This week’s episode of NXT #435, was broadcast from the Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 14th, 2018. It featured a Women’s Championship match between Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon, and UK Champion Pete Dunne defended his title against Roderick Strong.
Two title matches were on the billing on this week’s NXT #435, so let’s not waste time with unnecessary preamble. Do check out these links to last week’s wrestling content though:
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Pete Dunne def. Roderick Strong via pinfall following the Bitter End to retain his United Kingdom Championship.
If there was a storyline here, it was that Roderick Strong has been at the brink of major success many times throughout his career, but never quite held it together in the big moments. And also that Pete Dunne didn’t want to lose the U.K. Championship to a yank.
From top to bottom, Pete Dunne looks like a middle-aged holidaying woman lounging poolside and eyeing up other women’s husbands. That didn’t have any bearing on the match; it’s just something I wanted to share.
Anyway, the match was curiously slow to begin with. Dunne, in the “U.K. style”, makes the beautiful performative art of wrestling look a bit like a fight between two little brothers. He spent a lot of time working Strong’s fingers, which is quite a comically childish strategy. It paid off, though. He was able to counter the Strong Hold by twanging Strong’s digits like guitar strings, setting up the victory via pinfall.
Rating: [usr 3.5]
Aleister Black and Killian Dain have a bit of a disagreement.
I’m more than happy about the match that this promo inevitably sets up, but blimey, it was awkward. When you get two guys whose whole shtick is largely to be stoic and intimidating and not say very much, and then you have them cut a promo with one another, you can hardly expect fireworks.
Regardless, this should set up a killer #1 contender’s match for a crack at whoever holds the belt after Johnny Wrestling and Almas handle their business next week.
TM61 def. John Skyler & Andrew Duckworth via pinfall following Thunder Valley.
It was a squash to put over the returning Aussie duo, who seem to have a slightly more aggressive style in their second go-around.
I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of TM61 to get a proper sense of how I feel about them yet. But I like the fact that they seem to be getting some actual character arcs. It’s early days yet, so we’ll see how things go.
Rating: [usr 1]
Shayna Baszler def. Ember Moon via disqualification following an interference by Kairi Sane. Ember Moon retains the Women’s Championship.
It was an angle more than a match, which is helpful to both women at this stage of their careers. Baszler has something, but thus far she’s coasting on charisma, and a legit reputation. Her gleeful look when she was going after Moon is a solid start to a real heel run, and I do see the belt being put on her soon to mould the division in Asuka’s absence around a legitimate heel character.
Kairi Sane’s interference makes things more interesting – mostly because the Pirate Princess managed to get the best wrestling match out of Baszler that we’ve yet seen.
It was a relatively slight episode of the yellow-and-black brand, but there were no real problems with what we were given, and things have been set up rather well for the next few weeks.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.