WWE’s policy of generally ignoring AEW and the “Wednesday night war” seems to be over. It would not surprise me if Triple H and the NXT team took a look at all of the matches booked for AEW’s Fyter Fest and found as many chances to try and one up the competition as they could. Hikaru Shida and Penelope Ford have a match? NXT has Sasha Banks and Io Shirai facing off with Bayley at ringside and a surprise appearance from Asuka. Cody and Jake Hager are going to have a throwback style hard hitting match? Let’s see them beat Timothy Thatcher and Oney Lorcan giving a submission heavy banger of a match. That’s not to say that The Great American Bash Night 1 outdid Fyter Fest in every single way, but it seems like the war is only just beginning.
AEW comparisons aside, last night’s NXT was a seriously great episode. Featuring a handful of matches that could’ve been considered match of the week if it weren’t for the other two matches. Oney Lorcan and Timothy Thatcher put on one hell of a show that was hard to look away from. The first ever NXT strap match between Dexter Lumis and Roderick Strong was a lot of fun if maybe a tad too long, and Io and Sasha put on what I would consider a TakeOver level match if not for the slightly overbooked finish.
All that being said, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of NXT: The Great American Bash Night 1 (7/1/20)!
- Kicking off things with the Women’s Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match. Look all of the women are fantastic in ring performers and it is a testament to how great the NXT women’s division is that I could name at least 4 other women who deserve a shot at the title just as much as LeRae, Yim, Nox, and Kai.
- Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai just beating the hell out of each other toward the end of this match. The outcome of the match is not what I predicted coming into the show, but just the amount of work that these two put into the match made any outcome great.
- The entirety of the Timothy Thatcher and Oney Lorcan match. I cannot rave about how much I loved this! It is proof that a super technical submission heavy throwback-style wrestling match can be just as much fun as a superkick filled high-flying spectacle of a match.
- Karrion Kross and Scarlett video vignette. I want Kross to be big presence in NXT. His videos give me more hope for his success than his constant squash matches.
- Robert Stone’s boxing robe, shorts, and goggles. It’s just good.
- The video package before Roderick Strong’s entrance. Really set the tone for the match which was a great blend of absurd and serious.
- Dexter Lumis using the strap to throw Roderick Strong all over the place. Roddy is so good at selling, and Lumis is massive. This just worked so well!
- The card for next week and all of the set ups
- Bayley and Sasha riding to the ring in a Jag with Sasha’s dog.
- Look, I could give you everything I loved about Sasha and Io’s match, but you just need to watch it! I cannot do this match justice in a blog post.
- I wrote down this “HOLY SHIT!!! ASUKA!!! GREEN MIST!!!!!”
- Having LeRae be the first elimination in the match. The Garganos could be a huge existential threat to NXT but they cannot decide if they want to book them strong or not. Also if Tegan Nox had to fight off two heels to win the match she would look a lot stronger going to face Io.
- This is a small complaint but I wish the match Rhea Ripley, Aliyah, Robert Stone match had balanced the comedy and the seriousness a little better, or at least had sprinkled it in a little more throughout. It was goofy at first then it was a real match for the majority of the time so by the time we got to using Aliyah to hit Robert Stone in the crotch it was a jarring shift back into the comedic.
- The new tron video and entrance music for Drake Maverick. It’s so generic and I just cannot get behind it. Hopefully his in-ring work now that he’s officially NXT will make up for the bland repackage.
- The Damian Priest feud with Cameron Grimes should be over. Priest needs to take sometime and really figure out what his character is, because Grimes has a strong grasp on his role and it shows how much work Priest needs to do. Grimes in kayfabe has already moved on to his next match in his mind, Priest needs to move on too.