NXT is always at its best when it’s kept simple, and that’s what happened with this go home show. They did an excellent job at using this show to sell next week’s Takeover.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs Hollis & Skylar
Initially I was sad to not see Enzo & Cass work the mic during their intro, but from a story perspective it was awesome to see them acting serious. Allowing them to act more serious than normal shows the crowd that their characters have depth. Usually the two are playing the underdogs, but it was interesting to see them change roles. The post match promo was excellent, as they found a perfect way to convey their message to Dash & Dawson.
Asuka vs Deonna Purazzo
I thought the announce team did a superb job at selling Asuka before the match. Even though Corey Graves sides with heels, his character never fails to recognize talent. The finish to this match was brilliant! We were given the classic distraction entrance from Emma, but it ended up with Asuka looking even stronger. A knock out finish is rare, but it made Askua look like a beast.
Hype Bros vs Blake & Murphy
I’m glad they brought up the previous match from a few weeks ago, as it gave this one some context. After seeing Mojo Rawley’s story on Breaking Ground, I can’t help but cheer for him. Every documentary piece the WWE makes always works in terms of getting certain wrestlers over with the fans. I typically can’t stand watching anything to do with Blake and Murphy, but the Hype Bros did a great job at making this exciting.
Bayley vs Peyton Royce
I didn’t know what to think of Peyton’s new character, but it’s good to know she’s trying something new. After all, that’s what NXT is about. The spot of the match occurred early on, and it was Royce’s running knee. The camera angle for the move was perfect, and so was Bayley’s selling. However, I disliked the flow of this match ,because it was centered around Peyton having the momentum until Bayley made her come back. That type of booking is okay if it’s consistant, but we saw the champ easily run through Eva and her shenanigans two weeks ago.
Finn Balor & Apollo Crews vs Baron Corbin & Samoa Joe
It wasn’t until these men were all in the ring that I realized how much larger the heel team was. They towered over Balor and Crews, but this also allowed for them to wrestle like underdogs. The pacing of this contest was well done, as they gave us a taste for the matches at Takeover, but didn’t spoil them. Since Joe has already proven that his coquina clutch is Balor’s kryptonite, I thought it was effective for the finish. I find it interesting that this kind of booking works on NXT, yet for some reason it doesn’t translate as well on the main roster. Roman Reigns had beaten Sheamus clean on Raw, and for some reason many fans weren’t buying into that as story advancement. My guess is that it has to do with how well the overall feud is presented.
This week’s episode of NXT accomplished what Raw wasn’t able to do, and that was delivering a competent go home show. The major stories weren’t just given the spotlight, but they were furthered. The low point of the show was Bayley’s match plus the post match promo from Jax, while the high point was Asuka’s KO win. Overall, I give this show an 8.7/10