Enzo & Cass vs. Hollis & Skylar
-I like the serious demeanor of Enzo and Cass. It at least somewhat freshens them up for people tired of their act – of which I am not, but I understand it for those who are – and it gives them some character development for once.
-Enzo MURDERS Corey Hollis with a running crossbody in one of the nastiest spots I’ve seen in a hot minute. For such a small guy, he laid that crossbody in like he was Stan Hansen or something.
-I was especially impressed with both men’s intensity and it really has me excited for their match with Dash & Dawson for a few reasons. While I appreciate the chemistry the normally goofy Enzo & Cass have with the more serious teams, it breathes new life into them and has me interested to see how they carry themselves relying on their intensity and wrestling rather than their eccentricity. The change in mood makes me buy into their plight because it’s a marked adjustment from what I’m used to. Carmella even was all business here, and her death stare might be the most attracted I’ve ever been to her.
-The fantastic promo after the match was the cherry on top. It’s like feuds get over when the babyfaces grow a pair and go after the heels! I might be more excited than I should be, but I have a feeling the tag title match at Takeover is going to surprise a lot of people.
-Dana making Tom Philips scrunch down to get patted on the head was hilarious. Emma’s promo was pretty good too, but Dana is really starting to find herself across the board.
-Interesting that they’re giving the already debuted Tye Dillinger that little vignette. I guess it means that they’re going to do something with him after Takeover that doesn’t involve the words Jobbing or Filler, which I’m all for since I’ve always generally liked Shawn Spears.
Asuka vs. Deonna Purrazzo
-I don’t think I’ll ever stop raving about how amazing Asuka’s music is. It gives off that big atmosphere that Finn’s music has and it just… fits her to a tee. It kind of does her talking for her, if that makes sense. It sets the stage that you’re about to see something awesome.
-And the booking for this match was tremendous. I really loved how Asuka didn’t immediately turn retarded once Emma and Dana came out. She stayed composed and killed Deonna all while looking directly at them both. One thing WWE relies on to a fault is the “distract leads into rollup by heel” finish that accomplishes nothing aside besides being lazy feud progress. Instead, what NXT did here was build up Asuka as the ultimate badass by not being fazed by Emma and Dana’s attempt to throw her off.
-Asuka winning by KO, and smiling at Dana and Emma after the match was a great statement to send before the match. I can’t really say enough good things about this segment.
-I didn’t really hate Mojo beforehand, but after his episode in Breaking Ground, I just can’t help but love the guy. He’s not as overbearing on the HYPE!~! stuff as he used to be, but is still animated enough to sell me on it.
-That said, the short Blurphy promo was great. Alexa just has ‘it’, and whatever Blake was wearing got a legit laugh out of me. These three are a great act and I hope they do something substantial after Takeover, because they’ve really turned into an entertaining group.
-These Elias Sampson promos are basically mini Sons of Anarchy montages and it’s amazing. Hopefully they don’t Glacier him because I’m irrationally excited to see if this is even doable outside of vignettes.
Hype Bros vs. Blurphy
-Corey Graves’ utter destruction of Hype Bros on commentary has to be heard to be believed. “See that’s the problem, people have an open mind, people like this happen! He should be locked up, fired, arrested, and you should go with him Saxton!” Byron Saxton pulls out the DAD JOKE OF THE CENTURY a couple minutes later with, “I love The Weekend, by the way. I listen to him on Saturdays.” Which is so terrible I actually have to commend him for it, under the condition he never ever repeats it. The match wasn’t much, pretty formulaic and lacking in substance, but it wasn’t offensively bad or anything.
Bayley vs. Peyton Royce
-Based on the way she was booked in this match, it seems like Peyton Royce is probably in line for a push soon. Commentary actually sells her as a threat to Bayley, which is nice for what I figured was going to be a 5 minute enhancement match. Well, it was, but it didn’t make Peyton look like a chump or anything.
-The Nia Jax promo was pretty generic and didn’t get me all that excited for their match at Takeover, but attaching her to Eva Marie to get her heat is a pretty decent idea, because she is nowhere near over on her own yet.
-Only a week until we see Sami again!!!
Balor & Crews vs. Corbin & Joe
-The match itself wasn’t all that, but again the booking makes up for it. They didn’t do anything groundbreaking, but they pretty much gave them ten minutes to go out there and give us a taste of what may happen at Takeover, while also getting over how hot the conflicts are between Joe/Balor and Corbin/Crews respectively.
-I liked that Crews and Corbin just lost it and brawled out into the never, which allowed for Joe to choke out Balor for a clean enough win. It wasn’t crazy – and the build for both feuds peaked in the past couple weeks – but I enjoyed it a lot as go-home promotion which was all it needed to be. **
Overall: Probably the weakest of the recent batch of NXT shows in terms of pure match quality, but the booking was great up and down the card. For once, I think the strongest build was for the midcard stuff like Asuka vs. Emma and the tag title match but even so, the stuff aside from that was build in a satisfactory way too. I don’t really feel like beating a dead horse and saying NXT is doing, well, everything ten times better than its ‘parent company’, but it really is. This was logically built, fun to watch, and it has me excited to watch Takeover next week which, since I’m off work on Wednesdays, I’ll get to watch live. Great show this week.