Going into this show we knew the WWE was going to give us Samoa Joe vs Kevin Owens, so it was tough for them to mess this up. The show actually delivered in all other aspects, which helped grow the characters and their programs. If you’re a fan of Finn Balor, you’ll love this episode.
Alexa Bliss, Blake, & Murphy vs Carmella, Enzo Amore, & Big Cass
I thought this was a good way to start the show, as Enzo and Cass know how to get a crowd excited. The match started off slow and it was able to because of how excited the audience was. I didn’t care for the technical aspect of this contest, I just wanted to see some drama, and they delivered. The massive brawl that ensued was the spot of the match, just because they gave me what I wanted to see. After a few weeks of seeing the women in their new roles for this feud, I’m really starting to enjoy their work. The two even found a way to work a fast pace when they were tagged in. The finish was done well, and I agreed with it. The contest wasn’t a wrestling spectacle, but they got me emotionally invested, which is what matters at the end of the day.
Finn Balor Special
We haven’t learnt much about Balor outside of the fact he likes to use war paint, but this was a nice change of pace. I enjoyed that he brought up his real name and described who he was before NXT. Becky Lynch’s emotional words were quite touching and it also gave a great insight on her career before NXT. Overall, I’m glad they showed this because it gave the audience a way to emotionally connect with Finn in a different way.
Charlotte vs Cassy
Charlotte’s early use of her fake handshake was very funny. The small uses of her father’s character give her more depth. At first I thought this would be a full out squash match, but Charlotte did a swell job at selling for her rookie opponent. I’m sure Cassy isn’t the most polished of female wrestlers at the performance center, and somehow Flair made her look decent. Overall, this was a solid way to showcase the 2nd generation wrestler while giving us a decent match.
Samoa Joe vs Kevin Owens
Every time I see Samoa Joe I get even more excited just because it’s amazing to finally see him in a WWE ring. Right off the bat Joe showed us why he’s one of Owens biggest challenges yet. Before the two even did anything, the crowd was chanting “this is awesome” and that’s exactly how I felt. The enzigiri by Joe was graceful and smooth, easily one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. Owens came across as a tad bit scared, more than normal. I hope he doesn’t do this often because it takes away from him being a monster heel. When Kevin finally gained an advantage over his opponent, I was able to notice the dislike they had for each other, which is only a good sign of amazing in ring story telling. The spot of the match was Owens’ headlock, simply because it started the chant “headlock city”. Besides the humor behind the chant, the move itself was sold well by both competitors, which goes back to what Heyman said on Austin’s podcast 2 weeks ago. As mentioned before, the dislike felt real, and I was glad to see they ended the match with them just continuously brawling. The visual of multiple people pulling them apart was beautiful. Overall, the match was well worked, and properly finished.
This particular edition of NXT went by pretty fast, and that’s because they did an amazing job at building excitement amongst the crowd. The stars of the show were given importance, and for the most part they connected on an emotional level. If I had to pick a low point of the show I’d say it was the women’s match, and the high point was the main event. I didn’t believe the women’s match was bad, but it was the least entertaining out of all the segments. Overall, I give this show a 7.6/10.
Also, be sure to check out the first ever edition of the Casual Smart Radio. Myself and Aaron Flow break down all of the action from Sunday night.