Carmella vs. Nia Jax
-“She doesn’t care how you’re doing Saxton. It’s a rhetorical question” got a pretty good laugh out of me. The chemistry between all three commentators has been improving tenfold lately. I actually find myself liking Byron Saxton lately.
-The match wasn’t all that, but Carmella impressed me with her selling. She also pulled out a pretty gnarly guillotine to counter the bearhug. Nia Jax doesn’t do much for me at the present moment, but I did see remarked improvement out of Carmella for the short time she was in there. Pretty generic squash match here though, nothing special.
-Alexa Bliss puts Becky Lynch to shame with BLISSED OFF. That got an audible laugh from me, I’ve gotta say. Alexa’s promo in general was really good stuff.
Jordan/Gable vs. The Ascension
-I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder, because everyone and their dog were aware that the Ascension sucked before they left and now all of a sudden they’re great? Eh. They’re facing Jordan and Gable, so I can deal with it.
-Jordan and Gable’s gear is AWESOME, here. I don’t know how you can’t just look at these guys and see money. They carry themselves like stars, they talk like stars, and can wrestle circles around most tag teams in the entire company. MONEY.
-I will concede and say that NXT has done a really good job of building this match up to be something special, and kudos to the crowd for treating it like so. Good booking always helps mediocre talent, and this is a prime example.
-The Ascension comes out of the gate with some really good stuff, it must be said. They’re going at a fast pace, switching off with double teams and various moves. A lot of The Ascension’s matches are sludgy and meandering, but the relatively short length and motivation to perform really helped The Ascension.
-Jordan and Gable are far and away the superior team, but The Ascension played their parts the best they could. I’ll spare you the gushing over Jordan and Gable, as I’m sure anyone reading this is well aware how good they are. **3/4
-The Bliss/Bayley video package here was tremendous. It outlines character motivations, character actions, and lays out consequences. So while the main roster – the spot these ladies are working toward – go out and mocks a champion’s dead brother because no one is creative enough to formulate a legitimate rivalry, the developmental brand books a feud over a title between a babyface and a heel that – GASP – revolves around wreslters wanting the fucking title! Jesus H Christ, it’s almost like wrestling writes itself!
Emma vs. Mary Kate
-I got the idea they were going for with Emma displaying more aggression, but they really took their sweet time with this. It doesn’t really sell how determined Emma is when all she’s doing is throwing aimless forearms for 5 minutes on some scrub girl they picked up from the indies. Give them two minutes of Emma throwing out awesome impact moves until she taps Mary Kate. This isn’t how you squash someone.
-I’m warming up to Baron Corbin, and I’m pretty sure Breaking Ground has something to do with it. What’s happening to me?
The Mechanics vs. John Skylar & Corey Hollis
-Nice to know Corey Hollis hasn’t gotten less generic since I saw him in ROH two years ago.
-I love Dash and Dawson more every time I see them. Something about the old-school psychology of constantly targeting a body part and using it to win a match grabs me. It’s not something you’re going to see anywhere but NXT really, which makes it even more special as well as giving the Mechanics an identity.
-As for the match, it was decent while it lasted. Corey Hollis was a good Ricky Morton, but John Skylar getting caught with Dash and Dawson’s finisher on the hot tag made him look like a huge jabroni… but I suppose that’s the point. Good stuff.
-Dana Brooke patting Tom Philips on the head was fucking hilarious, and Asuka continues to be the scariest human being of all time.
-Samoa Joe’s promo brings back crazy old school ROH vibes. Methinks I need to go back and watch some old Joe in preparation for his match with Balor.
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
-There’s not a heel in WWE that can match Alexa Bliss for facial expressions, especially now that Seth is hurt. (Editor’s Note: I forgot about New Day) She’s very Trish-like in that regard. She has the cute-but-bitchy heel thing down pat.
-Unfortunately, the match never clicked for me. It wasn’t sloppy or outwardly terrible, but it lacked a cohesive flow and it didn’t seem like the girls had any natural chemistry with each other. They never really left second gear, and it had the unfortunately distinction of never getting exciting and having an anticlimactic finish. It was just “slap, Bayley to Belly” and that was it. The build for this match was great, but they didn’t do that great of a job following it up with something memorable. **
-Eva Marie… hmmm. First off, I’m pretty sure Brock Lesnar could walk in heels better than she could. Second off, Full Sail’s relentless booing of her never fails to amuse me. Here, it’s a win-win. If they’re quiet, I get to laugh at her ghastly black hole of promo ability. If they boo her out of the building, she just resorts to taunting while carefully spinning in circles so as not to trip over her comically over-sized heel. “OKAY NOW BE QUIET YOU LITTLE DORKS.” I CAN’T BREATHE. Bayley bending down to try to hear Eva was hilarious and I almost had to pause when Eva went full retard with the “You are gonna defend the Women’s Championship Title in a one-on-one match VERSE ME!” Oh, how I hope this woman wins the belt.
Overall: Definitely the worst NXT episode since before Takeover: Respect. Aside from the obvious awesomeness of Gable and Jordan, nothing on this show was all that great and contained more disappointments than fun. Bliss vs. Bayley was pretty pedestrian, and the rest were generic squashes with no real storyline advancement attached. A rare miss for the usually great weekly show. Go out of your way to watch that Eva Marie promo, though.