News NXT recap & reactions: Standing around

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NXT returned last night (Feb. 26) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

Moving On


The main event of this week’s episode was, not surprisingly, Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair.

The match was enjoyable. I like watching two powerful people match up and this was that type of bout. It the type of match that looked rough in the way that it felt like a fight but not in the way it was too sloppy.

The end felt rushed though. Like they were pressed for time. Belair hit a spear. Charlotte pretty much no sold it to hit a spear of her own and then won with a quick Natural Selection. It was an abrupt end to a match that was enjoyable otherwise.

But it really went downhill in the post match angle.

Charlotte grabbed a chair and used it to stomp the ankle of Belair. Rhea Ripley came out to make the save casually do her entrance pose while Bianca was injured.

Seriously, this was a bad way to go off the air. Either don’t run the beat down angle and allow Ripley posture or go with the post match attack and have Rhea run down to try to help. Doing both looked bad.

It’ll be interesting to see if this is the end of the line for Bianca in this angle. The loss was clean, but there’s heat there due to the post match attack. We’ll see.

What’s next?


Finn Bálor looks to be on a collision with Imperium and probably WALTER for the UK title.

After another strong promo from the Prince putting himself over, Imperium (well just Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) interrupted, preventing his announcement regarding what’s next. He tried to fight them both but instead took a beat down.

I don’t watch NXT UK, but even I’m excited about Finn vs. WALTER if that’s where they go (and it should be where they go).

It’ll be very interesting to see if this will be a feud that happens exclusively on NXT UK or if NXT prime will also host some of the story to entice fans to watch UK on Thursdays. I also wonder if this means Finn won’t have a spot at Tampa, if this match will happen at Tampa, or if he’ll be running two different stories at once.

Role Reversal


Johnny Gargano got some more shots in on Tommaso Ciampa this week.

Ciampa successfully defeated Austin Theory in a very competitive match. In fact, sometimes I think matches in WWE/NXT are too competitive. They’re all pretty much the same level of competitiveness so they all kind of feel the same. But that’s not an issues specifically match or even an NXT/WWE specific issue. It’s just something I think about wrestling occasionally. What’s to differentiate levels of talents if all the matches are similarly competitive?

Tangent aside, after the match, Johnny Turncoat attacked Ciampa wearing a pastel blazer with a Tommaso shirt tucked into his waste.

This was by the books, but I did appreciate Gargano channeling his own inner pyscho killer when he sat on the ring apron next to his fallen friend. Throwing Tommaso onto the “TakeOver: Tampa” logo on the floor was a bit too in your face, but surely got the point across about when this match would happen.

A bit of revenge


It felt like NXT did some proper correction with Dakota Kai tonight in regards to her early booking against Mia Yim.

After Dakota’s heel turn at War Games, a feud with Mia Yim took the shine off it immediately. Mia got the better of the new villain almost every step of the way. It forced NXT to almost restart the issues with Kai and Tegan Nox at the #1 contenders battle royal.

Tonight, Kai and her new bodyguard Raquel González interrupted Mia Yim’s match with Xia Li. That distraction allowed Li to pick up the win. Then Raquel beat both Yim and Xia up.

Hopefully this leads to Kai getting actually getting the better of Mia now that she has González in her corner.

This segment didn’t help Xia too much. The win means nothing because it was cheap and she was then beat up. But it’ll probably lead to a tag match that will get Li a bit more time on TV.

Derailed


Cameron Grimes picked up a huge win over Dominik Dijakovic with the Cave In. It wasn’t a clean win. Damian Priest attacked Djiakovic’s surgically repaired knee when the ref’s back was turned which immediately led to the finish.

This was fine. Honestly, Grimes still hasn’t clicked in NXT for me. He’s a good wrestler, and his matches are usually fun, but he hasn’t done anything to make me want to see him more. I’ve enjoyed him in the past as Trevor Lee in Impact, but that hasn’t translated to Wednesday nights. He hasn’t gotten much of a chance to show us his character’s personality and because of that, he hasn’t had a chance to refine it, and we haven’t had a chance to accept or reject it.

I kind of feel similar about Damian Priest, though not to the same degree. But goth partier isn’t enough to get me really excited to see Priest and Dijakovic, who we all want to see facing Keith Lee again instead.

All the Rest:


- Killian Dain defeated Bronson Reed this week. Or another way of saying it: The Beast of Belfast best Bronson in battle of beefy bois.

- The Forgotten Sons stepped up to the Grizzled Young Vets tonight to defend American’s honor. They lost. Sorry, America. (This was a really fun match though.)


To be honest, I’ve been a bit... bored with? less interested in?... NXT lately. It’s not bad at all. You’re guaranteed a some good matches and there’s not any bad stories. It is still a solid two hours of wrestling.

But there’s no story that’s jumping off the page. Everything is kind of by the books. And it’s possible one of their most interesting characters is going to be jumping to NXT UK.

Hopefully, the next couple weeks will light some stories up.

Grade: B-

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