After watching this episode, it feels like we’re closer to Takeover than we actually are. The writers and bookers of NXT did a superb job at making everything mean something on this show, even if it was just minor.
Seeing Joe open the show two weeks in a row was quite different, because normally we don’t see many opening promos in NXT. Along with that, he delivered a bad ass promo in regards to his attack on Nakamura. In no way did it have the same tone as last week’s opening segment, and that helped thicken the plot in this program.
William Regal also deserves a ton of credit for selling the seriousness of Joe’s threat. The look on his face said it all, and I believed that his character was genuinely scared of Joe running amuck.
Oney Lorcan vs Austin Aries
Oney’s last appearance on NXT was when he defeated Tye Dillinger, but if the announce team didn’t mention that I would’ve forgotten. I’m quite sure that match was well before the Cruiserweight Classic, so I don’t understand why they waited so long to build on his surprise win.
At least the crowd was into this match, because I wasn’t. These two lacked chemistry, and they couldn’t manage to find something that worked. However, I do applaud Phillips and Graves for pushing the idea of Oney possibly picking up the upset win once again. That’s just a testament to their skill as announcers.
There’s two months left until Takeover, but it’s great to see Itami and Aries slowly building their feud. The interactions have been short, but for now that’s the best way to book this program.
Billie Kay vs Aliyah
We haven’t seen Kay seen since her loss to Ember Moon, so she felt a bit cold coming into this match. That’s a shame, because she had done a great job at gaining momentum prior to Takeover. Apart from that, this hard fought win was crucial for her. It’s also worth noting that Aliyah looked much more polished here than her previous television matches.
I usually never care about what the crowd chants at Full Sail, or anywhere else, but I just didn’t understand the fans during this match. Where was the logic in chanting “this is filler”? Most episodes of NXT are filler, so what made this different?
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Cedric Alexander
Is it me, or is Almas slowly becoming the Roman Reigns of NXT? By that I mean a babyface who’s having trouble getting over, because this crowd wasn’t too excited to see him.
After being one of the four cruiserweights that stole that show on Raw, Cedric had a chance to keep his momentum going. I believe the WWE did a great job by signing him, because he proved in this match that he can make the most from the opportunities they give him. Both Cedric and Almas showcased a strong back and forth, while telling a story of their own.
Speaking of stories, I thought the writers missed a great chance at turning Cien heel after this match. At the same time, if they do turn him, it’s probably best to save that for his next program, as we don’t know if Cedric is sticking around in NXT. Hopefully that’s sooner than later, because it would be terrible to see them waste one of their top prospects.
For a show that only consisted of three matches, a promo, and a few backstage interviews, this episode of NXT proved that sometimes less means more. It felt like every segment carried some sort of meaning, and yes, I’m also including Kay vs Aliyah, as it gave Kay a chance to be seen after her big loss. We may not have seen major plot development, but there was only a need for minor development on this show. The low point of the show was Aries vs Lorcan (just the match), while the high point was the opening segment. Overall, I give this show a 7/10.