NXT

On to the NXT One – Johnny Depp Starter Kit Edition (Feb.11)

Credit: WWE.com
Credit: WWE.com

With some time left until the next Takeover, we’re entering what should be a slow time for NXT. However, so far NXT has yet to stick to their formula from last year. What I thought would be a boring throwaway show, turned out to be quite entertaining.

Johnny Gargano vs Baron Corbin

The venue of this show caught me off guard. I was aware they had done tapings away from Full Sail, but I wasn’t aware it was for this show. Unlike many fans, I actually enjoy Baron Corbin, and I felt he did a solid job in this match. He fed off the energy of the crowd, along with showcasing his much improved in ring ability. Gargano on the other, I couldn’t care less about.

The Hype Bros vs John Skyler & Corey Hallis

I absolutely loved how Cory Graves added the Internet Championship as one of Zack Ryder’s accomplishments. Obviously it doesn’t mean much, but it’s rather amusing for anybody that kept up with Ryder’s Youtube show. I thought this was a great comeback win after their set back from last week. I’d consider this smart booking, as it allowed for them to regain some momentum.

Alexa Bliss vs Cameron

It’s great that they gave Alexa this match, because it shows me that they’re serious about keeping her relevant. The only confusing part about this match was that it was heel vs heel. It’s not common to see two villains duke it out, but it’s always entertaining. I didn’t feel like the match was anything great, however it was a good way to get Bliss over. Even though the contest wasn’t anything spectacular, watching Bliss wrestle was much more entertaining than watching Blake & Murphy in the ring.

Elias Samson vs Jesse Sorenson

The last time I saw Samson, I remember being annoyed of him already. This was also a problem for me in this match as well. Normally I praise Graves on his announcing, but he didn’t help with building Elias in this match. Instead of selling him as a threat, he did his best to portray him as some sort of poser. I just zoned out for most of this contest.

Bayley vs Carmella

I enjoy how the big stars of NXT don’t wrestle or even appear on every episode. It allows for them to feel like special attractions, while making their matches seem more important. I’m aware Bayley has wrestled within the past few weeks, but I know it wasn’t too recent. I don’t believe that Carmella is an extraordinary wrestler, although she’s had better outings than this one. For some reason she couldn’t manage to keep up with Bayley for this first half. I understand this was her longest match in NXT, but at least put forth some effort from start to finish. Carmella’s largest weakness here was her lack of selling. However, the Queen of Staten Island looked like a million bucks after perfectly executing two suicide dives. At that moment, she did enough for me to fully buy into the match. The last five minutes did a lot for Carmella’s character; much more than anything else we’ve seen. By the time the match was finished, she came across as a resilient competitor that barely lost.

The more we see Eva Marie’s, the more I’m starting to like her character’s direction. The booking team at NXT has done a brilliant job at building around the heat she garners. I’m glad that she and Nia Jax got involved after the match, because it gives the viewers something to look forward to right away. Also, I couldn’t have been the only one to mark out after Bayley and Asuka had a stare down.

Conclusion

There’s fans that enjoy squash matches, and there’s fans that don’t, I believe I’m in the middle. This was one show where I felt the glorified squash matches actually worked for the winners. Every victor was in need of a win, and they received it on this show. The low point of the show was Samson vs Sorenson, while the high point was the last 7 minutes of the show. Overall, I give this show a 6.5/10.

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