring than we’d ever grant them prior to this.

4. Io Shirai vs Rhea Ripley – NXT, November 18, 2020

Considering the fact that both these women nearly killed one another to deliver one of the best women’s matches of the year, that alone is worth enough to recognize this as the gem it truly ended up being.

Io Shirai has had a banner year under NXT in 2020, a welcome change considering how underwhelming her NXT career was before this point. She had her fair share of big-time matches and memorable angles along with the likes of Kairi Sane or Shayna Baszler, but something was always missing, something was always holding her character back. Rhea Ripley, on the other hand, started of 2020 with a surge of momentum following her capturing of the NXT Women’s Championship and opportunity to collide with Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania, which led to low point in her career that would hinder the middle portion of the year for her almost entirely. Following Shirai’s pinfall over Ripley, resulting in Shirai taking Flair’s title from around her waist at TakeOver: In Your House, the two were destined for a collision course which would come over 5 months after that fateful night.

The match itself lived up to & exceeded every expectation. Worked at a break-neck pace with both women trading countless unforgiving blows, leaving Shirai badly bruised but most visibly, resulting in Ripley losing a couple of earrings that were pulled out during the contest. None of this stopped either woman from creating a match that lived up to the hype of being one of the ”Most Anticipated Matches in NXT History”, marking a career-defining moment for both of them and a match that will likely become one of the standard-bearers for the division down the line.

3. The Undisputed Era vs Imperium – NXT World’s Collide

Dream matches can be hard to come by in these times, especially amongst the modern crop of talent in WWE. With so many stars being mauled due to inconsistent or outright terrible booking decisions and the constant reliance on stars from previous generations to create collisions that fans want to see, we often forget how sometimes there are legitimate cases to be made that some of the current acts we see in wrestling have just as much ability to create the excitement something like the return of Edge did earlier this year.

When it came to NXT’s World’s Collide event, that happened to be just the case. Both Imperium and The Undisputed Era laid their cases for being the two best wrestling factions on the planet today through their multiple championships, complete domination under their respective brands, record-breaking leaders and the array of underrated talent lurking from within their ranks posed both units as forces of nature just waiting for an inevitable clash. The Undisputed Era existed for slightly longer than Imperium at the time of their match, but it was clear that there was an argument present as to which group dominated the landscape more, and on January 25th we finally got to decide the result to that question.

Feeling somewhat reminiscent of the dream collision between The Shield & The Wyatt Family back in 2014, this had the ”big fight feel” you look for when two dominant factions collide in the squared circle. Both teams through everything but the kitchen sink into this match, making it feel more like an all-out brawl rather than your prototypical multi-man contest we so often witness. The action was always at a maximum, despite a tragic injury to Alexandre Wolfe that threatened to derail the contest entirely, all the remaining men involved found a way to pick this back up after seemingly falling over to create a war that exemplifies just how good both factions can be, and how worth the time & effort it has been investing into both groups of talent.

Despite the remaining two entries being slightly better than my opinion, this is easily the match on this list I’ve sat through the most times since it happened earlier in 2020.

2. Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly – NXT TakeOver 31

The best example this year of the main event being a pure, unhinged fight between two of the very best this business has to offer. So much of today’s wrestling can feel overly choreographed, flashy and too overly lengthy for its own good, but this was one of those occasions where a contest is booked to such perfection that it overcomes all of those obstacles without ever flinching.

Balor vs O’Reilly is the year’s best example of exceeding expectations set before a given bout. Many, many matches in 2020 have gone beyond their limitations, but both men involved here had to overcome a fairly rushed card for a TakeOver event that never really felt entirely warranted due to it taking place so shortly after the previous event just roughly six weeks prior, and gave us something spectacular.

Similar to other entries such as Shirai vs Ripley or Undisputed Era vs Imperium, this wasn’t without its long-term ramifications. A plethora of injuries occurred on the side of both men here, including a broken jaw on the part of Finn Balor that kept him out for close to two months after the match concluded. Neither man came out of this match looking better than they went going in, they pounded each other into a bloody pulp and came out of this looking like warriors who went through the fight of their life. Nothing about this main event was pretty, an aspect that in many ways resulted in it being the gem that it’s now known for being.

Champion & challenger both looked like they arrived to steal the show on an evening that came from out of nowhere for many but that didn’t stop them from putting on a prime example of just why NXT events are lauded for their world-class main events almost every single time a show comes around. Balor & O’Reilly battled through immense levels of physical pain, never holding back and always trying to one-up each other, while taking O’Reilly from a star generally known for being a tag team specialist, into a bonafide headliner in a 30-minute period. The finish of the match is a bit abrupt due to the damage both men endured to put on this masterclass, but it doesn’t hurt the fact that this is one of the best main events of 2020 as a whole.

To those who think the trials & tribulations wrestlers go through is ”fake”, I highly recommend checking out the brutality on display in this one.

1. WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov – NXT UK, October 29, 2020

A masterpiece, a work of art and a perfectly crafted piece of wrestling history.

I’m not going to write my thoughts all over again here as I’ve already put together a lengthy piece delving into just why WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov is the work of art so many people hail it to be since it took place just about two months ago, and deserves every ounce of praise it receives from fans or critics alike.

