Reviews by Dave
Show air date: July 1, 2020
Just finished night one of NXT’s Great American Bash (GAB) and if they handed out bonuses, Timothy Thatcher, Oney Lorcan, Io Shirai, and Sasha Banks should all get big fat envelopes for saving what was the least special, special they could have possibly put on.
I did feel for Mauro Ranallo though as he kept referencing the history of the GAB name and event and kept being met with dead air. He needed either older co-workers (JR and Tony Schiavone would have been all over this) or more wrestling-geeky cohorts (calling Matt Striker). All Beth Phoenix had was a reference to a bull rope match in 04 with JBL and Eddie Guerrero. Tom Philips didn’t even have that.
Tegan Nox defeated Candice LaRae, Mia Yim and Dakota Kai
A lot of attention paid to the women’s division with wildly mixed results. I was interested in them booking an elimination match instead of their normal one fall, multi-person match to determine a number one contender for the NXT Women’s title with Mia Yim vs Candice LaRae vs Tegan Nox vs Dakota Kai. Easily the worst major women’s match I’ve seen on this show since they hit TV (no match with Aliyah or Taynara was “major”). Just missed and blown spots as well as confusing booking. Even commentary was lost at times. They had no idea how to work or call a match that used to be standard when multi-person matches became a thing. Tegan Nox won, last eliminating Dakota Kai. That surprised me.
Timothy Thatcher defeated Oney Lorcan
Faring far better was a matchup between Timothy Thatcher and Oney Lorcan. Since there wasn’t much build to it, Ranallo did a good job of playing up their outside-WWE rivalry. The best wrestling match of the night, across both channels as they worked tight with a lot of grappling and hard strikes. Thatcher continues his momentum by submission, tapping out Loran with a Fujiwara armbar, which he refused to release at first to send a message. I’m hoping they match him with Danny Burch, Lorcan’s tag partner, soon.
Rhea Ripley defeated Aliyah and Robert Stone
Rhea Ripley beat Aliyah and Robert Stone in an intergender handicap match that went on way, way too long. Aliyah needs to be kept in the IIconics level of match time: 3-5 mins.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett
Other than a fantastic Karrion Kross and Scarlett vignette, that capped a lackluster first hour minus Thatch-Lorcan.
Dexter Lumis defeated Roderick Strong
The super regular kept coming as Dexter Lumis beat Roderick Strong in a strap match. Took forever for one of them to start actually using the strap on the other. Had good moments but not nearly as good as you would imagine going in. It was the only Undisputed Era match on the show so of course there was interference by Strong’s UE mate, Bobby Fish. But Lumis was able to overcome the lame interference and win with his triangle head and arm choke submission, wrapping the strap around Strong’s face.
Winner Takes All
Great video package building up the Winner Takes All match next week between NXT champion Adam Cole and North American champion Keith Lee.
The Legado Del Fantasma Speaks
Cruiserweight champion Santos Escobar and his freshly named Legado Del Fantasma cut a decent enough promo. Not sure why the NXT trainees were booing. Drake Maverick runs out, gets beat up and then saved by Breezango–Tyler Breeze and Fandango–setting up a six-man next week. Fandango clearly had nothing to say and should have just let them go to black.
Main Event: Io Shirai defeated Sasha Banks
In a very good main event (that should have been a title match since Shirai was going over), champion Io Shirai defeated tag champion, Sasha Banks. A couple of rough spots but each time they managed to work around them, and I always appreciate that. It’s WWE so Shirai sold the plexiglass barrier like a wall and the finish was overbooked but it brought back to NXT former NXT champion, current Raw champion, and Bank’s upcoming opponent, Asuka, helping Shirai overcome the interference of Banks’ tag partner, Bayley.
Very good but not great but with so little of the wrestling even coming close, I’ll take it.
Let’s never call this “Great American Bash” ever again.