Good evening NXT fans and maybe even Jacob Lindsey. Last week’s episode was capped off by a solid main event involving Bo Dallas, which in turn inspired almost a thousand words explaining my complex emotions concerning a man brave/stupid enough to reference Justin Bieber in his character-speak. This week Bo Dallas is nowhere to be seen, leaving the other good guys and gals of NXT to take the stage. Let’s see how they did, shall we?
NXT opened this week with PAUL HEYMAN (!), who cut a promo talking up NXT and introducing his buddy, Curtis Axel. The dastardly duo claimed they couldn’t a find a man in Florida worth fighting, which brought out the returning Big E. Langston! They ended up having a match and Paul came in for the DQ, a decision he seemed to immediately regret. Langston ended up dropping Axel with the Big Ending to keep the crowd happy. After that match Renee spoke with Sami Zayn in the back and Sami challenged Antonio Cesaro to a 2/3 falls match, which might have made my heart a flutter. Mason Ryan then beat Scott Dawson. Paige retained her NXT women’s title against Summer Rae in a nice match.
AJ Lee met Bailey and I’m totally talking about it in detail later.
In tonight’s main event the Shield beat the team of Corey Graves, Adrian Neville and Xavier Woods. But the episode didn’t end till Antonio Cesaro accepted Sami Zane’s challenge. Dat s**t is on!
Exciting stuff, eh? Let’s talk about it.
Big E has staying power:
One of the things that’s been delightful about reviewing NXT is watching wrestlers figure themselves out or prove that their shtick fits into the product of the WWE. I wasn’t so sure Big E would be able to find a place in the company but as we’ve seen on Raw he’s doing pretty well for himself thanks to his personality and imposing size. As for his wrestling style, matches like his bout tonight against Curtis Axel show that what does can work in a match that’s not a squash.
Also, Paul Heyman can wander on over to NXT any time he likes. They’ve officially caught up to his general vicinity when it comes to character creation and promotion but the dude makes anything he’s involved with on-screen enjoyable.
Summer Rae and Paige is why women’s wrestling will come back strong in the WWE:
Paige vs Summer Rae was a good match, but pretty much every women’s match on NXT is good nowadays, so it didn’t stand out very much. That’s a great problem to have. Whoever is responsible for this crop of divas coming up in NXT right now (and I suspect its the entire team of people in the back working together) they’re doing an awesome job, with the in-ring training, with the character training, with everything. Bravo Team NXT, bravo.
In this particular match Paige kicked ass as the feisty, tough, but technically sound wrestler and Summer Rae heeled it up as only she can, taunting the audience at a level few wrestlers get to. I especially enjoyed all the little details built into the “move revenge spot”, wherein Paige hit a nasty faceplant onto Summer Rae that the latter had maniacally used earlier in the match to take control.
Sami Zayn right now is what a hero should be:
It is really hard to create a good guy that can talk and come off as tough, intelligent, and likeable. Sami Zayn, with an exception here and there, has done a great job of hitting that sweet spot where he’s all three. He’s not calling Cesaro a silly girly-man for doing European things or wearing a beret, he’s not sucking up to the audience because America, he’s pointing out that Cesaro’s a jerk for questioning Sami’s cultural identity and being unnecessarily rough and a bunch of other things that logically make Antonio the bad guy. This is what great wrestling is, a good guy you want to root for against a bad guy who’s a dick and their ensuing battles creating great wrestling matches.
Next week we get these two, Zane and Cesaro, in a 2/3 falls match that’s gotten rave reviews. If it lives up to the hype it could be NXT’s best match yet.
When AJ met Bailey:
Let me preface this by saying I don’t get to see AJ Lee nearly enough.
I friggin’ loved the backstage interview turned vignette between AJ and Bayley. I loved that upon first meeting each other they were peas in a pod, the bubbly aspects of their personalities bouncing off each other in mutual excitement. I loved that Renee just kinda peaced out when she realized the interview was over. I loved that Bayley quickly ruined the moment by mentioning the word “crazy” and AJ’s negative reaction to Bayley even mentioning her reputation for sudden mood swings.
And that was NXT. The main event was fun but I have nothing to say about it. As you can see, I kinda loved everything tonight, except the Mason Ryan match. Maybe there wasn’t enough Enzo?