At a time when the absence of a live audience has affected so much of professional wrestling as a whole, this was one of those rare examples from 2020 where a match is able to capitalize on the tragic situation it’s being held under. If anything, the lack of audience, live participation or overall reaction made this the blistering spectacle of utter violence and passion we ended up getting from two of the best European stars in the world right now. You felt every punch, kick, slap, chop, slam, scream or stomp that was hurled from either man, further being displayed with the damaged state their bodies were in once the contest came to a close.

While it does feel I’m under-selling this match despite the pure excellence on display across the 20+ minutes it runs, it’s something I don’t want to due to what I’ve said prior, but also because experiencing this match with your own eyes rather than the commentary or babbling of some stranger on the internet is how this should be experienced. To those of you who haven’t seen this yet, you should actively go out of your way to do so, and to those of you who have, here’s to you enjoying the multiple repeated viewings you’re bound to have of this modern-day classic.

Not just the finest thing the NXT brand as a whole has produced in 2020, arguably the best match of the entire year from any promotion.


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Andrew’s TNA Under Siege Results & Match Ratings: 5.3.2024

The worst card in the history of PLEs got even worse with last second changes! Cringe with me as I drink!

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This card got shuffled more than a starting hand in Magic the Gathering. I usually do predictions but with matches getting tweaked, moved and the Countdown being 3 lame enhancement talent matches…I have no energy to pretend I care about this mess.  Which isn’t intended as shade towards VSK, The Batiri or KC Navarro, but, who cares about matches with no build and just thrown together?

I only hope the match quality is decent, because if I didn’t have to cover this…I would rather be doing…anything…literally anything; aside from watching this. A colonoscopy sounds better than this card.

Ratings:

  • Eric Young & Josh Alexander vs Frankie Kazarian & Steve Maclin: EY wins via Piledriver – ** 1/2
  • Havok w/Rosemary vs ASH by Elegance w/Personal Concierge Iceman: ASH wins via Head and Arm Cradle – ** 3/4
  • Joe Hendry vs Zachary Wentz: Hendry wins via Standing Ovation – ***
  • Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Spitfire (Dani Luna & Jody Threat) vs De-MALISH (Masha Slamovich & Alisha Edwards): Lish wins via Pedigree – ** 3/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!
  • Rich Swann w/AJ Francis vs Jake Something: Rich wins because who cares – -*
  • Kushida vs Jonathan Gresham: Gresham wins via CephaloPin – ***
  • PCO & Jordynne Grace vs Kon & Steph de Lander: Grace wins via Juggernaut Driver – *
  • X Division Championship: Mustafa Ali (c) vs Ace Austin: Ali retains via 450 Splash – *** 3/4
  • The System (Moose, Brian Myers & Eddie Edwards w/Alisha Edwards) vs House Hardy (Broken Matt, Trent the Seventh & Ball of Speed): System wins via System Overload – ****

 

Results:

Eric Young & Josh Alexander vs Frankie Kazarian & Steve Maclin

Josh brings an extra head gear for EY to protect his surgically reattached ear, and Kaz immediately retreats to the corner to tag in Maclin. EY gets the best of Maclin with a Dropkick, tags in Josh and then Maclin tags out to Kaz. Josh starts tossing Kaz around literally, Maclin tries to interfere but he eats a Hip Toss for his efforts and then Josh lights up Kaz with a Suplex into a Knife Edge Chop with purpose. Josh tries to continue the offense, but Maclin finally catches Josh off guard and trips him during the rope run and Kaz lands the Guillotine Leg Drop for a near fall. Kaz pulls off the Russian Leg Sweep, and another near fall before tagging Maclin in to continue the punishment. Maclin drapes Josh into his corner, Kaz tags back in, Backstabber from the middle ropes, and Kaz locks in a Bow and Arrow submission…but Josh starts to fire as the crowd comes alive. Kaz cuts him off with a Back Elbow and then slaps around Josh due to frustration and then just full mount raining fists down.

We get Maclin tagging in and keeping up very deliberate offense, and Josh remains isolated. The heels keep the tags rolling and Josh stays isolated, but finally Josh gets a boot up, tosses Kaz out of the ring and EY chases Kaz around instead of being in the corner for Josh to tag. Josh tries to catch Kaz running but Kaz turns it around and Maclin levels EY with a Lariat. Kaz goes to the top but Josh pops up and hits an Avalanche Belly to Belly for the simultaneous tag spot. Maclin whips EY, get does the corner Flair Flop, slips through the legs, lands a Death Valley Driver but Kaz tries to get involved, and EY takes care of Kaz. Things breakdown a bit as everyone lands a few big spots, Josh does slip a bit when he’s transitioning into the Triple Suplexes, but its not enough to make the segment look bad. Maclin hits Caught in the Crosshairs, goes for the cover but EY tags out. Maclin posts EY up in the wrong corner so Josh tags himself in, Maclin tries to fight off Josh but Josh lands the Powerbreaker while EY stays reeling on the top corner. Olympic Slam from Maclin, EY comes alive with Macho Man Elbow to break the pinfall. EY and Kaz tag in, so now EY tees off on Kaz. Kaz tries Fade to Black but eats a straight right from Josh, and EY gets a near fall.

Josh and Maclin spill to the outside, but Maclin heads back in to try and deal with EY but misses the Busaiku Knee and hits Kaz. EY rocks Maclin, Maclin eats the Low Crossbody, Piledriver from EY on Kaz and EY and Josh win.

Havok w/Rosemary vs ASH by Elegance w/Personal Concierge Iceman

Iceman brings Holy Water and ASH has a necklace of Garlic around her neck. The sheer carny and fantasy racism (as in not knowing what repulses demons so they take the Vampire angle) is great.

