Greetings NXT faithful! Welcome back to your regularly scheduled NXT review. The Lonestar has indeed returned to action. Or whatever you call watching a wrestling show and typing words about it. Last week Mr. John T Canton filled in for an episode featuring a battle between Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt that apparently ended up being a bit underwhelming. Let’s see how NXT does this week. Perhaps the WWE will give me a nice little “welcome back” gift.
NXT opened with a recap of the Adrian Neville’s conflict with the Wyatt Family before heading into a match between Justin Gabriel and Leo Kruger, which Kruger won via submission. Audry Marie got interviewed by interviewer lady and calmly promised some pain for Sasha Banks. William Regal stood in the ring and asked for Kassius Ohno to come out so he could apologize for his actions on last week’s show. That conversation…..didn’t go so well. More on that later.
In divas action Paige beat Bayley (the former Davina Rose) and even thwarted Summer Rae’s attempt to blindside her after the match. In the main event Luke Harper defeated Adrian Neville after some shenanigans by the Wyatt Family. The evil threesome then tried to triple team Neville but were stopped by a healed up Oliver Gray and Bo Dallas.
Sounds like a good old fashioned kerfuffle ending! In practice it was actually a pretty good episode. Let’s examine why.
Justin Gabriel vs Leo Kruger was better this time around:
I still think the wrestlers involved and the creative staff behind the scenes are trying to force this feud into epic territory but I’ll give it to them, Gabriel and Kruger did better tonight than in their last match. It certainly seemed like Gabriel was sick of Kruger’s crap which, along with the strike exchange near the end of the match, gave it more of a “fight” feeling rather than just being another wrestling thing. Kruger continues to improve offensively and his strategy of just tearing away at Gabriel’s shoulder until it gave was a good way to end the match.
Also, Kruger’s choice of simply rolling away from Gabriel’s long finisher set-up and Gabriel’s little fit when he realized his one method of winning a match can be easily avoided was…unintentionally funny.
This Kassius Ohno thing is going somewhere:
People has questioned why Kassius Ohno is still in developmental when people like Johnny Curtis, Bo Dallas, Big E Langston and others are getting chances to appear on the main shows. In my opinion, it’s probably because Ohno still hasn’t quite fit into the WWE mold of wrestling and is still fine-tuning his character. For a lot of talented formerly independent wrestlers that’s what developmental is for, figuring out how to adapt what you can do into the WWE brand. Or for waiting out another wrestler’s inferior take on your old gimmick, either one. I’m still not quite sold on what Ohno is doing here with Regal, nor do I think their verbal exchange tonight made a whole lot of sense on a conversational level. Yeah I get the overall idea of it, “Kassius respected Regal but now he’s soft and old and unsuccessful, don’t call me unsuccessful, PUNCH!” but it didn’t exactly flow all that well. I still want to see Regal and Kassius throw down like the world-traveled badasses they are and I can’t wait for Kassius Ohno’s to just click one day (man I hope it involves hipster glasses) but I don’t think the path to that endpoint is going as well as they or I hoped it would be.
First Impressions: Bayley:
Not really a plus or minus either way, but hey new lady! I couldn’t find much about Bayley online, but from what I found I know she did work for Shimmer. That’s her picture up above. I’d call her cute. She didn’t really get to do too much in her match tonight, but that’s been pretty standard for any of the debuting divas on NXT this season. We’ll see how she progresses in the coming weeks.
The main event was good:
Adrian Neville and Luke Harper know what they’re doing. In the first minute of their main event match tonight they established the fact that Harper was way bigger and way stronger than Neville and that Neville totally did not give two s**ts about that fact. Working that information they also managed to keep my attention and tell a story while pacing their big moves out instead of randomly hitting each other with stuff to fake excitement. That’s smart wrestling. What they chose to do tonight they also did extremely well. Luke Harper has the moveset of “Big Man Wrestler B” but freakin’ owns it and makes a big boot a thing of beauty. Adrian Neville is simply poetry in motion, taking incredibly agile moves and combining them with the impact of someone actually trying to win a fight. You’ve heard it here folks, these two are going somewhere.
I also liked the fact that the match ended because of the Wyatt Family’s influence, thereby setting up the kefufflenuffle and an impeding trios match. Tune in next time? Damn right I will.