After a few weeks off, the NXT stars have finally come back to action. I had a tough time believing that the last time we saw these competitors was when they were in London, so I was excited to say the least.
Watching Regal make a simple announcement to open the show was highly effective. He didn’t cut a 10 minute promo on his thoughts, but instead got straight to the point. I’d love to see this with the Authority figures on Raw sometime in the future.
Usually NXT doesn’t open with a superstar cutting a promo, but this was a nice change. Zayn did a great job at getting the crowd behind him, because it was a great set up for the heels to garner heat. I’m not sure if anybody noticed, but the continuity between Joe and Corbin was excellent. I legitimately popped when Joe mentioned how he choked out Corbin back in Brooklyn, which was five months ago. Overall, this was probably the best opening promo I’ve seen in NXT since Kevin Owens was on the show.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Danny Burch
Every time we see Ciampa, he’s been a solid in ring competitor, but this was the first time he wasn’t in the ring with a big name. Even though I know how capable he is, it was tough to stay interested. On the bright side, this is a great way to give him exposure as a serious competitor. Also, he’s not a wrestler that needs squash matches, so I’m glad he was able to show his in ring skill, yet still look dominant.
Dash & Dawson vs The Ascension
After being treated as a joke on the main roster, it’s refreshing to see the Ascension taken seriously on NXT. With that being said, I had no interest to see how this match played out. For the most part, I wasn’t too intrigued with this match, although the announcers did a swell job at putting over both teams. If it wasn’t for them, I might have completely zoned out.
Eva Marie/Nia Jax/William Regal Backstage Promo
This was absolutely horrendous, mainly because of the acting from Eva and Nia.
Elias Samson vs Corey Hollis
I’m guessing that the NXT bookers must be serious about Samson, because this was his second victory in a row. I initially thought they would bring him in as a mysterious babyface, but being heel can also work for his character. However, I do feel that he can drop the smile, because that takes away from his mysteriousness.
Women’s Battle Royal
Apart from Carmella, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka, I didn’t buy into the rest of the pre-taped promos. This is when I have to remind myself that NXT is still a developmental brand.
Asuka looked like the female version of Brock Lesnar in the opening of the match. The fear from the other women allowed her to look like most credible competitor in the ring(which she is). Also, her kick to Eva was a true mark out moment. It wasn’t surprising to see a few botched moves in this match, simply because many of these women are nowhere close to the upper echelon of the division. Due to the “greenness” of many competitors, the match didn’t pick up until the last few minutes. The last spot with Asuka, Eva, and Carmella was magnificent. It had the fans happy, then angry, and eventually happy once again. Carmella’s a great pick for number one contender, and she’ll make a great short term opponent for the champ.
Going into this show, I was highly excited because it was the first NXT of the year. After the excitement wore off, I realized this show was average at best. Apart from the opening and last few minutes, there was a lack of urgency. The low point of the show was Dash & Dawson vs The Ascension, while the high point was the opening segment. Overall, I give this show a 5.5/10.