Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: Finn Bálor returned to make a kinda bored-sounding impact in NXT. In more important news, CIAMPA BACK.
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 October 9, 2019.
Best: Rush, A Farewell To Kings
This week’s most important development is twofold; the WWE Cruiserweight Championship is now the “NXT Cruiserweight Championship,” and Lio Rush is the new champion. Rush went from taken off TV for months and not knowing whether or not he was still going to have a job from day to day to being a singles champion on WWE’s best brand. Good for him. [my man intensifies] Pretty wild to put the 205-pounds-and-less division on NXT and still separate them like this, though, considering the heaviest NXT Champion since Drew McIntyre dropped it in August of 2017 is Aleister Black at 215. Plus, I’m not sure how much NXT needs three singles men’s titles. Four if you count the United Kingdom Championship, since the UK champ’s hanging out. When your TakeOver cards are already only five matches long, do you need three men’s titles, a women’s title, and tag titles? Not everything needs a belt, y’all.
Regardless, this was as clever and exciting as you’d expect from Gulak and Rush. “The Come-Up” is a good name for Rush’s bottom rope stunner, although anyone with sense should’ve called it, “The Bottom Line.” Part of me wants the draft to randomly bring Bobby Lashley to Full Sail so he can be Lio’s hype man, but I’m not sure I could handle watching him hook up with Candice LeRae on the counter at Gargano’s.
Best: Men At Work
Mauro Ranallo got to that reference before Breezango even made it to the ramp, bless his heart. I’m just disappointed he didn’t get to break out, “MALFUNCTION AT THE CONSTRUCTION JUNCTION!”
Is Breezango’s new gimmick that they’re fashionably running through tag team re-imaginings of the Village People? First we had hot cops, and now we’ve got hot construction workers. In case you missed it, Breezango is supposed to face nu metal band slash biscuit flour spokespersons Ever-Rise on this episode, but The Acceptable French-Canadians get preemptively attacked by the Forgotten Sons. Are Breeze and Dango feuding with the Sons now so they can show up to the TakeOver: War Games pre-show dressed like sexy bikers?
I could honestly live without any Forgotten Sons content on my weekly wrestling program, but aside from that finish, Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake are a really solid tag team. Plus, Cutler and Blake wrestling while TV’s Gunner stands on the outside looking vaguely menacing is the best possible arrangement of the group.
Worst: About A Boa
Here’s another entire Cameron Grimes match in a single GIF. I’m not sure what they think he’s getting out of being able to jump on the only people in the promotion to sprint right at him. It’s like Super Mario standing on the first screen of 1-1, stomping that first goomba and thinking he’s awesome. Grimes has a hat and everything.
The larger point of the match seems to be this appearance from Killian Dain, who shows up to randomly accost people, presumably in response to losing that number one contender street fight to Matt Riddle a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t completely worked it out yet, but if Dain’s going to wrestle Cameron Grimes soon, I’m going to call it “the Beast of Belfast vs. the Beast of Bell-Fast.” It’s going to be very funny.
Worst: A Bad Dream
NXT has been great since going to USA so I’m not going to make any grand declarations about it being too much like the main roster shows, but Velveteen Dream showing up with dick-related photoshop burns is straight out of hour two of Raw. Roderick Strong gets a strong and also very roderick win over Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, only to be told he’s got a widdle pee-pee that everybody laughs at. You know a bit’s dumb when they’ve got me rooting for Roderick Strong to kick a guy’s ass.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 10, 2019
On the bright side, they also have Tommaso Ciampa show up and put the fear of a creationist’s God into these former members of Evolve. I don’t know how long we’ll have to wait to see Ciampa get physical again, but I guarantee you it’ll be plenty violent, and probably won’t involve him hunching over Adobe Photoshop in the middle of the night, dragging and dropping a Ghostbusters circle and slash over a blurred-out mirco-penis.
Best, Mostly: The Race To Be The Next Person To Get Their Ass Kicked By Shayna Baszler
Rip vs. Aliyah is this week’s best opportunity to say RIP to Aliyah. GORILLA CLUTCH, DOG. GORILLA CLUTCH ALL DAY LONG.
