Evening. NXT had a good old fashioned Clash of the Champions episode tonight, featuring four championship matches. Without much extra fanfare it’s a pretty straight forward show, so let’s get right to it.
Dusty Rhodes personally introduced us to NXT’s Clash of the Champions before the opening video. Considering the American Dream’s history with the “Clash” name, it’s cool that he introduced the idea. In the opening match Antonio Cesaro defeated Adrian Neville to retain his non-existant US Championship. More on that later. Kaitlyn defeated AJ Lee in what might be a preview for a future championship match. Big E Langston destroyed poor Brad Maddox. In the main event Wade Barrett defeated Bo Dallas in a match that was way better than I expected.
4 championship matches, 4 successful title defenses. Sounds pretty simple but there were actually a couple noteworthy occurrences.
Tapings? What tapings?:
One odd circumstance surrounding this episode is that it reveals that the WWE tapes these NXT shows way ahead of time. I assume most people watching the show are aware of that fact already, but Cesaro being dethroned as champ by Kofi Kingston forced the company to run little banners at the bottom of the screen during Cesaro’s match tonight, admitting that his title defense against Adrian Neville was taped several weeks ago. Curiously, the main event between Wade Barrett and Bo Dallas was presented as taking place after Barrett’s match against the Miz in which he won back his IC title, even though the last time anyone cared about Dallas vs Barrett was way before that.
Solid Wrestling Action:
Timeline inconsistencies aside, tonight’s show featured some pretty solid wrestling action. Cesaro was a good fit for Adrian Neville and his high-flying ways, though I think I expected a little more out of them. AJ showcased some pretty slick heel behaviors that echoed Dolph Ziggler a bit, before Kaitlyn stomped her rather unglamorously. Perhaps with more time and effort from Kaitlyn their “big league” championship match can be a good one. Big E no selling Brad Maddox as an entity was fun for what it was.
What surprised me the most was the main event. I hadn’t seen much of the Bo Dallas/Wade Barrett feud but I also hadn’t heard that many good things about it, so imagine my surprise when they turned in a match that would fit in with either man’s best work. I think the coolest thing about it was that it was so darn competitive. There was never a time where I sat and wondered when the next bit of action was coming as it was always right around the corner. Also of note, and completely unrelated to the quality of the match, even the NXT crowd is turning on Bo Dallas. I’m fairly certain I heard “No more Bo” chants and I definitely noticed boos from lower vocal registers. Either way, heel Wade Barrett was more beloved than “hometown hero” Bo Dallas, which probably isn’t a great sign.
And that was NXT. What did you think of the “Clash of Champions” concept? Should they call it something else or embrace southern wrestling history? Did you like the main event? Does Bo Dallas grind your gears? Leave a comment and let me know.