The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 8/28/19: Ripley, Believe It Or Not

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Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: Jordan Myles of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints announced his intention to challenge Adam Cole (baybay) for the NXT Championship. Also, Shayna Baszler offered Mia Yim a spot in her cool girl posse and Mia turned it down, which is just foolish.

If you missed this episode, you can watch it here.

If you’d like to read previous installments of the Best and Worst of NXT, click right 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 August 28, 2019.

A Brief Note About Last Week’s Column

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In last week’s column I forgot to talk about Damian Priest vs. Mansoor, because (1) it happened at the top of the show and must’ve slipped my mind, and (2) my brain can only hold information on so many Baron Corbins at a time.

I do want to take a moment to talk about how hilarious the nickname, the “Archer of Infamy” is. Sometimes Mauro Ranallo gets so into making up a cool-sounding nickname that he doesn’t really think it through, so you get Damian Priest, a guy who … is infamous for being a good archer? Or does he shoot infamy at you like arrows? He does the King Cuerno bow-and-arrow taunt before he hits Cross Rhodes, but there’s nothing “arrow” about it. At least Cuerno does it to set up his dive through the ropes. Ah well, it’s still better and more well-thought-out than, “the extraordinary man who does EXTRA ordinary things!”

Jobbers Of The Week

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Stepping into the ring to get her ass completely removed and handed back to her by evil Io Shirai is Cami Fields. You may know her better as independent wrestler and WOW Women of Wrestling star Holidead, aka one half of the Twisted Sisterz with Thunder Rosa. Beth Phoenix sounded like a robot reading her Wikipedia page as she walked to the ring. “We have also seen Cami Fields, on, Monday Night Raw, against, former NXT Superstar Bayley.”

I really like that she’s visibly so much bigger than Shirai, but Io’s got such Big Stick Energy that the size differential isn’t even worth mentioning. I also liked Candice LeRae sticking up for the little guy and saving Fields from a kendo stick beatdown, although I question the intelligence of losing to Io at TakeOver and being like, “You know what would’ve made this better? If I’d spent most of it being hit in the face with a stick.”

Best: NXT TakeOver Full Sail

Holy shit.

Look, if you need to know how much fun this match was, I tried to GIF it for the column and realized it’d need its own GIF listicle. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. At least watch it in GIF form a few dozen times.

These two guys really are magic together. It’s hard to even explain. It’s just two unusually-sized guys with unusual movesets going all in and saying, “yeah, let’s just go nuts every time we go out there.” Their matches always come with so much built-in storytelling and ambition, and, “two special guys compete to see who is MOST SPECIAL,” is a wrestling trope we haven’t really seen enough. It’s like the worker equivalent of Hogan vs. Warrior. It’s fantastic. The dive catching, the Fosbury flopping, the goddamn Spanish Fly, the melodramatic staredowns, all of it. ALL OF IT. I want these two to get a TakeOver main event one of these days and go backflipping off the set through the stage, or whatever.

That’s followed by Undisputed Era shocking the system world by unseating the Street Profits as NXT Tag Team Champions. While it didn’t quite have the drama and crowd reaction of the TakeOver match, it was still very good, and went a long way toward reminding us why ReDRagon — pronounced “re-doctor-A-gone” — is one of the very best tag teams in the world. O’Reilly and Strong was … well, strong, but O’Reilly and Fish is perfection. Dirtbag perfection.

I think the drama of the match could’ve been improved had the Street Profits not suspiciously stopped wearing the NXT Tag Team Championship during their Raw appearances, but it is what it is. The Street Profits as actual pro wrestlers remains greater than the Street Profits as a backstage Greek chorus. Really dug the finish here, which used a successful spear, a countered spear, and a dodged frog splash to put four guys in perfect position for the killing blow.

Oh, and welcome back, belt guitar.

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I don’t know if it’s what they’re doing, but I’d love it if Adam Cole and the “dripping in gold” prophecy led to Strong winning the North American Championship and O’Reilly and Fish defending the tag straps at TakeOver, only for Adam Cole himself to be the one who loses. And that could lead to (either then, or after a failed second attempt) Undisputed Era turning on and usurping him as their leader. It’d be just desserts for leading a four-man team and saying the Mt. Rushmore of NXT should be your face four times.

Best: Rip ‘Em

Aside from those two stellar outings and Io Shirai being the coolest person in the world, the only other plot development outside of video packages was NXT UK‘s Rhea Ripley showing up like a bad-ass Mad Max super hero to challenge NXT Domestic Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. Seeing Rhea go from a non-entity at Full Sail to a dream match participant with crazy crowd reactions thanks to NXT UK makes me feel good about the point and future of that brand.

I think I state the obvious when I say I’m extremely into two Primos in spiked leather jackets having a Mayhem Party on TV and/or at the next TakeOver. One thing WWE women’s wrestling could still use is an emphasis on how tough more of the competitors are, and less on who is jealous of who for what.

Next Week:

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Can I just say real quick how much I love that NXT booked a tournament to set up a new contender for the NXT Championship? That’s some basic, wrestling-centric booking that people are always asking for and rarely ever get. By doing this they tested the water on eight new guys, got a few of them over already, and used wrestling + freshness to give the NXT Champion a viable, contextually appropriate new challenger so he can be free to start up his next TakeOver rivalry on the first episode of live NXT on USA. He could also be jumped by, oh, let’s say, Tommaso Ciampa?