Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their official debut like a Final Fantasy X summon, and Charlotte Flair showed us what’s waiting for Io Shirai should she ever get sent to Raw.
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 May 13, 2020.
Best: Welcome To Armageddon (2003)
I want to give NXT credit here for preying on the subconscious of the longtime fans. Anyone who was watching at the time remembers WWE’s liberal use of ‘The End,’ the Jim Johnston composed Doors sound-a-like that welcomed us to such pay-per-views as Armageddon, and sometimes Judgment Day. That’s going to immediately trigger a response in our brains that makes us realize Karrion Kross and Scarlett are bringing Armageddon and Judgment Day to NXT. There’s levels to this.
Worst: It’s Clobberin’ Tim
This week’s most important plot development is the sudden but inevitable betrayal of Timothy Thatcher, who decides a relatively innocuous Malfunction At The Junction is enough to abandon not only his tag team partner, but the NXT Tag Team Championship he has now both won and lost by doing nothing. I fully expected a turn here — all we’ve gotten about Thatcher as a character is that he’s (kayfabe) boring and kinda looks like Drew Gulak with marbles in his mouth — but I thought for sure it’d be because Timbo realized he preferred Imperium’s violent dutifulness to Riddle’s weed and paddleboats. I thought maybe we’d get the full Ric Flair turning on Sting treatment, but nope, Thatcher’s just out of place and gets a calf to the shoulder and suddenly he’s willing to forfeit a WWE championship 28 days into his debut. Seems pretty harsh, Tim.
The good news here is that Imperium managed to pick up the NXT Tag Team Championship after having somehow never been NXT UK Tag Team Champions. Aichner and Bartel have been doing awesome work this year, and if Thatcher’s seriously not getting fitted for a tracksuit, their win can move off in its own direction with a new story while Riddle handles his grapplefuckery elsewhere.
I sincerely hope a jump to Imperium is in the plans for next week, because if not, they seriously undercut Thatcher’s turn. They did the turn, and before even that one episode of television could be over and allow us a moment to breathe, they did two backstage dust-ups and a blow-off match where the guy who turned loses clean. They just hustled right on through it. Thatcher attacks Riddle after the match to keep it going, but I think they severely overestimate the power of a post-match attack. At some point I want someone to be like, “I think you’re an asshole and a poor sport for jumping me after the match, but hey, I won, so, point proven,” and move on with their lives.
P.S. I want them to play out the Riddle vs. Thatcher and Imperium story until the quarantine’s passed so Pete Dunne can make a triumphant return, only for Riddle to suddenly decide he also thinks wrestling mats should be worshipped and leave us heart-bro-ken by attacking Stallion Pete.
P.P.S. I don’t actually want that, I want Riddle and Dunne to be best friends forever, I think my brain’s just used to seeing a wrestling story and immediately breaking it down psychologically until it’s emotionally wounded and tragic. It might do that with everything, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.
Demon Vs. Priest, Get It
In other betrayal of trust news, ‘Infamous At Archery’ Damian Priest reveals himself as the mysterious Finn Bálor attacker from a few weeks ago and attacks him again, causing him to lose a fall to cruiserweight George Steele Cameron Grimes. It’s a Priest versus a Demon! That’s too much of a lay-up to miss, isn’t it? It’d be a good way to establish that even though Finn’s super cereal about everything these days doesn’t mean he can’t still draw from the well of Unstoppable Witchcraft.
Best/Worst: This Week In The Largely Unnecessary Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
I don’t know if it’s by design of if someone went over their time, but both Cruiserweight Championship tournament matches were dreadfully short. Jake Atlas versus Tony Nese only got five minutes, and Isaiah Scott versus Jack Gallagher only got three and a half. I guess since these were “so and so is already eliminated from the tournament so they’re just playing SPOILER” matches they didn’t want to do much with them?
The positives are that Jake Atlas looked really good again, and it appears we’re both attempting to develop Isaiah Scott’s personality beyond a nickname and a look and give him some semblance of a plot to work with, as Tony Nese jumps him during his entrance. It’s something, and nobody had to get kidnapped in the parking lot to make it happen!
Women’s Division Content
The NXT women’s division, which seemed so stacked with talent only a few months ago, has been whittled down to jobber squashes and Aliyah angles. I’m starting to think that trading Bianca Belair and half of Rhea Ripley for a dismissively dominant Charlotte Flair might have been bad for the division. It just feels to me like the air’s been let out of the room. Honestly it’d probably be really great if they played it up more like the NXT competitors are in her league, and less like Charlotte’s Giannis Antetokounmpo joining a pick-up game at your local YMCA. This is all not meant to be as dramatic as it sounds. “I don’t meant this to sound so dramatic” should be the title of my memoir.
Anyway, Tegan Nox gets a strong win over Indi Hartwell, who’s in the same PC class as Shotzi Blackheart and Scarlett. It’s almost confusing seeing Tegan doing anything on NXT without Dakota Kai involved, so that’s probably a good thing to do more often. Kai only appears in this video package about how she and Raquel just wanna put on club clothes and ride motorcycles in the mall parking lot.
In other women’s division action, Aliyah tries to win the representation of the Robert Stone Brand® in a match against Kayden Carter and loses, because of course she does. Aliyah is like if early NXT Bayley was mean instead of nice. Robert Stone walks away disappointed, as though flamboyantly representing jobbers isn’t already his thing. What happened to Vanessa Borne, did she die?
Also On This Episode
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae throw shade at Keith Lee and Mia Yim over dinner, which feels like a mistake. Mostly I just want to know if the black and white shift with the camera shakes is something we’re to assume WWE production or Johnny and Candice themselves edited in later, or if they’re CAUSING it with their EVIL. Is that why the nWo camera was always black and white and moving around?
Three mall Santas stop tailgating the Steelers game long enough to tell us about NXT TakeOver: In Your House on June 7. If nobody wins a house, I’m calling bullshit.
Finally, this week’s episode of The BayBay Bunch features an explanation for Kyle O’Reilly’s absence — he’s starring in a movie about nuns that fight ghosts only to fall in love and tragically die that co-stars Daniel Day Lewis, Danny DeVito, or some combination of the two — and the decision that Roderick Strong, as always, should be the lead stormtrooper in charge of handling Adam Cole’s problems. Needs more FlimFlamming. See you never, Denster Loonis.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
King of Smark Style
Friend: Yo wat u gunna do with your stimulus check
Regal: back in my day we just voted Thatchers out.
Dave M J
If Shotzi Blackheart rolls in with her tank and blows up Triple H and Shawn, she’s my favorite wrestler ever
“I am starting to not like NXT right now…”
NXT: Hey, you wanna watch Keith Lee vs. Evil Johnny Gargano?
Me: …sigh. Yes.
Baron Von Raschke
This video segment is just showing that Dakota Kai did nothing wrong and she is completely justified in her actions!
Timothy Thatcher is the only one I’ve seen ever stomp on Riddle’s bare feet and he’s done it twice in the last 5 minutes. That immediately makes him the smartest on the NXT roster and one of my new favorites
Aliyah screwing up the second someone important starts paying attention to her seems a little too on-the-nose.
I refuse to believe Regal would give Matt Riddle his number
Dunne is gonna swim from England to Florida to kick Thatcher’s ass and I can’t wait
I think advertisers might be the biggest heels of the whole pandemic.
Just realized that after that Dakota promo, all my Debbie Gibson posters are now Tiffany posters
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of NXT. 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 here next week for Kushida vs. Drake Maverick, Akira Tozawa vs. El Hijo del Fantasma, and Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley. A dream card in the hands of anyone reasonable. See you then!