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By Chris Hendricks on 2019-02-10 08:53:00

NXT St Petersburg 
February 8, 2019
Attendance: 190 (the largest crowd I have ever seen at this venue.)

Eric Bugenhagen defeated Vidot

The former Rick Boog is now Eric Bugenhagen and I wonder which one would be the worst ring name to have if he is ever makes it to the Main Roster. Considering on how often Vince McMahon takes away a first name from a wrestler, well having Boog or Bugenhagen could hamper a career. Modified slam that I guess is his finisher, but I am not sure if he botched that move or not. The match was not bad but with some good action but was sloppy at times. While I really disliked his gimmick at first, which involved him looking like a Van Halen/Freddie Mercury Rick Rude who would randomly scream at a piercingly very frequency. On this show, he has seemed to make some minor adjustments to it as well as better timing with the still annoying screaming. While I may not have liked the screaming, it got over with this crowd tonight for the first time I have seen on the loop. He did during his 80’s Rock inspired entrance and in taunts when he played air guitar during the match which finally made sense.

He wrestled Australian born, part Samoan Daniel Vidot who went by his last name which sounds like Vito which most people in attendance thought was his name along with me. I did not recognize Vidot when he came out to tribal music and with his gimmick on in full force. I got up and asked Percy Watson, who was handling announcing and bell ringing duties, who this big Islander was, and Percy told me he was Vidot, which again sounded like Vito and I didn’t figure it out until I saw a tattoo on his back that said VIDOT. Vidot played Rugby for eight years in the NRL (National Rugby League) and has also played for Samoa in international Rugby competitions from 2013 to 2015. Vidot is 6’4 and about 200 pounds and with his Maori warrior type gimmick, he reminds me of Toa Hanare from New Japan.

This match was not bad, but it was a little sloppy from what seemed to be a lack of experience from both of these newcomers. While the wrestling was not up to par with a normal Florida Loop match, it was entertaining despite the missed spots or small botches that occurred due to their charisma. Both played their gimmicks well during the match and there were some very entertaining spots like when Bugenhagen got Vidot in to an abdominal stretch and played air guitar on Vidot’s ribs. Whenever Bugenhagen would do these sort of taunts Vidot would then get angry and cut off Bugenhagen with a power move or cheap shot. There was only one dangerous botch when Bugenhagen went for a simple scoop slam and Vidot seemed to land on his head but luckily Vidot was not hurt. Bugenhagen won with a modified (?) slam, I could not tell what it was, maybe something new or maybe a botch but it still was a solid opener.

Vanessa Borne & Aliyah defeated MJ Jenkins & Lacey Lane

This was another average match and below the Loop’s normal standards, but it was still entertaining enough. MJ Jenkins was the clear weak link here because she missed some easy spots and was very slowly putting together offensive moves. Lane was the best in this match and did some great maneuvers to make this match work, without her this match would have been a tragedy. Borne and Aliyah did pretty well and played good heels during this match with their new vain tag team gimmick. They seem to start to be gelling as a team and hit double-team maneuvers well. Borne and Aliyah won when Aliyah pinned MJ with her foot on the ropes for leverage which got a good amount of heat from the audience.

Babatunde defeated Luke Menzies

On the Bay Area Loop, you know a squash match is coming when you hear the heavy bass theme of Babatunde but tonight was more like a competitive squash match. Luke Menzies came out with his leather jacket, Fedora, and wooden club which I still wonder why he didn’t find a way to sneakily use it against his gigantic opponent since he was the heel in this match. Babatunde dominated the beginning of the match by literally throwing Menzies around the ring and looked to be about to finish him off when Menzies kicked his left leg hard. Menzies then started going after that leg nearly causing Babatunde to go down. This match almost become competitive because of Menzies targeting of the leg which Babatunde sold very well, limping for the rest of the match and even into the back. Babatunde was able to fight him off and then hit a big spinning side slam, very similar to Big Cass’s East River Crossing, for the victory.

