With Takeover being two weeks away, this episode was quite insightful for most of the midcard feuds. There was a good usage of promos and video packages, which should have fans excited for most programs.
Aleister Black vs Cezar Bononi
There’s not much to say about what happened here. It was a simple squash match that showcased Black. Luckily for him, he’s over enough to pull off these short matches. With that being said, it’s unfortunate how he hasn’t been scheduled for a match at Takeover. Obviously he’ll be there to compete with someone, but why wait until the go home show to decide that? That’s been the only con about his booking.
Nikki Cross Interview
The Ruby Riot video package was fine, but Nikki Cross’ interview was a true showcase of her character. Oddly enough, she hadn’t spoken much until this interview, so that added some depth to her. Also, it was fairly amusing.
DIY vs Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss
I thought Tino & Moss acted as great foils for DIY on this show. The two rookies come across as obnoxious, which makes them the perfect opponents for Ciampa & Gargano to beat up on.
The match itself wasn’t too long, but it still allowed for Sabbatelli & Riddick to look strong. DIY did an excellent job at selling for them, and making them appear credible, especially Ciampa. Not only did this match give DIY a boost before their ladder match at Takeover, it also solidified a new tag team in the division.
Speaking of the ladder match, Regal did a great job at announcing the stipulation. He properly built to it, making it a surprise for the viewer and Paul Ellering.
Hideo Itami vs Roderick Strong
Truth be told, I had an issue behind the booking and build up for this match. First all, there wasn’t any build up to begin with, as this was just announced last week. Secondly, announcing Hideo as Roode’s next opponent would’ve been much simpler. If Kassius Ohno can demand and receive a title match, why can’t Itami? Not only would that give the main program some time to be built up, it would also give Strong an in depth feud of his own.
Taking all the points I made into consideration, and the fact that this was incredibly predictable, it was tough to get invested. The only thing I could think about was how this would leave Roderick with the minimum for Takeover. After the amazing work the producers of NXT did with his back story, I fully believe he should’ve been given something that was more long term.
Don’t get me wrong, the in ring action was solid, but these days strong work rate isn’t something we rarely see. However, it was a great showcase for Strong, as this was only the second time fans have seen him in singles action against another top NXT star.
Overall, there’s not much I can say about the finish. It was expected.
Aside from the main event scene, this show did a great job at promoting the other established feuds for Takeover. At no point did it feel overly booked, and the simplicity made it easy to watch.
The low point of the show was the main event, while the high points were Cross’ interview and the tag team match. Overall, this show deserves a 6/10.