ASH says Havok is evil, tries a Collar and Elbow tie up, but ASH gets pushed out. ASH uses a few dodge rolls to get under Havok, panders to the crowd all while Havok is stalking her and ASH is playing fear very well. Havok misses a corner Splash, ASH does the sign of the cross, tries her Cartwheel Handspring Back Elbow but Havok catches her, uses a Full Nelson into a Backbreaker. ASH powders and Iceman tries to act like an Old Priest, or the Young Priest and help ASH pray the demons away.

Rosemary scares ASH back to the apron, Havok drags her back in, ASH almost gets an opening but she runs her mouth too much, eats a Headbutt and then Havok chucks her across the ring. Iceman hits the apron, tries to throw Holy Water in her eyes but it just pisses off Havok. Havok goes to the corner for a Banzai Drop, but ASH Avalanche Powerbomb. Rosemary runs off Iceman, drinks the holy water and spits up blood as they both run to the back. This whole match is such carny bullshit…ASH tries to Suplex Havok, Havok says no, pulls off her own Suplex but ASH turns it into a Head and Arm Cradle for the flash victory!

After the match, ASH chokes out Havok with the Garlic Necklace, grabs a chair and gets angry. ASH hits Havok a few times with the chair, Rarefied Air on the steel chair, and ASH walks off proud of herself. Havok tries to crawl after ASH, ASH says she’s gonna die and DDTs Havok directly into the ramp. 

Joe Hendry vs Zachary Wentz

Joe Hendry does something Sean Waltman never did, and got a #6 chant to break out.

Bell rings and Wentz flies at him and keeps the pressure up. Hendry tries to catch him and pull out a Standing Ovation immediately, but Wentz spins out and keeps throwing himself into Hendry, literally. Heading back into the ring, Wentz lands a PK and gets a near fall, hell Wentz even bites Hendry. Wentz goes to the well too many times, Wentz goes for the Dive and Hendry catches him on his shoulders, walks up the steps with Wentz and just chucks him back into the ring. Our #6 Pop Star is rocking and rolling, hits the classic Sack of Shit spot, plays to the crowd a little too long and turns around into a Superkick and flurry of Wentz offense.

SWANTON BOMB from Wentz, but Hendry kicks out! Wentz mocks the Hendry stomp and clap, goes for the UFO Cutter but gets shrugged off and STANDING OVATION! A rascal can’t stop a pop star.

Knockouts Tag Team Titles: Spitfire (Dani Luna & Jody Threat) vs De-MALISH (Masha Slamovich & Alisha Edwards)

Lish runs her mouth at Dani after their single match yesterday but tags out immediately so Masha starts off with Dani. World of Sport chain wrestling start,  Jody blind tag, Drop toe hold, PK, Low Crossbody and Masha is reeling. Quick tag brings Dani back in, Tandem Stalling Vertical Suplex. Keeps Masha upside down for a solid 40 seconds. Masha tries to trike her way out of the problem, Dani fights back up as Masha distracts the ref Lish uses the ropes to help Stun Gun Dani. Masha tags out and Lish is just pie facing Dani and then Dani clocks her and Lish runs to Masha for the tag.

Dani moves too slow to tag out to Jody and Masha cuts her off and starts beating the hell out of her. Tandem attacks, Sliding Dropkick from Masha, Senton from Lish for 2! Lish throws Dani into her corner, Dani fights off Masha and then Lariats Lish. Lish looks for a tag but there’s no Masha and Lish is afraid to turn around. Solid comedy horror spot where she puts her hand behind her and bemoans her situation. Michinoku Driver from Jody, but Masha breaks up the pin and then drags Lish to their corner to tag out. Jody catches her with the Pump Kick, Double Knees into a German Suplex, Dani with a German Suplex Hold for 2!

Lish tries to involve Kendra the Kendo Stick and its enough to distract the ref and cause havoc. Kendra connects on Jody, Gutwrench Powerbomb from Masha, Masha tags in Lish and Lish hits a Pedigree for the win!

De-MALISH WINS!

Rich Swann w/AJ Francis vs Jake Something

Rich tries to pick his spots but gets run over literally, then Swann anticipates a Leap Frog spot but Jake just meets him in mid air with a Thesz Press/Chest Bump to send Rich to powder. AJ climbs on the apron, starts to jaw with Jake to allows Rich to blindside him, Jake flies outside, ref is paying attention to Rich so AJ runs him over 3 Point Stance style. Swann connects with the PK on the apron, rolls Jake back in and lights him up with a few more kicks before just gouging at the eyes. Round Kicks and Sliding Kicks to the knees and chest had Jake down, until Jake tries to power up…and Rich goes back to the eyes. Jake is draped over the middle rope and Rich stands on his back and uses the rope to choke Jake.

Swann feeling himself, goes for the Sunset Flip, Jake fights it off, but before he can do anything Rich goes to the eyes again. Simple heel psychology and logic that eyes and groin are weak points no matter how big the guy is. So those being the equalizers and chopping the tree down, over and over again is solid old school work. Jake lands a Lariat, tries to follow with a Corner Splash, but Swann dodges and Jake just slams Rich’s face into the mat and connects with Shock Therapy! Tries Into the Void but Rich says no, Headscissors sends Jake bouncing off the ropes, Rich with the Back Kick but only 2. Rich hits the middle rope and just eats a Forearm from Jake. Runs the rope, AJ Low Bridge and starts to work over Jake. The referee catches AJ, goes to throw out the match but FUCKING CODY DEANER MUSIC HITS.

