Greetings NXT faithful and welcome to 2013. A year ago NXT existed as some sort of weird purgatory for advanced developmental wrestlers, made with seemingly little oversight or direction. Though that low pressure situation created some highly entertaining backstage vignettes, the urgency of the show suffered. Here we are a year later and NXT has been revamped, complete with a fixed studio, a champion and a renewed sense of purpose. I for one am happy and surprised to be reviewing a show with some care being given to it. I think if you asked me somewhere in Season 5 if I thought the WWE put effort into NXT at all I would have laughed in your face and told you to get out of my apartment. Now they’re working a storyline that involved multiple segments in one episode. But I’ll get into that in a minute.

NXT opened this week with the Shield interrupting the opening video and beating down a couple wrestlers in the ring. Dusty Rhodes came out and set a match between Seth Rollins and Corey Graves for the NXT Championship as the main event. Then, in this week’s nothing match, Bo Dallas beat Epico to the surprise of no one. Tamina, who I totally forgot was a bad lady now, beat Sasha Banks. The team of Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger beat Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. In the main event the Shield ran in to cause a DQ and Dusty Rhodes unleashed the forces of the NXT locker room to try and stop them. The Shield managed to clear the ring despite the odds and powerbombed Bo Dallas. Then Big E Langston appeared. The Shield decided they didn’t want any part of him and Dusty Rhodes set up a match between Langston and Rollins for next week’s show. For the title.

Got all that? Let’s talk about it.

Random Thoughts during a “NXT Nothing Match”

These are the random thoughts I had during Bo Dallas vs Epico.

  1. “Wow my throat hurts.”
  2. “Hey look, jobber Epico.”
  3. “Huh, Epico makes Bo Dallas look way bigger than I thought he was.”
  4. (Crowd chants “We Want Rosa!”) “Shut up jerks, if I wanted Rosa I’d go to google images.”
  5. “Primo’s hair is kinda cool.”

 That’s it.

You could say I didn’t care too much about this match.

Sasha Banks, female Rey Mysterio:

Well, besides not wearing a mask, not having a ton of tattoos, etc. Sasha Banks has had a couple of matches on NXT and both times has been the underdog, only hitting a couple of exciting, high flying moves before losing to a more experienced opponent. She’s doing a good job with the limited time she’s gotten so far and is leaving an impression on this here reviewer.

Gabriel and Kidd vs Ohno and Kruger, Easy MOTN:

Good match, good wrestling, interesting stories. Not only are Kruger and Ohno on Tyson’s s**tlist for beating him up last week, but Gabriel and Kruger are both from South Africa (and have probably competed against each other there) and each team features a different stylistic attribute. Tyson and Gabriel rock the speed and technical tactics while Ohno and Kruger enjoy brute aggression and physicality. Those two styles bouncing off each other was awesome to watch. In the end, Kruger hit his finisher on Justin Gabriel to pick up the win, but not before Tyson and Gabriel won me the hell over with their exciting offense. I have no idea why they aren’t on TV more, mediocre promo abilities be damned!

This is your main event storyline, people:

Big E Langston vs Shield-era Seth Rollins. It’s been coming for a while, fueled by Langston’s great popularity. While Rollins showing up on NXT tonight in his Shield persona was a little jarring, it’s not like the average NXT viewer isn’t already aware of what Rollins has been doing on the main shows and it paves the way for this big matchup. I would argue it’s the biggest title defense of Rollins’s reign so far. Langston looks unstoppable, especially after the events of tonight’s main event, when The Shield handled a large number of wrestlers but balked at dealing with E.

The real question on my mind (because I’ve read the spoilers and know who wins/shut up, don’t comment on it) is “What the hell is a match between these two gonna look like?”

Twitter.com/LonestarTJR