Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: Timothy Thatcher confirmed the theory that he is not Matt Riddle’s bro by abandoning him to lose the Tag Team Championship, attacking him backstage, and then attacking him again after he lost a one-on-one match. Also, NXT Superstars D-Generation X announced an In Your House special.
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 20, 2020.
Best: Shotzi Blackheart Tanks
Up first this week I have to talk about this Shotzi Blackheart promo, in which she sounds like she’s a contestant on MTV’s Next.
“My name is Shotzi Blackheart, from Oakland, California. My motto in life is T … C … B; take care of business! I am balls to the wall! Who’s your daddy? I’m your daddy! Some people like to take Ubers, some people like to take cars … but I like to ROCK, and this is how I roll!”
“My name is Shotzi, I’m 27 years old, and I love tanks! And after our date, the boys will ALL be saying tanks!” By the end of it she sounded like Rick Sanchez listing off all his imaginary catchphrases. “I am just like tank. Because tanks don’t give a shit! UH OH, SOMERSAULT JUMP! LICK LICK LICK M’BALLS!” I love it. I wish the show as just two hours of Shotzi doing dramatic poses on a tank and saying asinine shit about how she’s a TESTICLE WEREWOLF who ROCKS YOUR BUTTHOLES and TANKS NO PRISONERS.
Also I wish we’d gotten a cutaway where Triple H is watching and asks, “Wait, is that what a tank looks like? I’ve been calling jeeps tanks!”
Best: You’ll Get Caught Up In The Kross Fire
Going from one “daddy” to another, Tommaso Ciampa interrupts Karrion Kross’ victory over the dreaded LIAM to challenge him for NXT TakeOver: In Our Gym. Ciampa should watch himself, though, because if he fought gentle Cleveland baby Johnny Gargano for the better part of a dramatically produced hour and lost to a kick in the butt, what’s he gonna do when he’s in there against, for all intents and purposes, … the Anti-Christ? What’s Karrion Kross’ character, exactly? A guy who teams up with his goth girlfriend to bring about the Biblical end times with foggy suplexes?
P.S. this is for real the best Northern Light suplex I’ve ever seen.
Kross and Scarlett are money, and easily the freshest thing on these quarantine shows. Their entrance is only going to get better and more fine-tuned the more they do it. I hope Kross completely wrecks Ciampa at TakeOver and beats him as easily as he beat LIAM. Let’s raise the stakes on this shit and cut it out with the hour of mindless kick-outs.
Worst: [squints in editor]
Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong was solid — I like that Lumis is so deranged he can’t feel pain so he’s like the serial killer version of Lenny form Of Mice and Men, and I especially love that a member of the Undisputed Era won a match by their goddamn self — but I want to talk about the post-match … well, I wanted to call it a “stunt,” but I guess it’s more accurate to call it a, “hilarious edit.”
So, Lumis tries to counter the Strong Hold by twisting it into a roll-up, but Strong just sits down on it and pins him. Lumis, being a poor sport and also a serial killer, handles the loss by slithering over to the apron on his belly and grabbing Strong in the Jake Hager Clutch. Undisputed Era show up to make the save but can’t get Lumis off Roddy, so Adam Cole preps for (presumably) a superkick. That gets him jumped from behind by Lumis’ also very weird friend, the Velveteen Dream. Dream goes up top and hits a Purple Rainmaker from the top rope to the cement floor. It would’ve been a hell of a visual if the cut hadn’t been so obvious, and they’d ignored some pretty crucial editing elements like Dream’s legs being on the right of Cole on the way down, but somehow landing off to his left. See if you can see what I’m talking about:
Maybe he swung his legs over at the last minute, like Lacey Evans? I really hope someone got fired for this blunder!
Best, Then Worst: The WWE Brands Super Show Starring Charlotte Flair
The ratings aren’t going to go up unless Charlotte Flair is featured heavily on three shows per week, so here she is popping in at the end of Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley to get involved and set up the triple threat they probably had in mind for Bianca Belair before they called her up to Raw and then immediately put her to the side in favor of pick-up basketball games and hilarious axe throwing contests.
I could’ve lived without every aspect of the finish, especially if it’s just to set up a triple threat where Charlotte can lose the title without getting pinned, but 10 minutes of Ripley vs. Shirai is always welcome. I’m excited to see what Charlotte does this Friday on Smackdown, and how she follows it up on Raw, and how she follows that up on NXT, and how that builds momentum heading into Smackdown. Can we get Charlotte on 205 Live already? She’s billed at 150 pounds, which is definitely not what a 5-foot-10 person coated in muscles would weigh, but I’m sure she’d make the limit, and I’m sure she’d kick the ever-loving shit out of the Bollywood Boyz.
Best/Worst: This Week In The Largely Unnecessary Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
Mr. Monday Night Akira Tozawa uses all his Wednesday stat buffs to try to top El Hijo del Fantasma, but it’s not meant to be. To make matters worse, he forgets about all the recent muggings and kidnappings and wanders out into the Full Sail parking lot, where he’s jumped by the Lucha Car Party. Two notes:
- Love that Ultimo Dragon shirt. We got Liger for a match in NXT, can we bring in Ultimo Dragon to wrestle KUSHIDA or something?
