NXT has gained a ton of momentum within the past week, and that’s mainly attributed to the writers properly developing fresh faces. The presence of new stars is becoming more apparent as the weeks go on, and hopefully that’ll translate into a successful Takeover.
Rich Swann & No Way Jose vs Tony Nese & Drew Gulak
After seeing Swann and Jose enter the ring together, I was completely sold on them as a tag team. They both have similar gimmicks, which makes them likeable. On the other hand Gulak and Nese came across as bland in comparison to their opponents. I can assure my readers that I didn’t care to see them win. This makes me wonder whether if those two would be better off as singles competitors.
The in ring work was decent, and it helped that there was a team fans wanted to see succeed. Considering how Swann and Jose are scheduled to face the Authors of Pain in the next round, they probably won’t make a deep run in the tournament, which is a shame.
Bobby Roode vs Sean Maluta
The match itself wasn’t anything more than a showcase of Roode’s in ring ability, but that’s fine because that’s not what this was about. I thought Graves and Phillips were great, as they actually discussed Roode’s new feud with Tye Dillinger. After seeing Dillinger challenge his former tag partner, the announce team knew exactly how to follow it up. Along with that Bobby’s post match promo was excellent and he gave the audience the perfect heel reason on why he ditched Dillinger. All of this only made Tye’s run in more exciting.
Peyton Royce/Billie Kay Beat down
At first the beat down on Liv Morgan was done in a generic manner, but it looked quite brutal once they dragged her to the stage. The kick that Royce delivered looked vicious, and it actually made me cringe (in a good way, of course). Now that they put Asuka and every other woman on notice, it’s great to see they have a direction for the upcoming weeks
Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic vs Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
The crowd got behind Strong, but I’m shocked Full Sail didn’t pop louder when his name appeared on the tron. It’s not like he’s completely unknown, and I’m sure most of the fans that watch NXT would be familiar with with his work. I also found the dynamic between the two teams to be quite strange. With Roderick debuting, him and Aries came across as the babyfaces, and with the other two being much larger they looked like heels. Regardless of that, they still put forth a decent match. I thought Strong and Aries did a solid job at making their opponents look good, which showed us that their win didn’t come easy.
Nikki Cross vs Danielle Kamela
I can see Nikki Cross doing very well in the NXT women’s division, and eventually the main roster’s women’s division. She has a different attitude that makes her distinguishable, and in a time where women are getting the spotlight, this will help her cause. She very much reminds me of Rosemary from TNA.
The only thing that didn’t make sense was how the official had to reverse the decision. Cross didn’t cheat, and it’s not like post match beat downs are uncommon.
Shinsuke Nakamura/Patrick Clark Promo
Since the last time Shinsuke cut a promo, his english has vastly improved. That’s a sign that he truly wants to make the most of his stay in WWE/NXT.
I can’t say I was expecting Patrick Clark to interrupt this segment. That was the biggest swerve I’ve seen on NXT television in a long time. He also did a solid job on the mic, and his words perfectly fit the look he’s going for. He’s an easy person to boo, and that only made Nakamura’s kinsasha even better.
This episode of NXT actually accomplished a lot more than it appeared to. They didn’t spend too much time on the main title feud, but it worked well at developing the mid card and giving the fans a reason to care about other teams in the Dusty Classic. The low point was the referee’s decision to reverse Cross’ win, while the high point was watching Swann & Jose team up. Overall, I give this show an 8/10.