Good evening, NXT faithful. For those of you that left kind words in the comment section of my final Headlines article, thank you! And now that I’m down to one article a week for TJR, it’s time to shake things up a bit! But instead of a brand draft lottery (remember those?) we’re gonna play with the format of the NXT reviews a little. Instead of posting the video of this week’s episode at the bottom of the page like I normally do, I’m going to put it right here after this fancy schmancy introductory paragraph. That way, if you haven’t watched the show yet you can check it out and then I can get to my reviewin’. To my peeps outside the US, I’ll try to find the episode off-hulu and post a video for you here as well, but it’s getting harder and harder to find the show on dailymotion with each passing week. I’ll try to do what I can, when I can.
So, to recap, Alexander Rusev beat the Jersey Boys and Sylvester Lefort (!) and then left with that mysterious woman from last week. Aiden English beat Jason Jordan. Adrian Neville cut a promo for Corey Graves and Paige beat Summer Rae, but in the post-match confusion got hit by Emma. Tyler Breeze said a couple sentences to the anonymous backstage camera-guy about wrestling CJ Parker, but after the break Luke Harper got a creepy vignette about Kassius Ohno!
And in the main event CJ Parker beat Tyler Breeze! Let’s talk about that first!
Well look what happens when the gimmick characters actually wrestle!
The NXT live-audience certainly doesn’t like CJ Parker, but I thought his match against Tyler Breeze this week was pretty good! In a way, it was the first real match for either man in their current persona. Yes, they’ve wrestled each other already, but not for any real length of time. The feud so far has been almost entirely vignettes, short matches and entrances. Oh the entrances. Tonight they pieced it all together in a neat little package and with the extra time showed a little more depth to their characters. For example, I thought it was a nice touch that Tyler Breeze almost exclusively attacked Parker’s face, even though he hates when people do it to him. That’s just a classic heel-ism.
The ending, wherein Parker didn’t get the chance to cut Breeze’s hair and obtain “hair-revenge”, does leave the door open for the feud to continue, but honestly, I don’t think I’d mind either way if they wrestled again or just moved on to other storylines.
Luke Harper got to promo!
Seriously, this is important. Luke Harper got to talk and carry his own Wyatt-style creepy vignette. It is incredibly difficult to be a successful professional wrestler in the WWE without the ability to effectively cut a promo. Presentation is everything in this company, and the fact that they’re letting Harper talk means that somebody with some power was interested enough in Luke to see what he could do. That’s a big deal and I think Harper did well with his chance. It was no “I’m already dead” as far as the Wyatt Family is concerned, but I think it worked well within his “First Son” character. Harper really shouldn’t be going as out-there as Wyatt does, it just wouldn’t make sense if he did.
Anyway, Harper and Ohno will have another match next week, and I’m curious to see if Kassius makes this one a little more competitive. Will this become a running feud, or will we only see two quick matches as part of Ohno’s punishment?
Promo, promo, promo!
Yeah, I know, I’m still talking about talking. What I just said about presentation is especially apparent when you look at what Enzo Amore and Big Cas (and Aiden English, to a lesser degree) are doing right now. They pretty much only exist on television at the moment because of their awesome entrance banter. They don’t wrestle that much (which does make me question how well they can) but they’re just killing it as characters. It’s not even an unequal partnership anymore, Big Cas has really stepped up his game to the point that he and Enzo are just zinging back and forth, bringing the audience with them as they act as ridiculous as they possibly can. It’s great. Especially when you think about how they were initially used as cannon fodder for Mason Ryan as he tried to get somewhere again as a good guy.
Let’s hear it for the Ladies.
Paige and Summer Rae work very well together in the ring and this match was just another example of that chemistry. While I thought the commentary was a bit distracting, the match still stood up by itself, though there was something else that was really distracting….
What genius put this Raw Rebound Mayonnaise in my NXT sandwich?
Seriously, I thought they were through with these. I’m watching NXT. What are the odds I haven’t at least heard of the recent main event news on Raw? Also, damn, is Big Show really gonna be the hero of the WWE heading into fall? The dude’s been around long enough to play Monster Truck Rally with Hulk Hogan. Whoda thunk it?
But seriously, let’s hear it for the ladies.
Despite their match getting cut in half by a terribly placed Raw Rebound, Paige and Summer turned in a good one and built on their previous outings with spots like Paige countering Summer’s jumping DDT right into a fisherman’s suplex. Bravo.
And, of course, the events after the clean finish (!) built up even more tension for an eventual Emma/Paige showdown. I can’t say the little “faces accidentally hit each other” moments are getting me invested in the match, but I am really curious to see what happens when the two most popular divas on NXT bounce off each other. Will one of them turn heel? Will Emma get cheered over Paige? Will Emma become the Dancing Queen of NXT and Diva’s champ? We’ll find out soon enough.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by tonight’s episode of NXT. I wasn’t expecting as good a show as I got out of what I thought was the “B-squad.” What’d you think of the show? Was Byron Saxton kind of annoying? Did you think Adrian Neville looked like the world’s most badass Hobbit? Leave a comment and let everybody know!