Wrestling Review: NXT Great American Bash (2020) (Night 1)

As the world continues to stand still around them, NXT powers forward to present the first night of a two-week extravaganza, as for the first time ever NXT hosts the Great American Bash. In the main event, Sasha Banks and Bayley return to the house they built when Banks faces off against the current NXT Women’s Champion, Io Shirai. This first time ever match up comes on the eve of Banks’ upcoming title match against the Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka, a former tag team partner of Shirai, back in Japan. Also on the show, the first ever strap match in NXT History will see Roderick Strong left with nowhere to run, as he will be literally strapped to Dexter Lumis, Timothy Thatcher will go to war with Oney Lorcan in what is guaranteed to be a smash-mouth brawl, and Rhea Ripley will seek to put an end to the unwanted courting from Robert Stone, and Stone’s newest (and only current) client, Aliyah as Ripley faces two opponents at the same time in a handicap match. Starting off the show, four of NXT’s up and coming women look to earn a number one contenders prize to Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship as Dakota Kai, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae and Tegan Nox face off in a Fatal 4 Way Elimination Match.

+ Io Shirai vs Sasha Banks (w/ Bayley): this was great. I am usually pretty rough on Sasha Banks, and I do believe she is the weakest of the NXT Four Horsewomen. That said, this was a great main event, and only highlighted Banks’ positives as a bad guy and Shirai’s fantastic underdog potential. Shirai is one of the best women in wrestling right now, no matter the opponent, and Banks can be good with the right person (note: not against Charlotte), so this was only a positive for both women
+ Timothy Thatcher vs Oney Lorcan: oh shit yeah. This is MoshFish’s kind of match; two ugly mug dudes slapping the piss out of each other and attempting to tear their opponent’s arm out of their socket. I loved this match, and Thatcher and Oney both need a much bigger spotlight on them
+ Rhea Ripley vs Aliyah & Robert Stone (2-on-1 Handicap Match): I’ve enjoyed this storyline of late, and this match was basically what it needed to be, thought it did go a little bit longer than I think it should have. I really liked the ending, especially the specifics if you want to get into it, but once again, Rhea should be tearing through the NXT Women’s roster instead of this. I hope that is coming
+ Tegan Nox vs Dakota Kai vs Mia Yim vs Candice LeRae (Elimination Match): mostly fine, with one or two very awkward/sloppy moments. Nox and Kai are both really good, and probably should have had an actual run as tag champs together before this beating-a-dead-horse break-up angle. Mia Yim is great, but hasn’t really been given a chance to shine yet, and Candice is fine but not feeling like anything special. The first fall was good, and the last fall was great, but the bit in the middle was a little bit awkward

Roderick Strong vs Dexter Lumis (Strap Match): I can’t understand the hate Dexter Lumis getting from some pro wrestling websites and personalities of late. Lumis is by no means Roderick Strong in the ring, but he is more than capable of holding his own, especially as his gimmick doesn’t call for flashy moves and moments. Strong is incredible, and one of the best all rounders in NXT, if not all of wrestling right now. But overall, this didn’t really do it for me

> Is it just me or is the commentary audio being particularly poor on NXT lately? I know Mauro Ranallo and Beth Phoenix are literally phoning it in, but it’s only the last few weeks that it’s sounded like a blown out speaker

Should you watch this event: Overall, this was really good. Thatcher/Lorcan, Shirai/Banks and the final few minutes of the opening four way are definitely worth watching, and you can take or leave the rest unless you’re a fan in particular.

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