Jeet Rama & Rinku Singh defeated Adrian Jaoude & Cezar Bononi
This was another match that failed to excite me when the wrestlers came out, but I am glad they are getting some ring time, and this is developmental, so it was a fine match considering all of the factors involved. Jaoude and Bononi were the heels in this match while Jeet Rama and Rinku “Million Dollar Arm” Singh were the baby faces. This was a typical tag match with some solid technical wrestling and you could pretty much see Robby Brookside’s training in action here. Rama got the win with a surprise Judo throw for the win which did get a small pop from the crowd in a match with no heat otherwise.

Adam Cole defeated Punishment Martinez
Great match that I have always wanted to see and got to do so seemingly out of nowhere. This is when this show really picked up in the wrestling quality being shown. This match had a lot of fantastic near falls from each wrestler involved and the crowd was really into this match as it progressed. Cole utilized his quickness and technical prowess to set up his signature maneuvers and anytime it looked like he was about to pull away to a victory, Punishment would hit a gigantic vicious strike or power move. Punishment hit his fantastic, brutal looking choke slam that looked like the end but was a near fall that amazed the crowd. The crowd was split with who they were going for with dueling Undisputed and Punishment chants. Cole was able to get the upper hand after hitting a Shining Wizard out of nowhere that he then transitioned to his Brainbuster to his knee finisher for the win. It was given a lot of time and both wrestlers used it well to deliver an awesome match.

Humberto Carrillo defeated Riddick Moss
This was a fantastic match with great heat due to Moss playing a great heel and Carillo playing a fantastic babyface who sold well while hitting impressive aerial maneuvers. This was another fantastic match that went back and forth with many near falls that drew the crowd. Moss’s ability has really improved, and I now believe that he can be successful as a singles heel because he knows how to get heat from the crowd. At one point, one fan decided to heckle Moss only for him to yell back at the fan with an insult.   Carrillo looked amazing as always and was able to really put on a show tonight with Moss, who in the past would have to be carried but that no longer seems to be the case. Carrillo got the upper hand at the start through his many impressive aerial or springboard maneuvers. Moss then took control when Carrillo went for a springboard arm drag only for Moss to overpower him and yank him face first onto the mat from the ropes. Moss would then utilize several power moves with the most effective being a brutal gory bomb for a near fall that popped the crowd. Moss then hit another brutal power move with a Fireman’s Carry Slam onto Carrillo, whose head bounced pretty hard off of the canvas for another near fall that got a strong pop but led to a tantrum by Moss. Carrillo then made his comeback and won after hitting a headstand on the turnbuckle transitioned into a springboard split-legged moonsault, the move was very impressive just like this match.

Rhea Ripley defeated Mia Yim

This was a fairly decent match, but it followed two outstanding matches and was right before the main event, so these ladies were in a tight spot. They still wrestled well and put on a good match with Mia using her aerial assault on Ripley who countered with her power moves delivered with all of her gimmick’s angst. Mia was able to hit several springboard maneuvers until she was caught by Ripley who nailed a hard-sounding Riptide for the victory.

Main Event: Undisputed Area- Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish defeated the Street Profits 
While this card had some great matches on it and some that were average, the Main Event delivered a spectacle of a wrestling match. This was not the first time the Street Profits faced the Undisputed Era in the Main Event in St. Petersburg and every match has been astounding. Ford was amazing as always, but Dawkins showed some great improvements to his game in this match which led me to the conclusion that they are starting to become a very good tag team. There were fantastic spots in the match like when O’Reilly had Dawkins in a Guillotine Choke only for Ford to make the save for a diving blockbuster from the turnbuckle. Ford hit an amazing Tope on Fish and O’Reilly midway through the match and towards the end, Dawkins cleared house an impressive fashion when Ford was being double teamed. He speared O’Reilly and then hit a massive spinebuster on Fish for a near fall, which like the other great matches on this card were utilized well in this match. The Undisputed Era got the upper hand towards to end and hit their Sweep to Flying Fish Hook finisher which led to the win.

Small venue, good crowd, and entertaining matches that were given adequate time. The Florida Loop rarely disappoints.

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