I hate this dumb gimmick…there was even a “who’s this guy chant”, and he says he got the okay from Santino to let the people decide if the ref should throw out the match or let Cody “chop down that Dollar Tree”. Deaner can’t even say Albany. Dumb shit happens, Lethal Injection from Swann, goes for the Frog Splash and wins.

So Cody came out, with a gimmick that isn’t over, gets his ass kicked, stops Jake from winning via DQ, just to lose via pinfall. It was over booked to the point of unadulterated idiocy. 

Kushida vs Jonathan Gresham

So Gresham comes down with a black Octopus mask, but apparently the tentacles come off and he has a Muta-esque mask, pretty cool.

The early steps, Gresham is coughing a lot between the moves. I’m assuming this is setting up a Black Mist to be treated as “mist” moving forward. Chain wrestling into Kushida connecting into a Liger style Surfboard hold, but Gresham is fighting through in. Things start slow, but they go for the Strike Exchange, Gresham unravels some of his wrist tape, feigns a chop and just decides to bite Kushida’s wrist. Gresham stays on him, Kushida tries some up kicks, but classic roll throughs into a chop, stomp and Boston Crab transition shows a weird hybrid of this new gimmick and his old technical prowess.

Kushida fights back to his feet, a few Low Kicks, Shotei, Hip Toss into Carthweel Dropkick for 2! Kushida tries to fire up with the crowd and Gresham looks for a Flash Schoolboy with tights, but Kushida kicks out. Kushida kicks the arm, and then we get a locomotion spot of roll throughs, cradle attempts, offensive counters before we get up kicks and a quick Low Round Kick from Kushida for them to both need to recover. Kushida kicks at the arm, Gresham blocks a few, Kushida goes for the arm kick, Gresham counters and Kushida hits the Tanaka Punch right in Gresham’s throat. Kushida realizes something is odd and Gresham spits up the ink, spits it into his hand and covers Kushida’s face. Octopus Hold to get direct access to his mouth, more ink and then a pinfall for the win.

PCO & Jordynne Grace vs Kon & Steph de Lander

Well PCO got some budget back for his doctors to revive him, but I really don’t care about this. Jordynne wants to start again Kon, and Kon is no selling a few of Jordynne’s chops. Kon tries to DVD Jordynne but she wraps her legs around his arm and won’t go. Kon drops Jordynne with a Forearm and Jordynne fires, connects with a half dozen chops but eats a Shoulder Tackle and tags in SDL. Steph crotches Jordynne in the corner, Boot Wash, Northern Lights Suplex for 2.  Jordynne fights off the Powerbomb, PCO comes in and SDL cowers to her corner and tags in Kon. STOP PUTTING THESE TWO TOGETHER!

Strikes or shoves or something, I checked out as soon as I saw Kon was in this match honestly…oh look a PCO-Sault lands. SDL breaks up the pin and then bails to not deal with the wrath of PCO. Kon recovers fairly quickly from PCO’s finish…so that’s pretty dumb honestly. SDL tags in for the Unicorn Stomp. Kon tags back in. I checked out, dumb stuff happens, PCO actually likes SDL’s flirting and she didn’t expect it to work out. Jordynne Low Blows Kon, Death Valley Driver’s his big dumb ass and then Juggernaut Driver wins. NO MORE KON EVER!

X Division Championship: Mustafa Ali (c) vs Ace Austin

Slow start, and this show has really kinda sucked. If this match doesn’t pick up soon, I may fall asleep.

Ali tries to go for the rope run trick of powdering out but Austin keeps the momentum and hits the ole Fosbury Flop. He throws Ali back in, Ali throws Ace out and then hits his own Dive, and then they start exchanging strikes and bouncing each other off the apron. Ace throws Ali over his head, Ali lands on the corner post from the outside and connects with a Tornado DDT onto the floor. Slow Cruiser style stuff, Ali hits the Rolling Neckbreaker, goes for a second but Ace counters. Head Stomp into a Springboard DDT for 2.  Click Click Boom from Ace, Ali is bouncing off the ropes and eatting fists, Ace tries a DVD, but Ali connects with an elbow into the neck and Ace sells the injured neck and then Ali whips him directly into the post and Ace sounds like he’s dying.

Ali applies a Crossface through the turnbuckles and with the corner post. Ali now tries a Double Wristlock on the bad arm, but Ace is fighting out of it, One Armed Scoop Slam, and a few kicks to Ali’s arm to return the favor. Even drives Ali’s left shoulder into the post. Ace lands a Leg Drop to Ali’s hyperextended left arm and gets a 2! Ali slides out, Ace tries to pull him back in by the hair, but Ali counters, trips up Ace and pulls him out and hits an Avalanche German from the apron to the floor. Mustafa tries the 450, misses, charges again and Ace with the Release Belly to Belly Hiromu Takahashi style. Fighting Spirit with variations of kicks, Ali gets the best of things with a Waterwheel Kick, but Ace flips out of  the Power Bomb, Roundhouse Kick connects. Ace goes for his apron dance PK, then Ace tries to hype the crowd and Ali trips Ace to crash into the apron spin first. Mustafa locks in the Scorpion Deathlock, but Ace breaks the hold by grabbing the hair. Kick trade, Powerbomb from Ace for 2!

