After the terrible edition of NXT we were given last week, I’d say they made up for it with this show. This was definitely one of those episodes where they were willing to display many of their “big guns.”
TM61 vs Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari
Tony Nese was one of the few standouts that have been eliminated from the CWC, and it’s great to see that the WWE is willing to showcase him. I believe he has a great look, with an even better move set. The pop he received from this Full Sail crowd is a testament to how over he became from the tournament. In fact, his popularity made Daivari feel like an afterthought.
Honestly, I was expecting this to be a full out squash match, but to my surprise is was the complete opposite. There was a great back and forth that allowed for both teams to look strong. Of course TM61 had to go over (as they’re main stays on the roster), but if the WWE plans on signing Nese or Daivari, the fan base can look at them with credibility. Believe it or not, there were actually moments where I thought the two former CWC competitors would win.
Initially, I thought this interview was pointless, however, it subtly played into the next match.
Leah Von vs Ember Moon
Ember Moon’s entrance is pretty damn good, and her music is quite catchy, however I feel that she’s smiles too much. Her character is supposed to be dark and mysterious, yet once she takes the scarf off it’s tough to buy into that because she has an ear to ear smile.
The match itself was decent, as it accomplished what it had to. This quick enhancement match showcased Moon to be a threat to the women’s division. Watching her pick up a convincing win after Asuka’s interview couldn’t have been a coincidence.
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Austin Aries
I’m surprised they gave this match away for nothing, because these two could have easily been involved in a feud of their own. On any other show, this could have easily been the main event.
With Aries being the full blown heel, and Almas being the babyface, the two did a masterful job at playing to those roles. For a match with almost no context, I believe they truly found a way to pull in the audience. Since they both wrestle a similar style, they worked very well of one another, and kept the fast pace alive throughout the entire match.
The outcome of this match shows me that Almas isn’t someone they consider to be a main eventer, yet. While he did put forth a strong match, this is his second consecutive clean loss. Hopefully they have something interesting prepared for him. As for Aries, this was a huge win for him, and it makes him look like a million bucks heading into a feud with Hideo Itami.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Steve Cutler
I’m sure many fans watching on the Network were happy about Joe being on commentary, because his presence did give this some context. If he wasn’t there, this would be nothing more than an enhancement match. While this wasn’t very long, I give credit to Nakamura, because he simply knows how to make the most of his time in the ring. He seems to have become the centerpiece of NXT, and from the reactions he’s receving, the fans are openly welcoming him.
I must admit, NXT had a bounce back week with this episode. Not only was there a great showcase of in ring talent, there was a ton of substance that’ll help the product moving forward. For this particular show, there wasn’t a weak point, but the high point was the opening tag match. Overall, I give this episode a 9/10.