Roderick Strong Becoming Cruiserweight Champion: A Review

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.

Roderick Strong Becoming NXT Cruiserweight Champion

9.6

After his old friends all went insane, Roddy deserves to hang out with beefy people who just want to beat everybody up, and also Malcolm Bivens. He's earned this.

Pros
  • NXT pushing Diamond Mine as a big part of their rebranding feels like a gift to me, personally. After being forced to sit through months of Kross matches and LA Knight promos, I can finally have a little treat.
  • Ivy Nile has already proved herself a great addition to the group as she delivered the final blow to Kushida here.
  • For all the complaining I do about NXT’s reliance on re-matches, I can’t wait to see Kushida vs Roddy 2.0.
  • These guys can put on a barn-burner, but I understand them wanting to save that for a bigger stage. I'll wait impatiently for it.
  • We've already got Strong vs Grayson Waller scheduled for next week, and the prospect of Bivens attempting a mocking Australian accent is making me rub my little hands together in excitement.
  • It's wild how much personality and fun Roddy has when he's put in the right group situation. It's such a far cry from the white-meat babyface they attempted to push before he joined UE.
Cons
  • I can’t believe I’m saying this about an NXT match but it was far too short. This was just a little taste of what we all deserve to see.
  • Roddy with the buzzed head looks just like Justin Theroux in Parks and Rec. I'm really sorry that I have to remind you all that Justin Theroux was in Parks and Rec, but I'm definitely not wrong here.
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