Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: Shotzi Blackheart almost killed herself on live television, Tegan Nox began a second job as a pizza delivery person, and Kurt Angle somewhat randomly officiated Matt Riddle’s farewell match inside the NXT FIGHT PIT. All caps.
If you’d like to read previous installments of the Best and Worst of NXT, you can do that here. Follow With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter, where everything and everyone is terrible.
And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for June 3, 2020.
Best: Johnny Curtis Of Mars
Firstly, in an increasingly darkening world full of hatred, division, and wrestling shows behind plexiglass with berated PC students not clapping well enough for everything in an otherwise empty building, it does my heart good to see Breezango back. Fandango getting hurt again so quickly after returning from injury was disappointing as hell, and I only wish a real Full Sail crowd had been there for him and Tyler Breeze dressing up like goddamn fashion astronauts.
Secondly, the moon landing entrance was faked.
And, suddenly, they’re the number one contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship and will get a title match! Sorry, let me run that through WWE’s Google translate; they’ve earned the right to a future title opportunity. Is that right? Do I need to add something about brands?
I really would’ve loved to have seen either the Undisputed Era or Oney and Twoey earn the Future Title Opportunity. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch have a great connection to Imperium through Burch and NXT UK, and Undisputed Era vs. Imperium from Worlds Collide is still my favorite match of the year so far. Well, my favorite actual match, assuming we consider Stadium Stampede more of a theatrical event than a “wrestling match.” At the same time, though, it’s good to see Breeze and Fandango get an opportunity right out of the gate to re-establish them as a (possible) top team, even if it’s just to give Imperium a brutal win against fan favorites before running into tougher competition.
Honestly, I just want good things for the final NXT “winner.” Even a big win to set up a big loss is better than what they were doing before the injury, which was escorting Jaxson Ryker’s garbage ass from horrible wrestler to horrible manager.
This Drake Maverick Situation
I don’t know what else to say about this.
It’s bad if they pretended to fire Drake Maverick and actually fired dozens of others during the middle of a global pandemic (while reporting record profits and being “largely unimpacted” by the virus), saw Drake understandably crying about it on social media, and decided to turn it into a story where he “works harder than everybody else” to earn back his job. It’s bad if they did the same thing but actually fired Drake, and then changed their minds at the expense of everyone else they released or furloughed. It’s bad that they quietly stripped Jordan Devlin of the Cruiserweight Championship due to travel restrictions he couldn’t possibly get by while insisting there are no penalties for choosing to stay at home during quarantine. It’s bad that this feels like it was a photo op for Triple H. It’s all just casually callous and capitalist as fuck at a scary time where those are two of the biggest problems facing our country.
Drake Maverick is one of my favorite performers in the company, full stop. He should have his job. El Hijo del Fantasma is an all-time top five luchador for me, and seeing him pop into WWE and win championships makes me happy. The Drake story, in a vacuum, has been really well done aside from some iffy “obstacle” finishes I didn’t really vibe with. The tournament was entertaining. The finals were good.
In case this all sounds really severe, man, there are more important things to worry about right now than WWE being terrible to the independent contractors they won’t even hire on as employees, but I need my wrestling television, at least right now, to not remind me that we’re all under the thumb of some rich asshole who can change his mind on a whim and put us on the streets, and who might change it back if we just keep working as hard as we can. It’s like looking into a mirror to see your reflection pointing back at you, laughing. Also the mirror’s on fire.
To put it more succinctly, from the voice of someone who knows way better than me,
Man….Are they going to hire everyone back then? Kind of a slap in the face to use this as a shoot work. But i guess I’m not surprised. Super happy for anyone getting there job back. But damn, real trauma and a lot of others were apart of this.
— 🥀 Ever After OUT NOW! (@itsLioRush) June 4, 2020
Worst: Welcome To Friday Night NXT
Candice LeRae and Mia Yim open the show in a match that was promoted last week, only for it to end a few minutes in by double count-out. That brings out people for a big brawl, which leads directly into Candice and Johnny Gargano against Mia and Keith Lee to set up Gargano vs. Lee at TakeOver, and a six-woman tag. The tag version of the opener also only goes about four minutes. It’s certainly a utilitarian way to spend the first 15-ish minutes of your show, and more or less the image that played in my head when they said NXT was going to leave the Network to air on USA Network opposite Dynamite every week.