- The fact that Fantasma is the only guy to avoid a Conquistador conquering in the parking lot and the weird blocking of this attack where he’s trapped in his car and can’t help definitely means he’s the one behind the kidnappings, doesn’t it? I’m into it, don’t get me wrong, I just want to find out Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza got taxidermied and displayed in his home.
On the other side of the NXT1 Classic we’ve got Drake Maverick pinning KUSHIDA, which is a sentence fragment I never thought I’d type. After the pin (which was thankfully a total surprise, and not a situation where KUSHIDA was ever in any real danger of getting his ass kicked and beaten), NXT General Manager Byron Saxton (or whatever) pops in to tell us that thanks to a three-way tie in the block, we’re getting a playoff triple threat between KUSHIDA, Maverick, and Maverick’s very nice and helpful friend who DEFINITELY won’t do anything shady to cost him the block, Jake Atlas. Congratulations on being the only guy in your block to lose, Tony Nese.
The Atlas thing is a pessimistic joke, by the way, as WWE’s kinda beaten me into accepting that nobody who helps you is really your friend and life’s every man for himself. Real life concerns about the angle aside, it would be funny as shit though if Jake Atlas spent weeks being like, “no, Drake Maverick, BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS,” only to roll him up, eliminate him from the tournament, and send him packing out of WWE entirely with a, “HA! STOLE YOUR DREAMS!”
Fantasma vs. KUSHIDA seems like the obvious final, but it’s too good to be true, isn’t it? Maverick finding a way to get all the way to the finals only to find out that (surprise!) this luchador has been in charge of all the luchador attacks going down at Full Sail would be pretty compelling, I think. And then Jordan Devlin shows up with the actual Cruiserweight Championship again and is all, “WHY ARE THERE SO MANY LIGEROS ALL OF A SUDDEN, WHAT’S GOING ON?”
Also On This Episode
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, who are deeply in love with kicking ass, get a strong tag team win over Ovaries. There is so much room to grow for a team of basic-looking bald guys who are so into kicking ass that you can practically see their blood boiling. Plus, we never really got a good enough followup to Oney and Twoey’s RAGE REVIVAL bit.
Mia Yim takes out Santana Garrett this week and runs afoul of Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano, the corrupted and deluded married couple who have let their sense of self-worth cloud their judgment and make them forget Keith Lee exists. So they pick on Mia and start shit, and Keith jogs out to make the save. Honestly, I want to see how high Keith could throw Johnny. I bet he could hit the lights if he really tried. Huge bonus points if this sets up the match for In Your House, and they actually just let all four of them wrestle without the dumb “mixed tag team match” rules. Johnny and Mia are like the exact same size, nobody cares what you think about bone density. People are getting kidnapped by masked wrestlers in the parking lot, we aren’t doing an MMA sim over here.
Damian Priest, as good as he is, really looks like an unfinished gimmick now that Killer Kross is around. Kross’ “FALL AND PREY” side graphics are in the same flaming letters as Priest’s entrance video and everything. Regardless, Priest wants to “live forever” by I guess eating Finn Bálor’s heart and stealing his power, or whatever, because Finn needs something to do while WALTER’s waiting for the okay to fly across the Atlantic and open-hand slap Finn’s entire rib cage out of his body.
Finally, Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle agree to have a cage match where you can only win by knockout or submission. Please, for the love of God, I’m BEGGING YOU to bring back the Lion’s Den match for this. I know y’all have it in storage still. Give me Thatcher and Riddle grapplefucking inside an enormous reusable K-Cup, please and thank you. Get Dan Severn to ref it. LET’S DO THIS.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
That Shotzi promo package was like Connor’s “catchphrase verse” from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Kushida must feel terrible that this is the time line he was stranded in
You know it just occurred to me, what if Charly calling Edge/Orton the best match of all time was actually just low key Savage Charly sarcasm? Like what’s more cruel than putting the burden of getting a five star match out of Orton on Edge’s shoulders.
@BrodieLee: “It’s Wednesday. You know what that means.”
Forget about weight classes, Keith Lee is, pounce-for-pounce, the best athlete in the world.
Yes he is prone to sneak attacks, but Ciampa truly understands how terrifying being seen and slowly, confidently walking towards someone to woop their ass can be.
KUSHIDA wrestling this match like Maverick’s arm is gonna be his gift for Becky Lynch’s baby shower
DEVLIN: “why do they keep forgetting to call it the *Interim* NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament?”
SAMI ZAYN: “oh Jordan, you beautiful tropical fish.”
Baron Von Raschke
Jake Atlas looking like Bruce Campbell in Spider-Man about to announce BONESAW!
Keith Lee: “Who in the Blue Hell records themselves eating dinner!?”
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 an Adam Cole championship anniversary celebration, KUSHIDA vs. Drake Maverick vs. Jake Atlas for a match against El Hijo del Fantasma, and Stallion Matt versus Regular Horse Timothy in a cage match. See you then!