9.6

Roderick Strong Becoming NXT Cruiserweight Champion

Bivens turns diamonds into gold

With the last dredges of the black and gold era in the rearview mirror, NXT 2.0 has been barreling forward at full speed. This week we were treated to the excellent Bron Brekker, née Steiner, carrying new champ Ciampa in a fun tag match against Dunne and Holland, along with brunette Mandy Rose leading the new “Toxic Attraction” trio. Putting aside the fact that Toxic Attraction sounds like a Hot Topic Halloween makeup palette, the new side of Rose we’ve seen working with Gigi Dolan and Jacy Jayne suggests big things are in her future. However, in my not so humble opinion, the greatest moment of this week’s NXT wasn’t the main event, or even the fact that they delivered two full women’s matches. To the surprise of absolutely no one who’s ever met me, the highlight of my night was Kushida vs Roderick Strong for the Cruiserwieght championship.

I reviewed Diamond Mine back in June when they first debuted, and I’m pleased to report that the stable hasn’t taken a misstep yet. Tyler Rust’s release didn’t slow the group at all, and they've been hounding Kushida for this match all summer. The CW belt has unfortunately struggled to remain relevant over the past year and a half, due in no part to the very talented individuals who held it. But it was clear that in an era of 45 minute main events and big boy champions, there was very little time for the flippy stuff. NXT 2.0 seems determined to turn that around—at least for a few weeks. Their first offerings have tried to have a little something for everyone, including what we've been waiting for; a match between the man time travel forgot and Florida’s favorite backbreaker. I won’t spend much time going over it because you should see Malcolm Biven's corduroy suit for yourself, but these guys turned out the much anticipated result; gold in the hands of Diamond Mine.