No matter how much we disagree, WWE thinks that bad carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carbon copy of that mid-90s ECW trick where the matches bleed into one another is the best possible way to open their shows. Even NXT. My sweet, precious, niche NXT. [puts head in hands]
Also On This Episode
After another way too short match between Cameron Grimes and Bronson Reed — this week’s two hours had four matches under four minutes long — Karrion Kross shows up and “Doomsday Saitos” Reed to send a message to Tommaso Ciampa re: Sunday. At the risk of saying a match should be short when I literally just complained about matches being short, I hope Kross throws Ciampa at the ground three or four times at TakeOver and just pins him. I’m pretty ready to move on from the Gargano and Ciampa everything.
Aliyah and the Robert Stone Brand angle, together at last! Next week I hope they face Bull Dempsey and Jaxson Ryker, managed by the power couple of Kona Reeves and Eva Marie.
Give me a show where Dexter Lumis speed-draws caricatures while the Stranger Things music plays, please and thank you. There’s something very pro wrestling about the character, “serial killer, but also he’s nice and draws cartoons!”
Finally, Isaiah Scott wins a Cruiserweight Championship tournament losers bracket match against Tony Nese, who still isn’t great but boy, does he have abs. Nese is being managed by Jack Gallagher now, making me wish NXT would go full end-of-WCW and have Nese and Gallagher team up with the Singh Brothers, Brian Kendrick, and maybe Drew Gulak to form the 205 Live Millionaire’s Club. They could go up against Fantasma, Scott, Grimes, and KUSHIDA as the 205 Live New Blood. Let Drake Maverick be a Diamond Dallas Page type and float between them.
As a quick side note, this week’s column sounds SUPER pessimistic, and I’m sorry about that. Some of it’s real life, some of it’s mental illness as a few of you have helpfully messaged me to declare, and some of it’s just that NXT turning into a Wednesday version of Raw or Smackdown and still pretending it’s the “alternative brand” to the main roster is a bummer. It just makes me sad. This would’ve been a really good episode of Smackdown. But for NXT? I can’t.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Not A Crook
TRIPLE H: “This is your official release, you need to sign this before you leave.”
“And then 2020 hit and it was all downhill from there”
Rhea Ripley speaks for all of us.
Dave M J
“Somebody call Tom Pritchard because we’re about to witness some heavenly bodies!”
Oh my god, 83 stars, Beth Phoenix!
It was really hice of HHH to rehire Drake Maverick at severely reduced pay
HHH just tricked him into signing a 180 day non-compete
Rhea loses one match and turns into Batman after having his back broken by Bane.
This will go a long way toward turning Dexter Lumis into… a draw.
The Voice of Raisin
After that performance in the cruiserweight tournament, the Premier Athlete’s going to be relegated to the Second Division Athlete next season.
This episode of NXT has had FAR too much Pat McAfee and Sam Roberts for anyone’s liking
Baron Von Raschke
Aliyah v. Santana? Is this NXT Xplosion?
The only other things from the show worth noting are the PRIME TARGET videos, which sound like they’re created by a vengeful Terminator. They’re pretty good, at least from a conceptual standpoint, but footage of Io Shirai narrated by Sam Roberts is as close to enjoyment hypothermia as I’ve ever gotten. Undisputed Era being jerks at dinner during a pandemic is pretty amazing, though, not gonna lie. I guess you can eat however you want when your girlfriend’s a dentist. Also, wait, can Velveteen Dream actually commune with the ghost of Prince? When the hell did THAT start? Hahaha, how is that even okay? It’s like Razor Ramon calling on the ghost of Scarface. Is it really a magic mirror, or does Prince live inside Tough Enough Patrick like The Fiend lives inside Bray Wyatt?
AND HOW DID HE GET A MAGIC MIRROR AT ALL, HOW MANY SUPERNATURAL MIRRORS DO THEY HAVE AT FULL SAIL??
Anyway, that does it for this week’s Best and Worst of NXT. Sorry it got kinda heavy and downtrodden this time around. We’re not sure you ever actually read this part or do what we ask (or if you even scroll down through the top 10 comments of the week), but hey, it would really help us if you commented down below and shared the column if you liked or laughed at anything. The world’s tough, and that makes this kind of thing a lot easier.
Join us this Sunday for TakeOver: In Your House, featuring:
- Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream
- Keith Lee vs. John Wrestling
- a six-woman tag team match where Shotzi is not allowed to springboard to the floor
- Tommaso Ciampa getting got by the Spooky Clockmaker
- a priest vs. a demon
- Charlotte Flair! and others
See you then.