Once again, NXT pulls through with a great episode. The fans got two title matches, along with two solid builds for Takeover.
Patrick Clarke vs Sean Maluta
It was announced last week Clarke would be on the show, and having him open it was probably the best spot for his return. This worked because it allowed for the commentary team to praise Patrick and discuss his character, which is important if he’s going to be a regular on NXT. Thankfully this wasn’t too long, as that would’ve worked against their intended goal.
Asuka vs Peyton Royce
Going into this contest, it was fairly obvious that we weren’t going to see a new champion emerge. However, that shouldn’t take away from the overall enjoyment, as much of this was about how(and if) Kay and Royce would attempt to cheat.
While Kay did decisively lose, I’m glad she was given a few moments of offence. There’s nothing wrong with Asuka looking like a beast, but it’s crucial for Kay and Royce to still look like a credible threat. At the end of the day, the heel duo still ran through most of the women’s division. That also allows goes to show how it’s not always easy for Asuka to defeat her opponents.
As I mentioned earlier, much of the enjoyment usually comes from how Kay and Royce would potentially tamper with the match, but that never came into fruition. Instead we were given clean action, which was refreshing for Kay and Royce. While it makes the two look incompetent for not using their numbers advantage, it also makes the audience wonder if the result would be different had they both gotten involved.
Since Ember Moon made the save on Asuka, it’s safe to assume they’ll be headlining women’s portion of Takeover. I’m fine with how this worked out, because we don’t need to see Ember jump through hoops to get a title shot. Technically she wasn’t pinned in the triple threat from last week, and she’s the only competitor in NXT Asuka has yet to wrestle.
DIY vs Authors of Pain
Within the past few weeks, the bookers have done an excellent job at revitalizing the tag division. There may be only three teams that are highlighted, but they’re all doing a brilliant job at keeping the division entertaining. The recent tension between the three teams is what made the idea of this match more exciting than the one from Takeover: San Antonio.
As for the in ring portion, this very much mimicked the pace of their Takeover match. It essentially requires the viewer to be patient before anything important happens. Keep in mind, this type of formula allows for a green team such as AoP to keep up with two veterans such as Gargano and Ciampa.
I was convinced this would end clean, but I’m glad it didn’t. The interference from the Revival was extremely well done, as they did in fact look like top guys once the show was over. This also meant that DIY didn’t have to lose again, and they didn’t need to spoil the AoP’s first ever loss. I’d say it was a win-win situation for the division.
With only the use of three matches, this episode of NXT felt quite meaningful. With there being two title matches, this show was climactic while it furthered/created feuds. It appears that writers of NXT have found a formula that allows every episode to tell some sort of story. The last throwaway episode was probably the one after Takeover: San Antonio.
The low point was the Clarke-Maluta match, and the high point was the Revival’s interference. Overall, this episode deserves an 8/10.