Well guys and gals WWE’s NXT had a huge show last night to finish up their year, and I just wanted to throw some thoughts your way. Throw yours mine!
1. Unless WWE really screws Kevin Owens up or he faces some unexpected injury, this guy is gonna be huge. I know this is an NXT crowd and a lot of these fans are probably already aware of who Kevin Steen is on the independent circuit so there could be some early translation issues with the typical WWE main show crowd, but I really think that once they see his moveset and his intensity everyone is going to eat him up. I love that his shirt is just a big KO (I didn’t pick that up before, it’s kind of A+), and I like that while they didn’t have him just run over CJ Parker he was decisive in this victory. It was good to give him a match. It gives us all a preview of what to expect and it leaves the audience longing for more. This open was excellent, and everything special shows like this need.
2. The Lucha Dragons are a really exciting tag team who can definitely get the crowd going with their high flying style. Even I, a huge hater, can appreciate what the Dragons are bringing to the table and I was really impressed with this match. I am becoming a big fan of the Vaudevillians which could be in large part due to the crowd being firmly behind them with some fun chants, but also I appreciate the old style of mat based wrestling. I don’t mind the Dragons pulling out the win here, though I wonder who steps up next. I assume it could just be the Vaudevillians again for awhile. I absolutely dug the chivalrous move
3. L.L. Cool B is what I’m going to call Baron Corbin from now on because the ladies love this guy. If you didn’t know this, you could just listen to the screeching when his music hits with that slick entrance. I think he’s a strong intimidating guy who I like so far more than I like Bull Dempsey, but it’s hard to really make a decision on a guy for me until he’s tested in the ring for more than 20 seconds. His look is good, his entrance is good, his demeanor is fine (though doesn’t Davey Richards have the Lone Wolf moniker on the Indies?) but I can’t just like him based on the shrill shrieking of the lady wrestling fans.
4. I really don’t know what I can say about Finn Balor’s entrance. I’ve youtubed the hell out of Balor as Prince Devitt so I know about his body paint antics, but I don’t think you can really appreciate something until you watch it in your house. Yes, i’m referring to WWE as my house – wheel house you know? Sometimes all it takes for someone is something special that catches the crowd off guard and really amazes them. When you’re Finn Balor and you have these really intricate unique entrances and you’re an amazing wrestler, there is a huge amount of promise for you anywhere. I would love to see this on the larger stage. I think crowds of any ages would lose their mind. Think of all the scared kids in the audience.
5. I really liked what The Ascension vs Itami and Balor gave us in their match. The Ascension is about to get out of NXT and I’ve been worried about their impact, but the way they work together is stellar. They’re big, dominant guys who are smart with what they do. I was worried about them losing and how it would effect their move up, but I don’t think you could take anything away from them after this match. Itami teased a GTS I’m fairly certain which was a pretty fun moment, and though the win for Itami and Balor was predictable the match was something I would not skip. And not just for the entrance.
6. Everyone has talked about the improvement Charlotte has shown in the past year, including myself, but now that we’re aware of how good she is and how she’s dominating the women’s division in NXT there has to be talk about Sasha Banks. I think the whole Divas division in NXT is flourishing and there is no reason matches like this cannot happen on the main roster. The crowd was FIRMLY into this match because there’s a certain point where you just appreciate the great wrestling you’re watching when you’re a fan. Both of these women give everything when they’re in the ring, and the only way to go is up.
7. Sami Zayn is the ultimate babyface. Earlier this year I’d say it was Daniel Bryan but those were the circumstances that drove Bryan to being that huge and it all started when he was actually a heel. Sami is a good guy through and through. He’s the less annoying John Cena. I will take nothing away from Adrian Neville because he is an absolute star as well but I can sum up Sami Zayn in a text I got from someone who watched this match: “Sami Zayn is just amazing. It’s been a long time that I really got excited while watching a match, but he’s just awesome.” The story these two got to build up to get to this point was amazing and well drawn out and I cannot give enough credit to either men because they’d always deserve more. The ending with conflicted Sami wondering if he could do the wrong thing to get the win just added to his “i’m a good guy” story. Neville came off as the more morally ambiguous during this match sure, but really he’s the champion who would do anything to hold onto his belt. This match was awesome.
8. They did the right thing having Kevin Owens attack Sami Zayn after the match. His promos leading up to tonight kept proclaiming that while this was NXT Takeover HE was going to take over. HE was there to fight and show everyone that and while he did a great job against CJ Parker earlier in the night, he needed to make a real statement here. What better time to make a statement than right after ultimate baby face Sami Zayn, your BEST FRIEND finally wins the big one you lay him out and prove that that is why you’re here. To take out the top guy no matter who he is. It was perfect. NXT is an exciting, exciting product. I long for the days these guys make it to the main roster but in the meantime we should all be enjoying NXT.
As you may be able to tell from these thoughts, I loved this show. I wanted to do a list of things I did and didn’t like but the list of things I didn’t like is way too short to come up with one. In fact after a show like this I don’t even want to concentrate on things I didn’t like. The one thing I would say is that they have to figure out if they’re going to keep both Corey Graves and Alex Riley on commentary because I think they both kind of come off as the same type of guy and that could present a problem. I saw recently that A Ry wants “OUT OF THE CAGE” so maybe this is the precursor to that.
If you have anything to add, any thoughts, want to make fun of me for not being able to predict my way out of a paper bag – feel free to do so below or find me at The Twitter.
Heather Miller, @hm_pufnstuf