Ace looks for an injured Fold, but the Secret Service is interfering again…Ace hits THE FOLD! 1-2-Secret Service pulls Ali out of the ring to stop the count! Ali grabs the belt, referee takes it from him, Ace with the Roll-Up but only 2, Ace goes to the corner but Ali kicks the legs out from under him and he falls on the title belt, 450 from Ali and Ali wins.

The System (Moose, Brian Myers & Eddie Edwards w/Alisha Edwards) vs House Hardy (Broken Matt, Trent the Seventh & Ball of Speed)

Broken Matt wants to start with Moose, Moose acts like he’s gonna play ball, but says “That’s not how the system works” and tags out to Eddie. Eddie Chops Matt a few times, Matt bites his hand, and as we’ve expected, Broken Matt is odd offense to anticipate. Matt Rocket Launchers into the middle rope, 7th and Ball come in for a triple tandem move and a near fall. The Ball of Speed is the legal participant, Myers goes for a Stinger Splash and misses, Japanese style Locomotion corner attacks that get punctuated with 7th and 8 Ball doing some Poetry in Motion. Ball wants a Double Stomp but misses, goes for the Backflip Knees and Myers rolls away, tags in Moose and Moose Uranage’s Ball into tomorrow. Ball of Speed is coming up slow, Boots up in the corner, Moose drives Ball of Speed’s face into the feet and Eddie and Myers take turns working over Bailey. Lish makes the Ball of Speed motorboat the bottom rope and then Moose flings him into the corner and he bounces out…well…like a ball.

Ball of Speed is very cut off, getting worked over by everyone. Marbels was never my game, and doesn’t seem like Mike Bailey was great at it either. Ball tries a Snap Suplex to get space but Eddie intercepts him, drives him back to The System corner and tags in Moose. Moose wipes out the other two House Hardy members but Ball finds ways to float through and get some space, tags in Trent the Seventh and takes out all The System people, feint DDT, goes for a Whisper in the Wind and misses! Moose gets out and Myers and Eddie slap the hell out of Seventh while the Thunder rings Blue but only for 2 (okay I’ve been drinking too much and this show has been pretty lame so Broken Hardy-isms are rubbing off).

EDDIE POSTS HIMSELF LIKE A DOOFUS! Myers runs at Seventh and he just ole’s him through the ropes! Moose tries to pull Trent, Trent kicks off, but as Trent dives, The System members drag the Hardy members off the apron. Seventh finally connects a Seven Star Lariat for space and tags in the Broken on! Broken House of Fire! Delete Corner Head Smashes for the tag team champions! Side Effect hit on Eddie, but Eddie kicks out at 2! Matt calls for Twist of Fate, Eddie is reeling, but Eddie falls back to Moose and Moose wants in. Punch exchange, Delete, Moose, Delete, Moose, Delete, Moose…HOCKEY FIGHT! But then Moose kicks…he doesn’t understand Hockey, he played football. Moose scales the corner, goes for the Corkscrew Crossbody and Matt connects with a beautiful Cutter for 2! Second rope Elbow from Matt for another 2! He calls for the Twist again – Eddie cuts him off, Moose tags out to Myers. Ball of Speed Missile Dropkick after getting the tag. Tornado Kick, Ultima Weapon attempt but Eddie tries to interfere and stops him. Ball jumps and Myers connects with the Jumping Spear, 1 – 2- Seventh and Matt break the pinfall!

System goes for a Triple Jacknife, but Hardy’s Triple Bop and Bang into Triple Twist of Fate! They go for a Triple Deletion Tandem move, but Moose breaks it up, Trent and Ball with a Dive/Asai Moonsault combo on Eddie and Myers. Moose Carbon Footprint for Ball and Trent. Apron Powerbombs for both of them as well. Moose levels Matt and is sick of this, clears off the bell keepers table and probably wants to Powerbomb Matt through the table. Yup, that’s the spot, Matt fights off, bites Moose, posts him and then a Twist of Fate to the floor. Hardy puts Moose on the table, goes to the top…old school Leg Drop? No? LEG DROP THROUGH THE TABLE! Ball and Trent with the Tornado/Dragon! Birminghammer from Seventh on Eddie! Kobashi beats Misawa–NO! LISH pulls Seventh off!

Ball of Speed tries to go after Lish, but Myers hits the Roster Cut on Bailey. Bitter End Flowsion attempt, nope, Low Blow, SYSTEM OVERLOAD! TRUST THE SYSTEM!

 

Overall Score: 3.5/10

This was, an objectively bad show up until the last two matches. Did I find a level of carny entertainment in the Hendry match, ASH by Elegance match and the De-MALISH match? Yes of course, but being subjectively entertaining doesn’t equate to any actual value. This card was an inflated iMPACT! because nothing really had weight to it, the Countdown Show was worthless because the matches were all local enhancement talent and apparently they just hand out Digital Media championship matches to anyone. I guess its asking too much to utilize Xplosion to create a storyline for that title or something, so we just random throw stuff together. If it weren’t for the Knockouts Tags, yet again, TNA would be failing miserably with their “mid-card” title. Why haven’t the King of the Mountain/TV/Legends/Grand Championships worked in the past? BECAUSE CREATIVE TREATS THEM AS AFTERTHOUGHTS OR GIMMICKS! If creative doesn’t care, why should we? Like seriously, you’ve had 22 years and 5 iterations of attempts at a mid-card title (I don’t think I missed one), you should’ve figured it out by now…morons.

