The Boss Does It With Flair
– The opening video highlighted Kevin Owens’ looking forward to the future against Finn Balor and how he threw Alex Riley over the announce table over comments he made during the main event. This set up everything on the show excellently. Also announced was the Balor-Owens match for the NXT World Heavyweight Championship on March 25. Could only mean good things.
– The backstage segment with William Regal and Riley made sense as a follow up but Riley saying he’s in “the prime of his career” was kind of laughable. At the same time, the intrigue of Regal making Riley have to choose between commentating and announcing was a good hook for later in the show.
– Adam Rose on NXT is a groan now. He actually let the Exotic Express catch him, so he was probably playing the face with his opponent as Tyler Breeze. The two had decent chemistry and Rose was definitely over with the NXT faithful. Smart way to get Breeze back on the winning trail as he hit the Beauty Shot to win. Him using the selfie stick as a shield to get through the Rosebuds was kind of funny.
– The Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady/Carmella backstage promo was their usual charismatic stuff. This is a great act and it was clear they were out for blood to get Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. What more could you want? Simple and straight forward.
– The Alexa Bliss interview promo made it clear she wanted Sasha Banks. Good time for her return as she could add some more fire to this already raging inferno that is the NXT Women’s Division.
– The Blake/Murphy-Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton match was clearly made to enhance Blake/Murphy as they won quickly and could use a squash win. Nothing memorable.
– The backstage segment between Bayley, Charlotte and Emma was interesting in showing how Emma was developing her new “mean streak” and maybe planted seeds of doubt in Bayley to get in her head. Where will it lead? Likely a match between the two.
– The Rhyno hype video was solid and showcased his biggest career moments and they played Paul Heyman’s sound bites. Awesome.
– The Baron Corbin-Tony Briggs match continued the trend of squash matches with Corbin out on top. Having Kevin Owens appear behind Riley at the announce table taunting him and eventually pouring water on his head was also really good. They’re making Owens look like a big badass heel with his mannerisms. He barely uttered a word and garnered a strong reaction. Not many could do that.
– The Sami Zayn taped promo was strong in terms of storyline perspective, for Zayn to feel discouraged and walk the streets of Montreal on the 13th anniversary of his wrestling career. Everything here made you want to see him come back to the ring and eventually get payback on Owens.
– The segment with Regal, Riley and CJ Parker was a good way to show Riley’s confirmed return to the ring and also gave him an out to face Parker. Regal allowing Riley to face Owens when he feels he is ready also makes sense, for the logic of a manger allowing a commentator to come back to compete.
– The Bull Dempsey-Solomon Crowe match continued the streak of predictable matches, where it was almost obvious Crowe would win. Crowe has a unique look, style and gimmick to him but the dude looks like the recipient of a bad sunburn. Not the best outing, but we can only hope this leads to better things for him. How far can a “hacker” gimmick go though?
– It says a lot about the state of women’s wrestling in NXT when the ladies can main event a show and it doesn’t feel out of place. That’s something you will never see on the main roster and that’s a shame. The Charlotte-Banks match for the NXT Women’s Championship was everything it was hyped up to be. Very physical and technical match and both ladies looked good, even if Banks used the ropes to win. Charlotte particularly looked great in defeat, red in the face like a tomato and still carried on in the match. Will this be Charlotte’s official sendoff or will she stick around a little longer? Either way, Banks still has a lot of worthy opponents to go through, so there is definitely no drought in the division.
– Tyler Breeze def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Wesley Blake/Buddy Murphy def. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton via pinfall
– Baron Corbin def. Tony Briggs via pinfall
– Solomon Crowe def. Bull Dempsey via pinfall
– Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks (Champion) def. Charlotte via pinfall to retain
– The opening montage had some necessary updated additions to it.
– The Hideo Itami-Bull Dempsey match was decent while it lasted, having the “Cruiserweight Vs. Giant” dynamic. Itami stays hot and Dempsey remains the saddest man in a singlet. 0-4 in NXT competition in his last four matches. Tyler Breeze’s attack on Itami, Itami sneaking up on Breeze’s “selfie” and Breeze getting away before real damage could be done was a nice way to progress their feud.
– We have Sasha Banks defending her Divas Title against Charlotte to look forward to next week. Marquee matchup. Seriously.
