Previously on the Best and Worst of WWE NXT: Velveteen Dream tried to interrupt a Matt Riddle match with a couch and a goblet and found himself in some deep, sexy water, bro. Also Shayna Baszler continued her path of destruction, and Ricochet and Aleister Black won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, because they are special babies.
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 April 3, 2019.
Best: Raiding Is A Full-Time Job
This week’s show actually opens with two matches: NXT Tag Team Champions War Raiders defeating Unnamed Jobber #1 and Similarly Unnamed Jobber #2 with extreme prejudice in less than a minute, and then defeating The Boys From Brazil (Cezar Bononi and Adrian Jaoude) in about a minute-fifteen. The idea was that the second team was going to provide more of a challenge because we’ve seen them before and they have names, but … lol, nope!
I enjoyed this, because (1) War Raiders just mauling dudes like the prime-era Road Warriors is a hell of a lot of fun and a great use for the team, and because (2) if Aleister Black and Ricochet got to win a tag team tournament and compete on the main roster for both sets of Tag Team Championships this week, the NXT Tag Champs they’re facing on Friday night should probably get a few seconds to look good themselves.
Fairly certain the Raiders are gonna break some backs and make some dudes humble at TakeOver.
Worst: The Ryk Stuff
Congratulations to Jaxson Ryker of the Forgotten Sons for having the first bad Oney Lorcan match.
This was a chore to watch, and not just because it was mostly a bear hug. It’s not that Ryker’s style is the problem, either, because NXT is full of big guys who hit people hard. It’s just that Ryker is deeply, unabashedly boring to the bone, and his gimmick of “quieter but larger and more violent biker because MUSCLES” should’ve died in the “scribbled on a middle schooler’s notebook” stage. He’s just real, real bad.
It’s a shame, too, because Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake did a great job getting themselves over in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Can we jettison Xmus Jaxson Flaxon-Waxon into outer space and bring in a new roughneck guy to lead the faction? Is James Storm busy? Bring in Matt Cross as Son of Havoc or something, just get them away from this dark beige charisma vacuum.
In Other News
The most tried and true booking trope in NXT is “someone arriving to the arena only to be interrupted by a pair of heels, setting up a match for next week.” Usually it’s a duo of evil women harassing a nice lady for some reason, and the nice lady telling them to face her in the ring! That happens here, when wandering Maxxinistas Vanessa Borne and Aliyah accost Johnny Gargano’s Wife™ and end up in a match with her.
It’s fine, but I miss the Hulu days when the roster could be more creative in their approach to these bits, and you got Tyler Breeze and Neville improvising for three minutes about how they hate games instead of, “I bet you’re jealous, let’s wrestle.”
Best: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Shirai Again
Finally, because most of this episode is just promotional videos for NXT TakeOver, we get the main event of Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair. Sane is A+ all the time, of course, and Bianca’s getting there. She gets a little better every time she goes out and has a match a little out of her depth like this, and it’s good that she’s continuing to grow instead of plateauing like the Baron Corbins of the world.
It ends with another non-finish, though, with Horsepersons arriving and it devolving into a big schmozz. The brawl ends with Io Shirai going up top and moonsaulting onto everybody, proving once again that she’s the only person currently independently contracted by WWE who should be allowed to moonsault from the top rope to the floor. I hope they eventually give her more character development beyond “she’s Kairi Sane’s friend and has a dope moonsault,” but both of those things are positive, so I’m fine with it. I’m a little worried that her standing tall with the NXT Women’s Championship over her head to end the go-home show because it means she probably won’t win at TakeOver, but I’m pretty happy with anyone from that match being champ, and secretly want the Shayna Baszler championship reign to last forever.
It’s the always good NXT TakeOver pre-show episode, featuring:
- Street Profits vs. Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner, which should be great times ten
- Candice LeRae vs. Aliyah, which is a positive step toward making Candice an actual wrestler again
And in two weeks, Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic: The Next Chapter. See you at TakeOver, everybody. Remember, it’s happening on Friday night, not Saturday. Here’s everything you need to know.