With only one hour to sell the non believers, NXT did an amazing job last night. This episode is proof that a show doesn’t need 5 star matches to remain relevant, as good storytelling can be just as effective for the audience.
I thought it was smart to start this show off with a promo rather than a match. It also was foreshadowing the entire flow of the episode. Being this close to Takeover, story lines take priority over matches. Sasha stole the segment as she mocked the Bayley fan in the crowd, that was an excellent heel move. I didn’t think she could keep it up for the entire segment but she found ways to garner an audience reaction. Banks was so good in her delivery and because of this I now want her to lose come Saturday. There was no better way to build sympathy for Bayley.
Tyler Breeze vs Jobber
Having Liger’s mask on Tyler’s selfie stick was a beautiful touch to making this feud more interesting. I didn’t care for it being a squash match, because it added Breeze’s program. Having him look strong is essential since his match against Liger will not be a typical heel vs face match. I enjoyed the post match antics and for feud that had little build, it’s been constructed properly.
Hype Bros & Enzo and Big Cass vs A Gang of Jobbers
Since the two babyface tag teams are left without meaningful programs going into Takeover, I found it difficult to care for this match. With this being said, I was excited to see Enzo & Cass, as I sang along with their intro. This was probably a way to keep the crowd entertained, and it was also a smart way to remind everybody they will still be in Brooklyn this weekend.
I felt the backstage interview was efficient for the large 8 man tag match this Saturday. Those men have had no contact with their opponents, but they found a way to make me care.
Samoa Joe vs Steve Cutler
By having Joe win in the similar fashion to Corbin, it added a lot to their feud. In a small way, it showed that Joe can do anything that the lone wolf can. Also Corbin’s post match interference made him look strong. In just two weeks, their brawls have gotten me invested. Within in 5 minutes, Joe and Baron delivered.
Blake & Murphy vs Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton
I didn’t care for the 8 man tag match that occurred earlier because it didn’t have much of a program, but they changed my mind, although I can’t say the same for this match. In fact, Sawyer & Fulton gave me more to care about in this contest than the actual champs. I truly hope Blake & Murphy put on a show, because I don’t want the tag team championship match to flop at Takeover. This means they need to be more effective than their manager, Alexa Bliss.
Kevin Owens/Finn Balor Closing Segment
I didn’t think it was possible, but Owens completely owned the NXT audience. His excellent promo confused and insulted the fans blissfully. I didn’t think anybody could beat Sasha’s promo from earlier, but Owens showed up to the plate and hit a home run. They could have just ended the show here and I would have been happy. Balor’s Undertaker-esque entrance was pulled off well, and I’d like to see him use it more often in big feuds. Overall, this was an awesome segment, and it was a perfect way to end the go home show.
For the second week in a row, I’ve been extremely impressed with the work of the Full Sail superstars. This episode found a way to make every wrestler feel relevant along with their feuds. I actually felt this was a better go home show than Raw, and my money is on NXT outperforming the main roster this weekend. The low point of the show was Blake & Murphy, while the high points were the opening and closing segments. Overall, I give this show an 8.9/10.