HomeWrestlingWWE NXT 8/12 Review: A Fireball, An Invitation, and A Return

WWE NXT 8/12 Review: A Fireball, An Invitation, and A Return

This week’s NXT set out to do two things; set the state for the major matches of NXT Takeover XXX and showcase their newest stars. If you’ve been watching NXT for a while, this is usually how they parse their match card out. The NXT show that leads into Takeover is usually the one where you’ll get montages of the big matches and conclusions of the feuds that they are building simultaneously. With that, let’s talk about the August 12th show.

The Burning Book: The lead-up between Karrion Kross and Keith Lee’s championship match has grown in anticipation particularly because of how strong the promos have been between them. Lee has been emboldened emotionally because of Kross’s advances in circumventing working his way up to a title match. Remember, GM William Regal said he had to earn it. Kross ends up beating up everybody in the locker room. In the match with Danny Burch, it was quick, but Burch still got some offense in. He’s the tough-noised Brit.

The psychology around Kross’s matches is that he can be hurt, but he’s ultimately going to overpower you. (three of his matches were won by ref decisions). Not having Lee and Kross getting into a physical confrontation works because you want to hold that until Takeover. Kross’s longest match as an NXT participant was against Lee’s best friend, Dominik Dijakovic. Let these two brutes battle it out because it’s not going to be easy for Kross to tear through and submit Lee.

Keith Lee’s eyes have been targeted by Johnny Gargano and now Karrion Kross. Maybe he has to start wearing goggles to the ring. I like that there’s a supernatural, apocalyptic element that was introduced. Stack the odds against Lee as much as possible and you have a story to tell no matter what the outcome is.

‘Play Wrestler’: The match between Drake Maverick and Killian Dain proved inconsequential because there was a focus on Keith Lee’s status and the Undisputed Era. The UE, heated because of Pat McAfee‘s ‘punt heard round the world’ last week break up the match. The booking between Adam Cole and McAfee is going to be interesting. There is supposed to be a face-to-face meeting next week.

Now, I even questioned why they put Adam Cole in his position. He’s the longest reigning NXT champion – so, why would this be the feud that they transition to? McAfee’s banter is starting to buy me in a bit. I know that he’s been in one match before this upcoming one, but he is an athlete. I don’t foresee the conventional 20-30 minute matches that we are accustomed to for Adam Cole, but McAfee has to have back up. That might be the greatest mystery on match day and see how NXT is going to placate UE. Are they finally going to move to the red or blue brand? A possible breakup? A babyface turn against another strong faction? We will see.

Promo Work: Leading up to their title match at Takeover XXX, Io Shirai brought up a good point and it plays into Dakota Kai’s match last week. When Dakota fought Rhea Ripley for the number one contender, Rhea dominated. It looked like was on a collision course with Io until Mercedes Martinez got involved. Despite Dakota’s heel turn, she’s still looked upon as the wrestler who was pushed around by Shayna Baszler. Even in her promo, she’s touted getting inside Io’s head with blindside attacks. Perfect story.

Who knows when Raquel will return, but Dakota is making it clear that she wants to win this alone. This fits well within her entire NXT career story – somebody with something to prove under the big lights.

The Robert Stone Brand Continues To Roll: The Robert Stone brand is feeling itself. Got some wins under their belt, acquired the services of Mercedes Martinez, and was even trying to recruit a new member. What I like about this match is that it was able to showcase more of Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter. They are usually on the losing end and while this match was more of that, Kacy was able to show off more of her offense.

We know that we’re going to get Rhea Ripley vs. Mercedez Martinez – most likely, at Takeover XXX. Shotzi Blackheart has had her beef with the Robert Stone Brand as well. Now, if you wanted, there’s a potential for three good tag teams if NXT wanted to go that route as an expansion of the women’s division. Hell, as shown, there’s an overabundance of talent in the NXT Women’s division. Indi Hartwell is getting better with more appearances under her belt on the show. Candace LeRae is signaling to go after Tegan Nox to resume her quest in challenging for the title.

It Was A Return: Not going to lie, I did not see Velveteen Dream returning for the extra spot in a triple threat. With the allegations that were levied against him and just his character cooling off after a lackluster conclusion to the Adam Cole feud. His return was just cold. Based on the end of the match, it looks like they are going the heel route with him as well. He and Finn Balor had some interactions before his hiatus, so it makes sense for him to be the second chance match next week.

What is going on with KUSHIDA? The first time we’ve seen him since May 27th on NXT TV and it’s another loss. They did protect him with the Cruiserweight triple threat finish. For a wrestler who has so much to offer and was highly anticipated when he came over, you hope to see him get into a more substantial storyline. Cameron Grimes was the logical pick to win here. NXT has gone out of their way to improve his character’s standing since last year. The match itself flowed between three-man spots and submission mat techniques between Grimes and Kushida. NXT matches tend to do the spots where one person is eliminated from the action on the outside so two competitors can get time.

El Legado del Upper Hand: A faction to keep your eye on is El Legado del Fantasma. If NXT is looking to move Undisputed Era out of that top heel faction spot, they can easily move in. NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar has the intangibles to make that title a major centerpiece of the show going forward. Their feud with an ailing Breezango continues, but look for the upcoming cruiserweight title match with Isiah ‘Swerve’ Scott to be the dark horse match on the Takeover card.

NXT 8/13 is currently streaming on the USA Network website and app, is available on-demand, and will air on WWE Network tonight.

Murjani Rawls
Murjani Rawlshttp://www.murjanirawls.com
Murjani is a journalist, self-published author, podcast producer, and photographer working out of the tri-state area. Since 2014, Murjani has been stretching his creativity and passions. He has contributed over 18 websites and over 1,000 articles to his journalism portfolio, providing timely commentary on music, television, movies, politics, sports, and more. Murjani has photographed over 250+ artists spanning many musical genres, is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, and has covered festivals such as Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Festival, and SXSW. Murjani has five self-published books of poetry, three of which have reached the top ten in new releases on Amazon upon release. He is currently the Culture Editor at DraftKings Nation / Vox Media. He was previously staff writer at The Root, senior editor & writer at Substream Magazine, and senior writer, editor, and podcast producer at The Pop Break.

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