Good evening nerds. NXT was uploaded much earlier than last week so you get the review today instead of tomorrow! Woot woot. Before we get to the headlocks, I just wanna say thank you for the warm reception to the “Adventures in Wrestling” article I posted earlier this week. Back before the website switch and before everything in my life got so busy I used to write stuff like that more often and it was nice to get back to that sort of article. Sometimes it’s just way more fun to do something different, especially when I have no idea how to respond to my normal weekly responsibilities, like when the wrestling news is slow or NXT just plain flatlines.
Speaking of which, this was not one of NXT’s greatest episodes. Not by a longshot. It felt like 30 minutes worth of stuff stretched out to fill 45 minutes of TV time. You’ll probably notice that even as I quickly describe what happened.
NXT started off strong with a tag match between the team of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy against Alexander Rusev and Scott Dawson. And then the Jersey boys suddenly won by DQ in a finish so wonky I thought it was a mistake. After the break Bo Dallas cut a promo in the ring about his little buddy Sami Zayn. Renee Young interviewed CJ Parker, who responded with poetry so annoying it caused Tyler Breeze to show up and beat him down.
In non-title action Paige beat Sasha Banks. Sasha wasn’t happy about it to so she attacked Paige after the bell. She even hugged it out with Summer Rae backstage after the match. In the main event Xavier woods beat Leo Kruger.
And that was it. Three matches, a promo I totally forgot about and a backstage vignette to further the Parker/Breeze feud I once again won’t bother discussing in detail. But let’s talk about what it worth some bold words.
I’m loving this random jobber fued.
I love it when wrestlers nowhere near the main event of whatever show they’re on get storylines and feuds. That extra bit of effort keeps me invested in matches up and down the card and it’s one of the things that can improve wrestling in general. Enzo Amore’s face turn and Sylvester Lefort’s expanded stable that formed in response to that face turn have been good for all involved, so you’d better believe I was excited when NXT opened immediately into a tag match between the two groups. Having said that,
What the hell was with that ending?
For those of you that haven’t watched the show, the heels were doing their variation of a Hart Attack double team move on Enzo Amore when it looked like confusion happened about who was getting the pin and then the ref DQ’d them for not breaking a five count. Or something. The five count story was what the announcers were going with but whatever they were trying to pull off did not translate well on television and looked more like a mistake than a planned out finish. I can understand not wanting to let either team lose this early on but, man, this did not work well.
The trouble with Sasha Banks:
Tonight was Sasha’s long-awaited (?) match against Paige, which by itself was a step back for both competitors but as a part of a greater storyline will probably create results down the line. Now, the problem I think they faced going into this one was that this whole “Sasha Banks turns to the dark side” saga probably should have happened a month ago, when Sasha hadn’t been MIA quite as long and the fans cared about her a little more. Because, believe me, the live crowd at full sail did not care about this match. They barely reacted at all to Sasha’s entrance and fell asleep while she was in control (not that her three freakin’ headlocks helped) only to wake up, do the Queen stomp and finally the Wave. Paige’s offense generated a reaction, but even she didn’t look so hot in the ring this go-around.
The after-the-match stuff was also arguably more important anyway and cemented Banks’s inevitable heel turn. Oh man, imagine if she went through all that just to not turn heel? That’d be terrible. Anyway, Sasha got upset and Paige tried to console her. When that didn’t work Paige went to leave and got jumped from behind, slapped a bunch and hit with a neckbreaker. The anger Sasha showed in this bit was more of what we saw from her in that one random match a while back and seems a lot more real or believable or whatever you want to call it then how she normally acts as a face. I could see Sasha going somewhere a heel, but it’s tough to tell if tonight was a success in that regard. I think we’ll know in 2 or 3 more appearances whether or not this was a good idea.
Who’s in the main event?
So, after a match ending that derailed any momentum the taping had and a match that the crowd couldn’t give two s**ts about, we got our main event of the evening, Leo Kruger vs Xavier Woods.
Here’s where the match never really had a chance, for me anyway. My appreciation for Leo Kruger has been cultivated very slowly and over a long period of time, to the point where I can enjoy a Kruger match but I also wouldn’t be sad if the dude left the business to go farm grapes or something. Xavier Woods is not a wrestler I hate or have ever hated, I just don’t think he’s really that good. As he currently exists on NXT his character is just kind of weirdly there and he’s got that Indy physique without very many of the cool indy moves. He doesn’t compare favorably to Seth Rollins or Sami Zayn or even Adrian Neville, which might be why I’m not all that entertained by him having longer matches. Or it could be that his longer matches really aren’t that good regardless of better talents being around him. Either way, Woods going against and beating Leo Kruger in the main event a week after Sami kicked ass with Jack Swagger was disappointing on multiple levels, the perfect ending to sum up a very blah NXT.
Disagree with my assessment? Feel up to explaining why Xavier Woods secretly kicks major butt? Drop me a message in the comments section.