Main event was one of the best six man matches I’ve seen in a while, Matt was more committed to the Broken character tonight, so it all worked really well. Plus him pulling off the extreme Leg Drop was a fun spot. Ace and Ali’s match was pretty good if it wasn’t for the very slow start coming off of bad matches and my biggest pet peeve with Ali’s entire gimmick; WHY ARE YOU GETTING HEAT ON MOOKS!? Normally if we are to expect interference its used to build up a manager, valet, second, something. Not nameless faces in aviators. It doesn’t add more heat to Ali, if you think that, you’re an idiot. Either revel a Secret Service guy as someone you’re gonna push potentially as a singles, or stop using them all the damn time. Its a really stupid crutch that does nothing but already make you sigh and know to expect useless bullshit by the end. Speaking of useless bullshit, Kon should not be on TNA television ever again and same goes for Cody Deaner. No one likes his gimmick or him. He’s not a plucky underdog, you just had him being a cultist and then cult leader for the better portion of 2 years and before that he was a redneck job nerd. He hasn’t been likeable since he was Knockouts Tag Champs with ODB. STOP PUSHING DUMB SHIT, BRING BACK DIRTY DANGO.

Since Scott left, this has really been a hard product to defend. There’s a few bright spots, but then they immediately faceplant into a cowpie the size Jupiter. Rehire Scott, or use your damn head. It’s not difficult.


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Greg DeMarco’s WWE Stand & Deliver 2024 Results & Review

It’s that time of year again–time for WWE NXT Stand & Deliver! Greg DeMarco is here with your results and his review of NXT’s biggest event!

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WWE NXT Stand & Deliver Roxanne Perez Women's Champion

It’s that time of year again–time for WWE NXT Stand & Deliver! Greg DeMarco is here with your results and his review of NXT’s biggest event!

As everyone gears up for WrestleMania, the NXT Universe (?) gets ready for their WrestleMania, Stand & Deliver! Shawn Michaels has been less HBK and more HBCook lately, delivering some of the best booked shows found anywhere on Tuesday nights.

I fully expect that to carry over–but let’s see it in action!

Countdown Match – Shawn Spears vs. Joe Gacy

As much as I really wanted “The Ten Guy” back, I have enjoyed Shawn Spears run back in NXT. Also interesting to see Wade Barrett on commentary alongside Vic Joseph and Booker T, which makes me expect the ‘Mania call will be handled by Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Pat McAfee.

Ridge Holland, who had joined the Kickoff panel, had to be held back during Shawn Spears’ entrance, then attacked Joe Gacy with a chair during his own entrance. Storylines in every element of the show–that is how it’s done!

Also interesting to see Gacy bring back little facets of The Schism with the mask and the smiley face on his knee pad. Makes me wonder what the long term plan is for him (either on NXT or the main roster), as he is crazy entertaining (and crazy, and entertaining).

Stream of consciousness:

  • Thank Randy Orton cares that Spears used the Hangman DDT? Something tells me Randy doesn’t.
  • Joe Gacy is so damn talented and moves so well for his size and perceived conditioning.
  • Shawn Spears is a 22-year veteran of the ring, and it shows in all of the little things he does, especially the non-verbals.
  • Gacy, mind you, is an 18-year veteran himself, let’s not forget that.
  • Didn’t expect that result, especially after Ridge attacked Gacy on his way to the ring.

Winner via pinfall: Joe Gacy

Highly entertaining match that fits anywhere: Countdown To Stand & Deliver, NXT TV match, NXT TV main event, PLE main card match, and would work on Raw or Smackdown. Very intrigued to see what happens next for both of these guys.

WWE NXT Stand & Deliver 2024

As usual, I am watching this on a delay (west coast time, and I’ve gots a family!). I am fairly capable of staying spoiler free as I start (I did get one result spoiled for me, but it is what it is). But I did see that the event drew 16,545 fans, which is amazing (and a record for NXT). For perspective, last year’s event with the same name drew 7,584. For those of you who, like me, try to apply some math to these things, that’s double +18% (or 215% of last year’s attendance).

Job well done by all involved.

Very much enjoyed the opening video (that I presume we watched as Meta Four made their way to the ring), where there went through all of the major settings and storylines in NXT and here tonight.

I was wrong, Meta Four stayed by the entrance. Great to see that huge crowd on camera. The business is so hot right now.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match – Axion & Nathan Frazer vs. Baron Corbin & Bron Breakker (champions)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Nathan Frazer & Axiom win the tag team titles.

Extremely excited to see Axiom & Frazer get the nod to be in this match when you had The LWO, The Good Brothers, and Alpha Academy all as possible participants as recently as this past Tuesday. Not so sure they will get the win, but you never know with Baron Corbin having been back down in NXT for a while now, and Breakker already a member of the Smackdown roster.

  • Hot start to the match (and PLE) with multiple dives from the challengers.
  • Breakker is so damn good with less than 4 years in the business. He was truly born with it.
  • Interesting fact from Vic that Breakker has never won at Stand & Deliver. Of course, in 2022 he won two nights later on Raw.
  • Wade Barrett speaks! I forgot he was on commentary. It’s hard when Vic & Booker do this together every week. And Booker talks a lot–and for a long time.
  • Axiom & Frazer really do make a fantastic team. If they don’t win tonight, I wonder where they fit in. Because they are so damn good.
  • Hell of a Frankensteiner, not sure what Corbin was supposed to do with it.
  • “Justified” This Is Awesome chants, as Tony Khan would say.
  • BARON CORBIN WITH THE USO SPLASH!!!
  • Tons of near-falls in this match. HBK letting these boys go!
  • Spear ends it, I’m surprised Bron didn’t get to score the fall since he’s never done that at Stand & Deliver.