I really enjoy the enthusiasm and intensity Ripley’s bringing to her wins in NXT Domestic lately. Too many WWE “monster” types just kinda stand in place seething and doing BIG EYES to show how mean and intense they are. Ripley seems to take a sincere joy in hurting people with wrestling moves, whether she’s doing muscle poses while pinning people off the Riptide or swinging Aliyah around by the legs like she’s a damn child. Love her.
We also got Bianca Belair going over Dakota Kai, and dropping a GIRL UH UH on Ripley for thinking she can get a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship without going through her first. I thought the booking was a little strange here, as Kai just returned and has a ready-made story with Baszler, while Belair’s already challenged for (and failed to win) the championship numerous times. Maybe they’re going old school NXT with Kai and giving her the full Bayley treatment, where we have to officially get sick and tired of watching her take a backseat to her contemporaries and root her to the championship. I guess you aren’t an underdog if you don’t go under a lot.
Best: Capital Carnage
Finally we have WALTER vs. KUSHIDA, a match that would make me type in capital letters even if I didn’t have to. This is easily KUSHIDA’s best match since joining NXT and the first time he’s truly felt like the star he is, and WALTER is such a believable, monster threat right now it’s ridiculous. I applaud them for actually going with a finish here, too, as they could’ve easily just had Imperium jog out and cause a disqualification or whatever to set up some dumb future rematch. Nope, they just had KUSHIDA get within an inch of victory only to be driven into the figurative manure truck by Austrian Biff Tannen.
One of my favorite things about NXT’s roster being so deep and varied right now is that a few weeks ago, I’d never even considered a WALTER vs. KUSHIDA match. They introduced the concept, immediately made it sound like a dream match, then followed through by making it a match worthy of a dream. They created, executed, and concluded. I didn’t have to wait six months and wade through 35 tag team matches with non-finishes to get to the thing I wanted to see, and while I’m as much to blame for wanting WWE to tell complex and lengthy stories, it feels good to just tune in and get what you expect sometimes. Plus, I know in a couple of weeks NXT’s gonna pull some other random dream match out of their asses like, “Cesaro vs. Tyler Bate? Yeah?” and I’m gonna go “!!!” until I’m in a black and yellow diabetic coma about it.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
The Real Birdman
I flipped over & WALTER was literally standing on KUSHIDA’s face. Outstanding
Rhea Ripley should show up kick Dakota Kai in the knee and say “I’m sorry I thought you were Teagan Nox” and hit her again.
Dave M J
WALTER HAS PINNED A GUY WHILE BEING THE CHAMPION
Baron Von Raschke
Bobby Fish: Who’s your opponent tonight, Roddy?
Roderick Strong: Some guy…Think they said he used to go by Killshot?
Adam Cole: Killshot?
Kyle O’Reilly: More like “NO SHOT!” [plays air guitar on title belt]
Everyone has a few favorite wrestlers that go years and years as bridesmaids, for some insane reason, and I’m not joking when I say Gulak winning the Cruiserweight title after THREE YEARS of being the highlight of 205 Live might’ve been my favorite WWE moment of 2019. And it happened on Stomping Grounds. Go figure.
Ah NXT…where the only thing putting people to sleep is a WALTER sleeper hold and not the actual product.
Aliyah was 24 years old.
Not A Crook
next week’s NXT should start with KUSHIDA still lying on the mat
And finally, a Jason Jordan two-fer.
Jason Jordan is watching this wondering why Velveteen Dream isn’t throwing vegetables at UE from that balcony.
Jason Jordan really should have joined The Forgotten Sons by now
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 10, 2019
Keith Lee and Dominick Dijakovic have their FINAL BATTLE for hoss supremacy, Pete Dunne and Damien Priest discuss the difficulty of archery when your fingers are broken, and Tommaso Ciampa takes on Angel Garza for the … honor of Queen Cathy? I wasn’t quite sure what was going on in that bit. Oh, and in two weeks, Roderick Strong takes his so smol genitals into battle against the Velveteen Dream, who better be doing Alex Wright cosplay. See you then!