Greetings peoples. I’m in a rush for time this week, so let’s see what happens when I try to write a review in less than an hour.
NXT kicked off its tournament to crown a new women’s champion this week, giving two matches of varying quality. The first, featuring familiar rivals Sasha Banks and Bayley, was pretty damn competitive, probably their best match yet. I was surprised by the result, possibly because Sasha hasn’t won very many matches lately and possibly because I thought they were protecting Bayley for an eventual feud with Charlotte. I suppose they can still get there in the future. Either way, the ending, where Sasha turned things up a notch to finally put away Bayley, was pretty badass.
…also, whoever put wacky, wavy, inflatable arm-flailing tube men in Bayley’s entrance is a gosh darn genius.
The other lady’s match was between WWE veterans from the main roster, Natalya and Layla. Nattie is usually pretty dependable on NXT, but Layla felt a step behind, making some of their moves and transitions look a little awkward. For the record though, I appreciate Layla as Fandango’s new gal pal since it’s a good use of her abilities. She can dance, she can be funny; it’s a good fit.
The comings and goings
Soooooo, NXT released several wrestlers this week and some of them got treated like jobbers on this episode. Awkward continuity issues ahoy!
Seriously though, Danny Burch and Oliver Grey were not doing much on the show. I’m not even sure why they hired Burch at all since they did diddly squat with him. Oliver’s release is a little stranger. After all, he was the other half of the first NXT tag champs and he wasn’t bad in the role. Maybe his untimely lead to other issues? We’ll probably never know. As for the giant Welsh elephant in the room, I’m shocked they finally gave up on Mason Ryan but totally understand why.
On the flip side, the two men about to debut on Raw are currently working out some of the kinks of their new characters on NXT. Bo Dallas came out to his new entrance video for the first time, which really sold to me the character they plan on doing with Dallas on the main roster. He’s gonna be a human motivational poster, which could actually work and isn’t far from what he was doing on NXT anyway. Adam Rose, for his part, debuted a snapmare driver as his new finisher. It stinks of rookie finisher, but we’ll see what happens.
Vertically challenged (?) badass
Tonight’s main event felt like it was between two people that seriously did not like each other. That’s been an important part of Neville’s recent renaissance, I think, the ability to sell conflict between himself and other wrestlers in a way all truly successful wrestlers can. If you think about it, for a man his size selling the feud/storyline/whatever is an especially important skill to have. Old school WWE logic is never going to give him chances based on size and muscle mass alone like (fill in the blank), so he has to be a more complete wrestler at all times. This mindset led to Neville putting in little touches like emphasizing his mouthpiece before the match to reference his teeth getting knocked out and throwing everything he could at Brodus quickly in order to overwhelm his much larger opponent. Yes, there were typical pro wrestling trappings, but for pro wrestling match featuring a guy known for flipping, this felt like a fight.
Though, with Clay brushed aside it does leave things wide open for someone else to challenge Neville for the title. Perhaps a Canadian?