Winners via pinfall, AND STILL your NXT Tag Team Champions: The Wolf Dogs

Outstanding opener, crowd was way into everyone. But, man, Bron Breakker is on a completely different level. That man is going to deliver one hell of a WrestleMania main event some day.

WWE NXT North American Championship: Dijak vs. Josh Briggs vs. Oba Femi (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Oba Femi retains the NXT North American Championship

Given the copious number of nearfalls in the opener, I expected the six-woman tag here. But, hey, this card is stacked, so obviously we need to place that elsewhere. I love all three guys in this match, and I really think Josh Briggs is likely going to get called up in the next draft. But man, Oba Femi is a damn star! He might in one of those WrestleMania main events with Bron Breakker that I referenced earlier.

  • This match is sponsored by Knuckles, on Paramount+, by the way. Weird to see a Paramout+ sponsorship on a show streaming on Peacock, but here we are!
  • That Knuckles banner is literally duct-taped to the floor! That’s always a funny aspect of Stand & Deliver, some of the main production elements are already set-up in the stadium.
  • The Man of Mayhem definitely brings that when he flip-chokeslams Dijak from the top rope to (through?) Oba Femi, who was seated (literally) on the floor.
  • Briggs, by the way, is an 8-year veteran of the ring (that surprises me, I thought he had more), and Dijak has 11. Femi, of course, has about 15 matches. Which is absolutely insane.
  • Looking up those years, I had the result of this match spoiled for me, but I am totally fine with that. That result was expected!
  • Interesting for Barrett to point out that some refs won’t allow getting your foot on the ropes to break up a pin in a Triple Threat Match. All the years I have been watching this stuff, I haven’t heard that.
  • SUPERKICKBIG BOOT PARTY!
  • Dijak and Briggs doing the majority of the heavy lifting in this one, and putting on a performance reminiscent of Dijak and Keith Lee.
  • NOW THAT WAS A TOWER OF DOOM SPOT.
  • I can’t even describe it, you just have to see it. INSANE.
  • If I ever rewatch this match, I am counting the number of Big Boots.
  • Feast Your Eyes on a 300 lb man!
  • Crowd was NOT HAPPY about Briggs pulling the ref out. I thought it was brilliant.
  • “Justified” This Is Awesome chants, as Tony Khan would say.
  • That camera shot was AMAZING.

Winner via pinfall on Briggs, AND STILL your NXT North American Champion: Oba Femi

What a match! Seriously, one hell of a classic put on by all three men. All props to Dijak and Josh Briggs, who really need to have great runs on the main roster.Man, this company is LOADED with talent right now. Where do you fit everybody? It feels like they need a third main roster brand.

Meta Four (unsuccessfully) trying to get interviews is very, very entertaining.

Six-Woman Tag Team Match: Kiana James, Izzi Dame, & Jacy Jayne (With Jazmyn Nix) vs. Fallon Henley, Kelani Jordan, & Thea Hail (with Andre Chase, Duke Hudson, & Riley Osborne)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Babyfaces over!

I loved the addition of this match to the card, getting six very talented competitors on the card. Hell of an opportunity for Izzi Dame and Kelani Jordan, too.

  • All total, we have 10 NXT Superstars in and around the ring for this match.
  • Still not sure why Jacy Jayne worked so hard to save Chase U just to ditch them so quickly after. If she was never Thea’s friend, why did she bust her ass to help?
  • Kelani with a handspring into a ….. Flatliner? That makes zero sense.
  • Nice “not the first time a James has been jealous of a Jordan” reference by Vic Joseph, who should appreciate that Lebron James brought a championship to Cleveland.
  • Have to wonder if Jacy, Jazmyn, Kiana, and Izzi will formally be put together into a “Mean Girls” style stable.
  • Love Wade Barrett with the Toxic Attraction reference.
  • Gotta figure that Fallon Helney will end up on the main roster sooner rather than later–and I hope she isn’t lost in the shuffle.
  • Kelani Jordan has a lot of development to come, but damn she can hit that Moonsault to the floor just as good as Charlotte Flair.
  • Great set-up to get to Thea vs Jacy, and the crowd was hyped for it.
  • Nice sequence to the finish.

Winners via Hail submission on Dame, Thea Hail, Fallon Henley, & Kelani Jordan

Hell of a match that felt like it got a lot of time, and was easily Stand & Deliver worthy. The women’s division is in really good hands for years to come.

Hey look Giulia is here! (And kinda looks nervous.)

WWE NXT Women’s Championship: Roxanne Perez vs. Lyra Valkyria

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Roxanne Perez captures the NXT Women’s Championship for a second time (with something underhanded involved)

Kinda surprised to see the two women’s matches back-to-back. I actually had the match order a little different, and the final three would have been (in order): NXT Championship, NXT Women’s Championship, Trick/Melo.

