I had some free time on my hands, so why not spend it on doing my very first NXT review?
Jushin “Thunder” Liger def. Tyler Breeze
Well, considering all the predictions that had Breeze going over here, I’d say this was somewhat of an upset. Anyways, considering that Liger is 50 years old, he moved pretty well here to be honest, and this was the perfect bout to get the crowd warmed up for the rest of the night. I wasn’t overwhelmed or anything, but then again, that wasn’t the point of the bout. This was more of the appetizer to the rest of the evening’s festivities. Very acceptable bout to start the night. Oh, and for your daily fun fact, Liger has the same birthday as me. November 30th, baby. ***
The Vaudevillans def. Blake (C) and Murphy(C) – WWE NXT Tag Team Titles
So how about that pop for Blue Pants’ return, eh? To be honest, I really didn’t get into it until the tag to Gotch was made, but the action was energetic from that point on. The tower of doom spot, Alexa and Blue Pants fighting each other, and everything in between. The Tower of Doom spot followed by the Swanton was a great near fall as well. Both these teams had some great chemistry together and the psychology of Blake and Murphy always preventing The Vaudevillians making the tag until they finally overcame it was greatly played out. Another great bout, and a feel good moment of the Vaudevillans taking the titles. ***1/2
Apollo Crews def. Tye Dillinger
I’m wondering if Apollo ever googled Bobby Lashley’s name on Twitter and asked, “Hey, are you my long lost brother?”. Anyways, I liked the confidence showed in Apollo’s debut here. For a man of Crews’ size, I have to say, his ability is simply astonishing. My fear coming into this match was that it was going to be somewhat of a squash, but I’m glad they let it play out. Apollo has great upside if you ask me. That standing moonsault to finish the match was rather impressive looking to me. Match wasn’t too short, wasn’t too long and was straight to the pint, and I liked that they gave this an extended period. Inoffensive action and they didn’t lose the crowd. Solid. **1/4
Samoa Joe def. Baron Corbin
I’m sorry, but WWE is treating Samoa Joe as if he is a rookie who needs to know the ropes. Just look at this match as Exhibit A. His offensive move set is much more diverse. Anyways, both men looked unusually tired and there was too many rest holds and dead spots and the crowd subsequently lost the energy that was there earlier in the show. Also, the finish sort of came out of nowhere as I was expecting more build-up to the finish. Not to mention that Joe had more offense in the match than Corbin. Oh, and what happened to the ref raising the guy’s hand while he was in the submission hold? Whatever. I think Corbin needed a big time performance here to validate some of the predictions that he is the one that has the IT factor, but this match wasn’t it for me. Needs more development. And from the facial expressions from both men in the match, more cardio is needed as well. **1/2
Bayley def. Sasha Banks (C) – NXT Diva’s Title
Winner was never in doubt, but they were playing with our emotions for a while. Guys, we need to establish something here. Sasha Banks is 23 years old. Yet her ring psychology is that of a general. Her working over Bayley’s right hand was not only vicious, but that of a valiant technician. Daniel Bryan and Chris Benoit comes to mind. Of course, none of this would matter had Bayley not consistently sell the right arm injury as well and her consistency in doing so was beautiful to watch as well. But the inverted hurricanrana from the top rope followed by the Belly to Bayley after? My goodness. These were one of those matches that you had to see live to appreciate how great it was, but behind a computer screen, it didn’t ruin the moment. The embrace after was just icing on the cake. Normally I’m not for a heel and a face embracing like that after, but all things considering, this was more than an exception. Ladies and gentlemen, forget about that stupid #GiveDivasAChance thing that WWE did earlier this year. THIS is what real change looks like. THIS is a revolution. Beautiful work from all involved. ****3/4
Finn Balor (C) def. Kevin Owens – NXT Title Ladder Match
It’s kind of funny. After Bayley/Sasha, this felt like this got the death slot of the show despite it being the main event. In terms of quality, this reminded me of the Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose ladder match. It kind of took a while for them to incorporate the ladders as they stuck to some outside and inside ring work. Despite that, I enjoyed the match. I’m sure the crowd did as well, but they can only expend so much energy. That is why I was petitioning for the ladies to go on last. That said, I can’t take anything away from the match. There were tons of brutal spots here, and the Coup De Grace from the top of the ladder was sickening to watch. Finn also took a lot of punishment on his back as well. Once the adrenaline is gone from those two, they are sure to feel it. KO especially, since he has Cesaro tomorrow, and then RAW the next night. The man is earning his paycheck. I thought Kevin Owens was going to go over because of the fact that all the faces were winning, but I can see that Bayley and Finn Balor have the responsibility of carrying NXT before their main roster call-up. A great match to end the show, but probably not as great as the co-main event. ****
What can I say? NXT has done it once again. Saying this show was awesome probably doesn’t do it much justice. It’s safe to say that Summerslam and the main roster have their work cut out for them. I’m under the impression that WWE thinks more matches and more time on the show will correspond to a better show. Simply not the case. There was very little, if any, bad on this show, one of the main events over-delivered, and everything else was what it needed to be. Title changes, returns, brutal spots and great wrestling make for a thumbs way up on this show. Until tomorrow, y’all. Summerslam, let’s see what you got.