NXT

On to the NXT One – Star Studded Edition (Apr.23)

Normally most episodes of NXT are built around a few top attractions, but this week we got lucky and saw all the main stars. It can be tough to handle insert all that star power within the 50 minutes that they have, but they did a great job at pulling it off. At times I didn’t agree with small details, but overall we were given a superb show.

Finn Balor vs Tye Dillinger

It’s actually been quite some time since we’ve seen Balor compete. Last time we saw him in a NXT televised show was during the taped Wrestlemania Axxess show (which wouldn’t really count). Before that, his last match was against Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship. I was taken back that this match went over 2 minutes, but it was clearly used for Balor to get some screen time. Once Balor picked up the win, I think they could have just gone with a shorter squash match, because the first few minutes didn’t really have substance. Tyler Breeze cut a good taped promo, and it’s clearly the start of their new feud. This matchup will be very fresh for the fans, and the two competitors will most likely have some great in ring work together.

Bayley vs Charlotte vs Becky Lynch

The pace of the match felt cluttered and messy to begin with. To their credit though, triple threat matches aren’t the easiest to work. When Bayley and Charlotte began to work while Becky was outside the ring, the two put on a clinic. The crowd in attendance was clearly behind Bayley, and I found it odd that Flair didn’t get as much crowd support. I enjoyed Lynch’s aggressiveness in this contest and was happy they didn’t book her as a cowardly heel. During this match I was quite impressed with Bayley’s subtle selling of most moves, and selling of her injured leg. The spot Charlotte and Bayley double teaming Becky, looked slightly botched on Bayley’s part. Although that spot was sold amazingly by Lynch. The finish to the match was pretty creative, and it was a sneaky way to make Becky the number one contender. I do think Bayley should have looked passed out from the Figure 8, because the pinfall itself looked weak. Overall this was an entertaining match, and it got me excited for the NXT Women’s title feud.

CJ Parker vs Hideo Itami

It was funny to watch CJ Parker cower away from someone smaller than him, but I guess that goes to show how credible they’re making Itami look. I enjoyed this contest much more than the opening contest, because Parker actually wrestled with intensity. If someone who has never seen NXT wrestling watched this match, they would think both men had an equal chance of winning. Even though we knew Hideo would win, they did made the most of their short match. I enjoyed the finish to the match because Parker sold it well, and it showed some continuity to the Itami special we saw 2 weeks ago by making him look strong.

Rhyno vs Jobber

Well all I can say is that I think this was a great way to book Rhyno after his loss to Sami Zayn. The NXT writers made sure he still came of as a threat, and not just anybody can beat him in the ring. This squash match actually had more meaning than most might think.

Alex Riley vs Kevin Owens

I’m glad they gave Riley another shot at Owens, because he’s a character I wouldn’t mind receiving a good build. There was no way A-Ry was going to come out on top, but at least they gave him a chance to look good against the champ. While Owens did eventually capture the momentum of this match, he was able to properly sell Riley’s bursts of energy. I didn’t mind this as the main event because it put an end to this mini feud between the two, and reopened the program for Owens and Zayn. As much as we love Owens, I had a huge smile on my face when I saw Zayn run down and attack him. The swanton from the top rope to outside of the ring was spot of the show if not spot of the month for NXT. Zayn and Owens are now setup for the perfect revenge angle, and it shall make for some superb television.

Conclusion

I’ll openly admit, I picked on some small things for this episode, but it was pretty entertaining. Every pro wrestling show will have spots and moments that can’t be perfect, and they shouldn’t be judged on that. I loved how this edition of NXT gave us enough star power, and set up big feuds for the upcoming special in May. While we had a few squash matches, they at least meant something. Overall I give this episode a 7.9/10.

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