Wednesday, August 5, 2020

NXT Takeover: In Your House (June 2020)

Yeah, so I wasn't going to watch this show. Partly due to the WWE PPV moratorium that's becoming as enforced as a WWE stipulation, but also because I haven't watched much NXT as of late and the thought of having to sit through another one of these sad empty arena PPVs didn't see well with me, especially after how I felt about the last one. However, some folks I knew who watched the show told me good things about it and given the choice between this and the Extreme Rules debacle  that I've heard less than good things about, I didn't have to think hard

Besides, with all the In Your House PPVs in the bag in some form or fashion, I might as well put a cap by watching this throwback. And this is definitely a throwback in terms of theme and such.

The show opens with Todd Pentingill, former WWE shill guy who looks fine for 50-something and still as shill as ever, pushing some of the action and even hawking some stuff off the WWE Shop with the 900 number that no longer exists. There's even a couple "promotional considerations" from ice cream bars and ICOPRO for additional throwback. And then DX (minus X-Pac and Billy Gunn) try to figure out how to use a computer because they're old. It's supposed to be a throwback to that one Shawn Michaels bit (which took place on a Wrestlemania, not an In Your House), but it could also sum up modern WWE Creative in a nutshell.

So I'm assuming this is when they started putting whatever rookies they had at the Performance Center stand behind some plexiglas and act as a makeshift crowd, much like AEW would do with their shows. For what it's worth, it's a step up and the additional stand-ins more than helped out that Backlash show I saw last month. Much like the AEW shows, this doesn't replace a genuine live crowd whose reactions will always be more organic, but it does make those empty arena shows feel considerably less so.

Shotzi Blackheart, Mia Yim, and Tegan Nox defeated Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez, and Candice LeRae in a fun little six-woman tag match that lasted about ten minutes, which is fine because the match flew by rather quickly. I find Nox trying to do the Kane-like chokeslam funny and was happy to see she won with a knee. We're off to a good start.

Finn Balor defeated Damien Priest in another fine match. Probably a good thing that they brought Finn back to NXT so he could have good matches with the young talent on a show getting trounced by AEW. At least, they're using him for something.

NXT North American champion Keith Lee defeated Johnny Gargano to retain the title in a somewhat long-ish match that felt decidely long, even though this was less than 20 minutes according to most sources. I'm thinking the inorganic crowd might've had something to do with it because you had two talented guys going at it and the match is fine, but then starts to feel slow. Maybe if this were a live crowd, it'd be better. As is, it was fine.

NXT Champion Adam Cole defeated The Velveteen Dream in a back lot brawl to retain the title. So it's cinematic wrestling time, kids. Cole and Dream are fighting in a back lot with cars surrounding the rin at night, there are some run-ins from the Undisputed guys, who get beat up, dumped into a car that later drives away. Cole wins with a low blow and his finish on Dream into a bunch of chairs for a win. As far as cinematic wrestling matches go, this is on the higher end of the list; high on action, shot well, good night setting, and low on the ridiculous escapades... the Uber was stupid, but it's no Fiend horse manure... and I may have jinxed Adam Cole, haven't I?

Karrion Cross defeated Tomasso Ciampa in a relatively short match. Scarlett is hot as always and now so is Karrion if the goal is to make him a big monster bad guy... which they should. The guy's got a look to him that gives off the aura of a mean dude. How could they possibly fuck this guy up?

Io Shirai defeated NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley in a triple threat match to win the title. Go out of your way to watch this because this is a fine main event between three sublime women who put on a goddamn show to end this show in your house and left me with no proper words to convey the good stuff.

I was apprehensive going into In Your House: The NXT Takeover Edition, but low and behold, it turned out to be a quick and easy two hours killed. Six matches, they were all fine to great. The throwback aspects worked fine in the limited doses they were applied. Such a nice way to pay tribute to a PPV line that isn't quite as good as people make it out to be, but I won't hold that against this show. All in all, I liked this one. This was fun.

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