Night two of NXT’s reincarnation of the classic Great American Bash PPV was a big hit. Here is a review of the show.
Candice Le Rae def Mia Yim – Street Fight
This hard-hitting, brutal rivalry came to a crescendo at NXT: Great American Bash in a Street Fight, kicking off the show with a bang. While this wasn’t necessarily an NXT TakOver event, it certainly had the feel of one. Classically NXT TakeOver’s always start with a high-tempo match and this was no different.
For those who have seen Candice Le Rae’s matches pre-WWE, you’ll know that she is absolutely fearless when it comes to these style of matches. She has no problem whatsoever taking brutal bumps to elevate the match, shown early on in the contest with a beautiful yet bruising suplex through a table on the arena floor. There was no lack of weapons either as both superstars used chairs, tables, trash cans and brass knuckles to their advantage.
In the end, the mental and physical toll would take effect. A precarious table set across the top turnbuckle would become a launching pad as Candice nailed Yim with a picture-perfect swinging neckbreaker on top of a mountain of chairs and got the big win.
This was a stellar match and a fitting end to this feud. For me, it’s the most hard-hitting NXT women’s match I’ve seen in a long time.
Bronson Reed def Tony Nese.
This bout was not announced in advance but rather thrown together at the last minute as a filler match. The aim of this match was to continue to show the brutality of Bronson Reed, yet another impressive big man in NXT. At the moment there is an abundance of this type of talent in NXT, therefore it may be some time before we see Reed in a main event scenario.
Nevertheless, Tony Nese made for an excellent muse to the much more psychical Reed. After some classic big guy-little guy exchanges, Reed hit the big splash from the top rope to get the win. Its doubtful that these two will meet again, I would expect Reed to move on to a bigger opponent soon, perhaps after some more exposure he could be a good candidate for a match with Keith Lee for the North American title.
Johnny Gargano def Isiah Scott.
Johnny Gargano has truly done it all in NXT. Having evolved into a cocky, unreserved heel, Gargano’s “No Heart, All Soul” gimmick is starting to gain some wind and particularly his work alongside Candice Le Rae as a dastardly duo has been a highlight of NXT for me every week.
This Johnny Gargano is new though, he knows that he’s done everything there is to do on the black and gold brand. I like the idea that they are building Gargano as an NXT veteran, after years of classically being the underdog, Gargano now demands respect from up and coming NXT talent such as his opponent at the Bash, Isiah Scott. Scott’s performance matched Gargano’s as his agility and strength were impressive during this match.
Looks like Gargano isn’t quite ready to be overtaken by Scott as ‘Johnny Wrestling’ would steal the win after some beautifully choreographed counters. This was another solid match.
Legado de Fantasma def Breezango and Drake Maverick
The NXT tag team division continues to grow at the moment, while not perhaps hitting the height of it’s rival show, AEW, which I have to admit has a much more star-studded line-up when it comes to tag team wrestling.
Regardless, 6 man tag matches in NXT have often been used to combine rivalries in one match and this was no different. Breezango and Drake Maverick didn’t seem like a great trio for me, more just 3 guys thrown together to combat against the well-oiled machine of Legado de Fantasma. Santos Escobar and his partners got the win after the Cruserweight champion got the better of Maverick to win the pinfall.
I think this match served more as a continuation of the Cruserweight championship story line rather than boosting the tag title scene. With the result of the main event and many theorising that the Undisputed Era may not be in NXT much longer, there could be a spot for Legado de Fantasma to become top players.
Mercedes Martinez def Santana Garrett.
This one was centered around the return of Martinez after weeks of vignettes airing, Martinez promised destruction and delivered on that.
It didn’t take long for her to dispose of Garrett, I worry however about her character. It almost looks like NXT is trying to re-create Shayna Bazsler, having lost her to the main roster this year. Only time will tell whether or not Martinez will become a big hit.
Keith Lee def Adam Cole to become the new NXT champion (Winner Takes All)
Mauro Ranallo called this main event “NXT’s biggest match in history” and it’s hard to argue with that fact. Having being announced two weeks ago that the winner of last week’s triple threat would go on to face Adam Cole, elite NXT champion, who has held the prestigious title for over 400 days, this match was always shaping up to be one for the ages.
I believe Adam Cole being the greatest NXT champion of all time is undisputed. But the meteoric rise of Keith Lee has been a joy to watch and he is one of the most likable super stars in wrestling right now. The Winner Takes All stipulation in my opinion made the result of this match problematic, as before the match it seemed, despite Adam Cole’s long reign, that Keith Lee was more likely to win the title than Cole. That being said, this main event kept the fans wondering right until the end who would come out on top.
Keith Lee’s mix of unbelievable agility and brute strength continues to surprise me during this matches and Adam Cole might just be the best wrestler WWE has in its entire arsenal right now. This match was a perfect blend of all that.
Both men threw absolutely everything at each other and the intensity was just as high in the closing moments. My personal highlight was Adam Cole hitting the ‘Panama Sunrise’ on Keith Lee only to get a two count. I had goosebumps at the end when Lee eventually put the match to bed, ending a storybook reign for Adam Cole and allowing Lee to become the first man to hold the North American and NXT championships at the same time. Bask in his glory.
But maybe Keith Lee can’t bask for long. The show ended ominously with Scarlett and Karion Kross looking down on the new double champion. Lee’s reign may have just stated but the clock is ticking until Kross gets his hands on that title.