  • Nice point from Vic Joseph, pointing out that the NXT Women’s Championship is the only NXT title to be defended at a WrestleMania.
  • Another streaming partnership for a match here, with Fallout on Amazon Prime getting the visibility treatment here on Peacock.
  • Roxanne Perez working over the arm like a champ. That’s been a big part of the story all along.
  • I must say–as I always do when the set-up is like this–that I really do prefer a WWE arena event without the big huge stage (not talking abut WrestleMania).
  • With all the high-flying, crazy action of the first three matches, the crowd is definitely a little quiet during this one–all the spent time working over the arm also causes that.
  • I’m not complaining, this is very much the type of match you’d see on the main roster (even a main roster WrestleMania), and that’s why we are here.
  • Roxanne Perez, by the way, has 6-years in the business. Nine years for Lyra Valkyria.
  • The Pop Rox (and subsequent kickout) definitely woke the crowd up.
  • Tatum Paxley appearance, which had to be expected (Paxley has been amazing in this pairing, by the way).
  • The crowd is now solidly behind Roxanne Perez. Big pop for her locking in the submission a second time.
  • Poison Rana into Pop Rox into the Crossface, and that has to be it.
  • Big pop for the finish, too.

Winner via submission, AND NEW WWE NXT Women’s Champion, Roxanne Perez

Roxanne Perez joins Shayna Baszler and Charlotte Flair as your only two-time NXT Women’s Champions. She needs a good 440 days to pass Baszler’s days as champion–and I would love to see it.

WWE NXT Championship – Tony D’Angelo (with Channing Lorenzo, Adriana Rizzo, and Luca Crusifino) vs. Ilja Dragunov (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Ilja Dragunov retains

Tony D’Angelo’s highest profile match to date, and I truly think he deserves this spot. But to me, this spot is about building Tony’s future. I see him as a future NXT Champion, but not tonight. The build to this has seen Tony lean more towards the heel side once again, which could set things up for a Tony/Trick feud. But we could get more than one match out of Tony and Ilja, too

  • During the intros I did our experience check: Tony D debuted in 2019 (5 years ago–time flies!), Ilja Dragunov has been working for 14 years.
  • Tony wearing  the “WrestleMania whites” for his gear today–usually you see more of that! We’ll see what happens at WrestleMania tonight.
  • Seeing Stacks on the outside is odd to me. Not because he’s out there, or out there with Tony, but it seems like a demotion for him after working so closely with Tony in-ring. I do wonder if a split is coming there.
  • Ilja chops the ringpost as we hear from Booker T for the first time in this match! I almost wondered if he took a break or went back to congratulate his student, Roxanne Perez.
  • Ilja tried to get Stacks involved, but The Don called him off. Ilja kissed him on each cheek (a Mafia thing, which Wade Barrett totally missed and called as Ilja kissing Tony on the mouth) and that just fired up Tony D.
  • Huge Overhead Belly To Belly by Tony off the top rope, which woke the crowd up (much like Roxanne vs Lyra, they started off slow).
  • Well done H-Bomb through the table, as Stacks looks on and says he’s not doing anything (remember, Tony told him not to).

Winner via pinfall, AND STILL your WWE NXT Champion: Ilja Dragunov

Not gonna lie, that felt short. And while it was the Top Rope H-Bomb that ended it, the match never made me believe Tony might capture the title. (Late research showed me I was wrong–this was 17 minutes and was the longest match of the program!)

Carmelo Hayes vs. Trick Williams

It was no surprise when this match was announced as the Stand & Deliver main event. It simply made sense. What’s crazy is the development of Trick Williams, wrestling on a Stand & Deliver for his first time ever, and doing so in the main event.

  • Hype video for this match was great, but almost felt unnecessary solely because everyone knows this story.
  • The only drawback of this feud was how long it took for Melo to be revealed as the one who attacked Trick. Even in the video package that was largely overlooked. I wonder how many casuals actually know that it happened that way?
  • Carmelo Hayes made his debut almost exactly 10 years ago, in April 2014. Trick, on the other hand debuted in late 2021, less than three years ago. That’s how fast Trick has developed.
  • With the brawling in the crowd (after the match started), and commentary constantly reminding us that Ava told the referee to provide “leniency,” you have to wonder why this match didn’t have any added stipulation/gimmick to it.
  • Nice little double dropkick spot done in a way you normally don’t see.
  • BIG BOOT!
  • Big dive to the floor from the middle rope from Melo to Trick.
  • “Justified” This Is Awesome chants, as Tony Khan would say.
  • Why did we need a ref bump in a match where the ref was already handcuffed? Let’s see …
  • So we got a chair, and a low blow. Since nothing followed the low blow, the crowd didn’t really buy the nearfall.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaand ref bump #2.
  • Another, more believable, nearfall.
  • Trick Knee finishes the match.

Winner: Trick Williams

Look, it was a great match. Was it truly a “moment?” Tommaso Ciampa called it the biggest match in NXT history. And it might be Melo’s send-off. If so, I think it fell short. Think of the things that Ciampa and Johnny Gargano did in their Takeover matches. Hell, there was a women’s 4-way on a Takeover that got crazier than this. Trick is over, but I think this one missed a third gear to make it truly great. And I hate to say it.


Greg DeMarco’s Overall Thoughts on NXT Stand & Deliver 2024

My complaints about the match order (swap the two NXT title matches), and the lack of a third gear for Trick and Melo notwithstanding, this was one hell of a show. NXT is the future, and I need to remind myself about that. It’s a different NXT now then when Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa were trying to kill each other all over the building. It’s about populating the main roster, and so many of the stars we saw today will do just that. Trick and Melo will cross paths again, even if it’s not in NXT.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this show, and the most important point is that the future is bright. Damn bright.


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