Even though the next Takeover special isn’t until Mania weekend, I’m loving how many feuds are keeping this show going. Normally when they’re this far out, we see a few throwaway episodes. I must admit, NXT is off to a strong start this year.
Blake and Murphy vs American Alpha
I’m not crazy on the name, but as long as Gable and Jordan continue to get a push, it shouldn’t matter. This was a big win for Gable and Jordan, because Blake and Murphy are the best team they’ve beaten thus far. This was also a smart way to create subtle tension between Alexa Bliss and the former tag champs. I don’t usually find Blake and Murphy entertaining, however they were different in this match. The duo always gets lost on the screen and I think they found a way to stand out in this match. I loved the way Murphy faked an injury in the corner, it just made his character more interesting. Overall, this turned out to be a strong tag match along with a great opener.
Nia Jax vs Liv Morgran
Their backstage promos can use some improvement, but there’s no denying that the pairing of Nia and Eva works well on screen. Jax as a heel needs more heat, and what better way to generate it than getting it from Eva. I wish they’d give Nia a new finisher, because I honestly believe her leg drop lost a ton of credibility after her match with Bayley.
Bull Dempsey vs Alex Riley
Due to spoilers, I knew Riley was returning sometime soon, I just wasn’t too sure of what episode. This match was quite the treat, mainly because we haven’t seen either competitor in a while. Did anybody else catch onto whether Riley was a babyface or heel? Graves seemed to side with him, but didn’t exactly give him the same endorsement as other heels.
Elias Samson vs John Skylar
I’m sick of Samson as of now. The wrestler has been too overexposed within the past few episodes of NXT. If it wasn’t for the announcing team, I wouldn’t have gotten through this contest. They did more decent character building than Samson himself. Also, the crowd didn’t react to him very well on this episode.
Samoa Joe vs Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn
I take it the previous three matches couldn’t be too good, because this match was meant to steal the show. That was done rightfully so, as this contest was stacked with three of the five main attractions on the roster. I really did enjoy the early part with Joe and Zayn, which means their upcoming rivalry should click. Joe is the monster, and Sami s the believable underdog, the story is very natural. The spot of the contest was also between these two, and was coquina clutch outside of the ring. Sami sold it well, and the spit was a good effect .While their chemistry was evident, it made Corbin to look like an afterthought. I figured that was the booking team’s way of getting Corbin to pick up a surprise win, but I was wrong. In my opinion, they should have went with him as the winner, as opposed to the double submission spot. Why wouldn’t the ref count it as loss when he knew there would be no definitive winner? Also, why wouldn’t Regal just restart the match? I know they want a Joe-Zayn feud, but they could have found a better way to get there. At least it ended the episode on a cliff hanger.
This edition of NXT was built around one story, and keeping other feuds relevant. That’s a decent way to format a show because it now has me excited for next week. The low point of the show was Samson vs Skylar, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show a 7.5/10.