Wrestling

NXT recap and reactions: Judgment Day runs Tuesdays too?

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Tony D’Angelo’s freedom. Ivy Nile’s temptation, and Trick Melo Gang’s fight with Judgment Day all on this week’s NXT.

Four Minutes to Lockdown

Rhea Ripley is the star on Monday nights. Raw is her show and I don’t understand any argument that disagrees. But she takes her talents to South Beach Orlando this week and meets Tuesday’s star, Carmelo Hayes.

I’m happy Judgment Day didn’t dominate the show. They opened the show, as they should, and let Finn talk his talk. Melo & Trick Williams showed up, talked their talk, and set up the main event: Trick Melo Gang vs. Judgment Day.

Judgment Day’s next appearance came when Dirty Dom challenged Wes Lee to a North American Championship match next week. Once again, spreading the Judgment Day out but using them correctly. Dom vs. Wes? I don’t predict a wrestling classic but I see something fun that provides Mustafa Ali an opening on his future opponent.

And we saw or heard nothing from Raw’s main event until, well, NXT’s main event.

While everyone looked good, Trick shined. I say this a lot but we need more of him in the ring because he has a spark. He handled his own against Damian Priest, showed some great tandem moves against Finn, and even took a nasty Power Bomb on the commentary table. Extra nasty because the table didn’t break and those always look painful.

But the story here, besides Judgment Day running Tuesdays, is the fact it took all four members to defeat Trick & Melo. After they wiped out Trick, Rhea & Dom ran a runaround on the ref, with Dom distracting with a chair while Rhea handed Damian his briefcase.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

Before Damian unloaded on Melo, Ilja Dragunov stopped it. Why him? You’ll have to read on for that but it’ll make sense. I promise.

Melo & Ilja miscommunicated and Melo went South of Heaven, then Finn finished him from the top rope.

This keeps Judgment Day strong while telling the world Melo & Trick are for real since it took four people to beat two.

This puts an end to this chapter for now as Melo focuses on his Great American Bash opponent, and Judgment Day turn their attention to Mr. Wes Lee. But don’t be shocked if they revisit this down the line based on how it ended and the styles at play.


B-Sides

Powaful Impak

Look, I don’t get to do this that often these days but go watch Bron Breakker vs. Ilja Dragunov. Watch it now. Don’t even read the rest of this recap before watching it.

These two fought. They put on a match filled with big shots, big suplexes, and a lot of stiffness. Bron actually looked like a few chops agitated him if only a bit, but it never threw the match off track.

As far as number one contender matches go, this is one of my favorites in quite some time. Their battle put so much importance on the NXT Championship, and the fact Bron didn’t go down easy makes him look good while also making Ilja look like a dragon slayer.

That clip up top doesn’t do it justice.

The Big Payback

Two things stick out to me about the tag match between Chase U and Charlie Dempsey & Drew Gulak.

First, Andre Chase looked great. Grant it he didn’t work an Iron Man match, but he hit his spots and looked smooth.

Secondly, I loved the ending with Thea Hail turned the tables on Drew. Yes, it’s cheating and the ref missed it, but it’s a great moment where she uses Drew’s teaching against him and stops him from helping his partner, thus taking the L. That’s poetic and as my Twitter handle shows, I love poets.

By Any Means

We got more from Kelani Jordan this week and I still like her. Cora Jade is a great dance partner that provides Kelani the chance to work from underneath, get her comebacks in, but ultimately build up equity and compassion from the audience.

The match ended a bit abruptly though. Kelani left to the ropes for a springboard attack but Cora caught her for the second time and kicked the ropes right form under her. One DDT from Cora later and that was that. Yes, NXT matches usually get rushed for time purposes and this is still developmental, but that didn’t feel like the natural endpoint.

Dana Brooke got some action in match when Cora went after Kelani with the kendo stick, which obviously points to a Dana vs. Cora bout. Which I get but I’d rather Kelani get another shot at redemption rather than the veteran battling on her behalf.

Alone In Vegas

Ivy Nile looked weird entering the arena without her boys. Still no word on where Brutus and Julius show up, but I found it interesting that Ivy hit the ring with the Diamond Mine sound effects and even kept her “representing Diamond Mine” billing. Maybe it’s nothing or maybe it says that Julius and Brutus might find a way back to NXT.

I didn’t expect Ivy to defeat Tiffany Stratton but she gave her some go. There’s a potentially interesting story here about Ivy finding her footing as a solo artist and finally handling her business rather than focusing on Creed business. That might get harder with Schism knocking at her door and tempting her, but we’ll see.

As for Tiffany, her business with Thea remains unfinished as the Chase U section reminded her the whole match hat she tapped out. And when Tiffany took the mic after her narrow W over Ivy and sounded shook. With everyone saying she tapped, which came right before a segment with Thea reminding Andre about the tap, I smell a rematch.

Freedom

This thing with the D’Angelo Family and Gallus is silly. Everyone commits their all so props there but it’s silly. This week, we got McKenzie interviewing Tony D…from prison, and Tony made a collect call…from prison…into the arena during Stacks’ match with Joe Coffey. Yes, they played a collect call through the arena’s sound system as the Don encouraged his friend and told the Gallus boys that he and Stacks set them up. There’s video for those who missed it.

Stacks won, Tony D gets his freedom thanks to the world’s worst—or best—District Attorney. This DA makes Harvey Dent blush.

I don’t have anything else to say because it just didn’t work for me. The crowd loved it and I like everyone involved, but this stretched too far for me.


Much like this week’s Raw, NXT focused on a lot of story. We got a video segment with Von Wagner with compelling imagery and storytelling, but the performances left me wanting. We also got more from Baron Corbin as he searches for a new gimmick. He’s an aimless Florida man now, so everyone in the Sunshine State keep watch. Oh and this new angle to Gigi Dolin and Kiana James? I dig it. Gigi revealed some photos of Kiana that contradict Ms. James’ current image. Gigi says Kiana is more like her than she lets on and that Kiana needs to stop fronting.

I enjoyed the show. Solid wrestling with a lot of story and Judgment Day didn’t overwhelm the show. I love them but I’m glad they kept their presence to a minimum.

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