After a hectic edition of Monday Night Raw, NXT gave us an episode that wasn’t so frustrating. This was the first time NXT was taped in a different venue, meaning it was a big show. My predictions may not have been spot on, but they still put on a great show.
Kalisto vs Tyler Breeze
The pairing of these two had all the ingredients for an entertaining match. Since these two are very agile this contest started off to a fast pace, which was quite entertaining. My favorite spot from the match was Breeze’s drop kick to counter Kalisto from the top rope. While the match was entertaining, I couldn’t help but notice how loud this crowd was, it goes to show NXT is very popular outside of Florida. Once Kalisto gained some substantial momentum it showed the Breeze was able to keep up with different styles, even modern day lucha. It was refreshing to watch Kalisto in singles competition, because it showed he can work more than just hot tags and bat down selling. Overall I enjoyed the match, it was a great way to open a special show.
Finn Balor/Alex Riley Promo
The promo between these two was effective, and probably the best use of a backstage segment we’ve seen in weeks. I like how Balor has established Owens as someone to take seriously, it shows that he’s a true competitor. Also, I found it as a good way to keep Riley humble before his match.
Big Cass vs Wesley Blake
Enzo and Cass were insanely over during their entrance, and I’m happy their gimmick is working for them. I did feel that Carmella’s part in this entrance was a bit forced though. The contest was set for Blake to sell the power of Cass’ wrestling, but Cass also sold Blake’s moves decently. Cass stole the show in this match and I felt he deserved to win, but I guess NXT would rather keep their champions looking strong, even if they cheat. This feud is beginning to heat up, especially since the two teams have had a chance to interact on the show.
Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks
Albert and Graves’ discussion about the word “ratchet” gave me a good chuckle to start the match. I was a little surprised Banks was able to hit a signature move right away, that’s usually a spot she builds towards. When Bliss gained some momentum, she looked great because it looked like she lost the ring rust from last week. The ending of this match was less than stellar, and it seemed to have put the crowd to sleep. It did keep Bliss looking strong, but they could have done that if she lost a close match.
Ales Riley vs Kevin Owens
This crowd definitely wanted Owens to destroy Riley, but they had the right to considering he was the main attraction for this episode. I was hoping this would be a split match, and I wasn’t too far off, Riley did much better than I thought. It was obvious that Owens would make an example of Riley, but at least it wasn’t a full on squash match. This contest was just as anybody would imagine, average and meant to build Owens as a monster. The most exciting part of the match was definitely the ending, when Balor made the save on the post-match beat down. I absolutely marked out when Balor and Owens began fighting outside the ring. While the match itself wasn’t anything special, the confrontation at the end was amazing.
I thought last night was a sound episode of NXT, and all of the stars showcased why the fans love it. While the matches didn’t reflect my predictions from yesterday, I was happy with most of the show. They could have let certain matches go longer, but they needed to cover their week in Columbus and show the audience at home how the experience went. Overall I give last night’s episode an 8/10.