This week we had the Malik Blade & Edris Enofé release party. Wrestling Pretty Deadly for the NXT tag titles is the biggest moment of their careers and they answered the call with the quickness of a 911 operator. I put it so high because it was a great match that all those reading this should see, but I also feel like my words won’t do it justice. The simple summary is that they put the champions on the ropes and the match subverted expectations at several points where heels normally thrive. Although they eventually did, it took a lot out of them.
There’s never any shame in losing against champions and I think this performance did a lot more for them than it did for Pretty Deadly. And that doesn’t take anything away from the tag champions, either. They made Malik and Edris look really good, especially as a team that took their opponents too lightly. And their priceless facial expressions at several points said it all. To borrow a phrase from my favorite football coach, Malik and Edris pushed the champions all the way and nearly drowned them.
We rarely see wrestlers take the next step before our eyes. Take this opportunity to do just that.
Ava Raine is the newest member of The Schism! He’s the mystery person! A real “holy shit” moment if there ever was one. The schism has become much more interesting. And by that, I mean they just got interesting.
Ilja Dragunov did everything in her power. But with broken ribs and war scars Halloween havoc, he never really had a chance against JD McDonagh. The match started off perfectly with The Czar going after JD as the latter entered. Eventually the battle took its toll on Ilja’s body and the medical team almost stopped the match. At first I thought it was a bad decision, especially so early in the game, but it worked. Once the match continued, things went to another level. JD took control but Ilja showed the fire he is famous for, even selling injury psychology and JD is constantly chasing her.
Eventually, Ilja just gave in to the pain. Not on purpose, beware. His body gave out in a submission and the referee called the game. Too much punishment from JD and too much tension made this one academic. Ilja’s bloodied face and exiting the ring on a stretcher was also a nice touch, selling the brutality of the match and the utter disgust these men have for each other.
Great main event even though it didn’t have the best flow due to the early stop.
Always the champions. Always a real team
I clapped when that match ended. One because I’m a fan of Katana Chance & Kayden Carter. Two, because it was a very good game with an unpredictable finish. Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark have grown closer. They got really close. In fact, they won for a while. But the match restarted when the head referee informed the other referee that Chance was not legal when Stark pinned his shoulders to the mat. I still find it weird that WWE uses this device. It’s like you can do it once, why not always? But, alas, here we are.
Once the match restarted, all hell broke loose. Chance & Carter played a little game of divide and conquer, exerting their experience as a team on the inexperience of their opponents. Despite the fact that Stark and Lyons dressed the same, which was a really good idea, they weren’t as ready as they thought.
Shotzi faced Lash Legend this week since Ms. Legend disrespected Shotzi at Halloween havoc. The brawl was the highlight of the match, as Legend is still going from one move to the next. But, she is improving and Shotzi is a good dance partner. Another reason the brawl worked out so well is that it feels like legitimate disgust between the two. Some feuds are simply better as a fight than a wrestling match. This could be one of them if it continues past Shotzi’s win.
More and more curious…
I agree with Ivy Nile here…why. Sanga & Veer attacked Bros. Creed after Julius & Brutus celebrate the Halloween havoc win and told Damon Kemp to come get him some. Sanga hesitated for a minute as Veer cheered him on, which also hints at bigger issues between the two. Ivy wants to know why and yes, I agree.
Back like I never left
Elektra Lopez is back! After being summarily rejected for Zelina Vega, here she is back in NXT and defeating Indi Hartwell and Sol Ruca.
R Truth killed it this week. Dressed as the Joker, Truth interrupted Wes Lee and Grayson Waller to host Halloween havoc. Of course, that was a few days ago, so Truth, as usual, was late to the party. Truth vs. Grayson next week and I don’t know how I feel about it yet.
We often talk about these shows in the Cageside office in real time. And we all think NXT is in that weird place where a show like this has at least two great matches, but overall the show is overdoing it. We have at least two mysterious angles, a Toxic Attraction segment happening at this point (we get it, they’re gorgeous) and a bunch of incongruous stuff. I know NXT is in development, but the show itself needs to be cohesive like any TV show. NXT is like throwing a bunch of jelly against the wall and watching it all slide away very slowly. Sometimes something sticks because several wrestlers are pretty good at what they do, but presentation and vision are lacking.
This is my note and I stick to it. Your turn.