NXT returned to us last night (July 22) from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.
Karrion Kross’ rollout has been near perfect.
NXT has been careful not to over expose him, for awhile just teasing his presence. When he finally debuted, they made sure his matches were occasional, ensuring they’d feel special every time. And with that superb entrance, they always feel special.
This week was one of his matches and once again, they nailed it.
Dominik Dijakovic was the perfect opponent for Kross right now. He’s bigger than Karrion, or at least taller, and unlike Bronson Reed weeks back, he’s more experienced. It was one of Kross’ biggest challenges. In fact, given the way he easily disposed of Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver: In Your House, it could be the biggest challenge in his NXT career.
This was the most we’ve probably seen Kross sell. That’s not an issue. If he’s going to be in an eventually title match with Keith Lee, he’s going to be selling. But with the way they booked this segment, they were still able to make him feel extremely dangerous.
Things started to get ugly when Dijakovic was sent into the steel steps, landing between them in the ring. Kross delivered a nasty kick to the steps, giving the image that he was crushing his opponent’s head between steel and steel.
Such a brutal move brought Keith Lee to the ring to check on his friend. This is the other reason Dominik was the perfect choice for this match. Not only could he give Karrion a challenge, but anything Kross does to him will also hurt Dom’s friend Keith Lee.
The NXT champ wanted to throw in the proverbial towel for his friend, but Dijakovic insisted he don’t, telling his friend that whatever happens, it’s his choice. That forced Lee to watch helplessly as his eventual opponent dismantled the man he credited just last week for helping his career. And without saying a word, Keith’s face told the story they needed to tell. You could read his conflict and his anger.
Meanwhile, after surviving quite the onslaught from Dijakovic, Kross walked out feeling just as dangerous as he did coming in, if not more.
It still feels like it could be too early to run this match at TakeOver: XXX. I assume Kross is going to win his eventual title match and if that’s the case, Lee’s reign will be just six weeks long. But Karrion cutting the legs out from under what should be an epic run for Lee could be just another reason for fans to hate the man.
We’ll have to see what the next month brings. After this, I can’t imagine them being able to delay the title match too long. The stakes already seem too high to drag it out.
NXT kicked off this week’s show with the announcement that Keith Lee will be relinquishing the North American title. His reason being he…