Greetings sports-fans! It’s time, once again, to talk about NXT, the only WWE show with the balls to throw stuff at the wall just to see if it sticks. This week’s episode is a pretty groovy one, so let’s get down to business.
I very much enjoyed NXT this week for reasons big and small, but any way you slice it I get this feeling that…
We’re entering a new age of NXT.
This goes hand in hand with being a developmental system, of course. Eventually the wrestlers we’re used to seeing every week move on to greener pastures (or get fired, or do whatever Xavier Woods is doing) and their spots get filled by new talent. We’re entering another one of these transition periods with Emma, Paige, Bo Dallas, Alexander Rusev, Leo Kruger’s major label gimmick, and possibly more wrestlers leaving Full Sail for the full time road roster. Rather than being disappointed that so many characters are disappearing from my computer screen, I’m excited to see just who and what comes out of the woodwork to fill those spots.
Already people are stepping up. The man who immediately comes to mind is someone who’s been around NXT so long it’s weird to think of him taking over a spot from anyone else, but yeah, Adrian Neville is on fire. Ho-lee-crap. It’s like someone went up to him before NXT Arrival and said, “Hey, we’re giving you the belt. It’s gonna be your show now,” and Neville responded with, “Great, thanks. Watch this,” and then proceeded to improve every aspect of his game while simultaneously delivering quality match after quality match. His feud with Brodus Clay has been especially epic, resulting in a match tonight that, while far from perfect, featured the awesome story of tiny badass man throwing himself at dickish giant with as much momentum and weight as his body is capable of.
Seriously, I loved the opening of the match. Neville got in Clay’s face against all logic, was shoved halfway across the ring for his trouble and responded by launching himself forearm first into Brodus’s nose. That’s pretty much been the tone for this entire feud. I was more wary of the some of the middle parts of the match, especially during Clay’s holds, but again the ending was well-tailored and logical. The smaller, craftier, better conditioned wrestler was able to beat the count-out after Brodus crashed and burned.
That’s not to say Adrian Neville’s rapid improvement wasn’t the only thing worth mentioning about NXT. In fact…
Four nobodies won over the crowd.
Wrestling can be one of the most easily digestible forms of storytelling in existence, so it’s a shame the WWE doesn’t just throw people out there and allow them to create stories, establish personalities and win over audiences more often. Tonight they gave two teams of wrestlers, formerly known as jobbers, the chance to do just that and it worked out very well. Team two was Baron Corbin and somebody else, two big, scruffy dudes that easily worked the brawly badass angle. Team one actually had an entrance and matching gear (!) and consisted of Jason Jordan and Tye Dillinger.
That’d be them. Jordan has shown up on NXT in one off matches for a long time now and seems to be an athletic freak. Check his dropkicks in this match if you want to see what I mean. He’s definitely got promise and I think it’s very smart that they’ve paired him up with Dillinger, who you might recognize from his days as Gavin Spears, or from that one time he made a Mojo Rawley squash match interesting. I could go over the Dillinger’s extensive history, but it’d be quicker to say that he definitely knows what he’s doing and that he also looks vaguely like Paul Rudd.
Returning back to this week’s episode, Jordan and Dillinger matched the heels’ bruiser act by being the flashy, fiery babyfaces and before I knew it I cared way more about these four wrestlers than I ever expected to. So did the live crowd! Maybe this means we’ll actually have a tag division? We can only hope.
Welcome mic time.
This is pretty much going to be a praise everything week this week. Once again most everybody who got a cut a promo tonight did a fine job. Dallas returned to his cheesy ways, Sami Zane was the relatable everyman, Tyler Breeze was quick and ridiculous, and Paige addressed a variety of issues brought up by her main roster debut while maintaining an appropriate level of confidence. I only disliked the BFFs sudden breakdown via backstage interview, mostly because it was awkward, but also because I don’t believe they’d start disliking each other that quickly. Just wasn’t my thing, I guess.
Even the stupid matches were good!
Okay, raise your hand if you thought CJ Parker vs Great Khali would be terrible.
Right, now raise your other hand if you enjoyed Parker dying a thousand deaths in there despite your opinions on both wrestlers.
*Raises other hand*
Yeah, I wasn’t expecting much, but dammit if I wasn’t entertained. It was supposed to be a throwaway squash match, and it kind of was, but it was fun, as was the opener between Aiden English and Big Cass, especially during its smooth ending sequence.
….and that’s really all I’ve got to say about NXT this week. It was a lot of fun and hopefully a sign of fun times ahead.
What did you think of the show? Were you as surprised as I was when Camacho actually won a match? Do you think it’s possible Charlotte will beat Paige for the NXT women’s title? Let us know!