Hey everyone, please welcome Jake St-Pierre to the HTC Writing Staff! He will be reviewing NXT every week.
I feel like starting the show off with a guaranteed dumpster fire like Carmella vs. Eva Marie probably isn’t a sound idea. I’m not as harsh on Eva Marie as most, but still. Sure she’s terrible at pretty much everything but I think she’s at least doing a good job adjusting to the crowd’s upheaval at her mere existence. And it always gives me solace when a girl – no matter how talentless – can at least run the ropes better than Kelly Kelly. Baby steps, guys. Carmella is cancer without Enzo and Cass though, and every time I hear that Iggy Azalea ripoff entrance music, it makes me wish Scott Stapp and Fred Durst went on a cocaine binge in the studio and shit out something better. The match sucks, by the way. Eva is getting there charisma-wise but man alive does she SUCK in the ring. Carmella isn’t that much better than her either. Making light of the infamous KICK OUT!~! is clever, though and at least it distracts from the wrestling and whoever decided to let these two even go 5 minutes. I guess you have to take in what you can, so good on NXT for at least trying to make 9 year old chicken salad out of fermented chicken shit.
I’m going to start counting the days until Byron Saxton leaves like a prison sentence. I don’t even know why I hate him so much at this point. After this Diva’s Revolution stuff ends, can we have Triple H come out and start the #AnnouncersRevolution? I’m beggin’ ya. His bickering with Graves is the WORST. Graves and Brennan are a good duo on their own and putting Saxton in there deteriorates all of them as announcers because then, it becomes a low-rate RAW ripoff (well, you know what I mean) which goes against basically everything Hunter and NXT has tried to establish in the past 2 years. Good commentary is HUGE for a wrestling product in my opinion, so I think that’s why I’m so annoying about my contempt for Byron Saxton. If it was any other WWE robot commentator in there, I more than likely would harbor the same disain. Rant over.
The Breeze vs. Dempsey match didn’t do much for me. Bull has always been awful at best and Tyler Breeze doesn’t do it for me in-ring. I like the guy a lot, as he plays his gimmick perfectly and has big charisma. Unfortunately, his in-ring style doesn’t keep up and it screams “I was an FCW robot”. That sucks because had he truly come in when NXT started up, this paragraph may not exist. Call the match *3/4.
I love the Texas tour video package. Exactly what they should be doing if they want people to see what their house shows are about, since we don’t hear much about them. Hell, Finn Balor showed more personality in this video package than he has in the past two months!
I like Kana’s theme music. It’s almost like a more synthetic version of Balor’s music. Although, I didn’t mind Samoa Joe’s initial NXT music so I may not be the guy to take that opinion from. Her struggling through her promo (the primal yelling in place of English made me giggle, sue me) was a bit jarring but she’s feuding with Dana Brooke and Emma, so she doesn’t exactly need to carry the weight in promos. Plus, she’s probably the best in-ring worker they’ve got now and NXT is as good a place as ever to get over on your in-ring prowess. The condescending promo Emma and Dana give her is hilarious, and while I don’t think Asuka leaving without kicking some ass was the right move, I did like her sinister look at Emma and Dana as she left. The “mild mannered wrestler that can be an ultra badass” gimmick is a favorite of mine, and that appears to be where we’re going with this. Not the best segment, but it did its job and sets up for a glorious Asuka ass-kicking presumably at Takeover.
Apollo Crews vs. Breeze should be great. I like how they tweaked Apollo’s smiley-ness into being somewhat condescending towards Breeze. They’re towing a fine line between Rocky Maivia and firey babyface well so far. He’s not quite overbearing, but not too serious. It seems like they’re trying to make him early Kurt Angle, but as a babyface if that makes sense. I’m still on board either way.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable’s promo was predictably awesome. Chad Gable is going to be a huge star one day, and Jason Jordan is coming along great as well. If NXT knows what’s good for them, these guys are a huge main event act in a revitalized tag division in the next couple years ahead. If they don’t win the Dusty Rhodes Classic then someone’s doing their job wrong. I love these guys.
Okay, more Byron Saxton idiocy. “The Vaudevillains have gone to proven…” said about three times. Do you even grammar, bro? It’s not like your job relies on you being somewhat good at the language or anything… I’m really done this time, I promise.
The Vaudevillains vs. Blurphy was good. Their match at Takeover was a lot better in terms of story and crowd reaction, but they had a good clean match here to at least try and differentiate it. Let’s go ***.
Oh man, this Enzo promo at the end of the show was spectacular. “My jaw’s so hard I could blow a bubble with a Now n Later.” Fantastic. Guy has more charisma than anyone in the company. I love these backstage promos they’re doing, almost like a polished ECW Pulp Fiction promo. Feels delightfully old school.
Overall? This was a great episode and probably the best since Takeover Brooklyn. You had a decent amount of wrestling, a decent amount of storyline, and some awesome promos and hype for the Tag Team Classic. Enzo’s obviously was far and away the best promo, but Gable/Jordan had a great showing too. Not the best NXT episode ever, but it was a tremendously easy watch.