– Nice to see “The” Brian Kendrick back in WWE and who better for him to face in his first match than Finn Balor? The hype video was necessary as he had a great ring presence as he found his niche, albeit on Smackdown.
– The Lucha Dragons-Tye Dillinger/Jason Jordan match was too short to be anything special, though the story told between Dillinger and Jordan was solid, despite us just getting to know these guys. Solomon Crowe’s “hacked” promo was good in that it showed he was here to become NXT Champion, and the fact the broadcast team never acknowledged it made the “hacking” more legit.
– Balor’s backstage promo was short and sweet, focused on his current opponent and not worried about NXT Champion Kevin Owens.
– Dillinger staying in the ring mad at Jordan was different than the usual. Baron Corbin coming out apparently made it an impromptu match. Corbin made ridiculously quick work and looked okay here, but three matches in 20 minutes kind of rushed the pace.
– Charlotte’s backstage promo was also short and sweet in that it hyped next week’s match by saying Banks never beat her one on one.
– Breeze’s backstage promo had his confidence on point.
– Sami Zayn’s NXT universe address has to be must-watch and showing his footage of him in Abu Dhabi made him look like a star. About as good as you could do here.
– The Bayley-Becky Lynch match was okay too, but it mainly showcased Lynch’s aggressiveness by injuring Bayley’s arm. Bayley looked good in defeat though. She embodies the “comeback spirit” the most out of the NXT Divas.
– Rhyno’s backstage promo solidly put over the other NXT competitors and explained his desire to make a statement and climb to the top. If only Paul Heyman were on commentary.
– Jordan’s promo gave us a glimpse into his cold, rough personality. He seems to have good mic skills. We haven’t seen him perform a single wrestling move in the ring yet, but he’s got potential everywhere else so far.
– Having Owens out on commentary was smart, as he showed good confidence in his blunt demeanor. The growing tension between Alex Riley and Owens was excellent and led to what we saw at the end. The Balor-Kendrick match was good for what it was despite not being the focus with Owens on commentary though he put over Balor, who was kept strong here. The standoff between Owens and Balor was appropriate. Owens grabbing Riley from his seat and throwing him over the table was absolutely badass. Owens continues to brilliantly blur that line between decent family man and remorseless badass heel.
– Hideo Itami def. Bull Dempsey via pinfall
– The Lucha Dragons def. Jason Jordan/Tye Dillinger via pinfall
– Becky Lynch def. Bayley via submission
– Finn Balor def. The Brian Kendrick via pinfall
– It was disappointing to see Finn Balor without the bad-ass face paint but that aside, the match between him and Tyson Kidd set a good pace to the show, and the Kidd-Natalya storyline was furthered by her absence at ringside. The broadcast team also did a good job of making both competitors sound credible, emphasizing their “never say die” work ethic. Balor looked like the eager rookie and Kidd played the overconfident heel perfectly. Balor’s finisher didn’t look too menacing initially, but it was still believable. Good opener.
– It was a good idea to show the highlight video of the intense rivalry between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville. This is the prime example of a perfect feud; both guys have come out of it looking better and the NXT Title is the equivalent of a diamond at this point. It’s that prestigious.
– The Bull Dempsey backstage promo on Baron Corbin was pretty straightforward. He’s got a good conversational tone to his voice, but news flash: there’s a wrestler out there who already has the nickname, “Last Of A Dying Breed,” which he referred to himself as.
– The Dempsey-Corbin match felt more like a brawl, but for an intense feud, it was expected. What wasn’t expected was the fast, fierce finish where Corbin pulled off the End Of Days on Dempsey. Way too short to truly feel like a payoff by any means.
– The Divas tag match between Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch and Natalya/Charlotte was nitty and gritty, but moved a bit more fluidly than a general divas match. Banks/Lynch pulled out the win where Banks pinned Charlotte, the current NXT Divas Champion, which sets up a potential future match.
– The rematch between Neville and Zayn certainly had high expectations going in. Neville’s character has taken more of a face turn or tweener territory, as he even checked up on Zayn at one point. There is no doubt that these two create magic when in the ring together and the energy was high like their previous encounter, but there were times in the match where this felt like a movie sequel trying to live up to the box-office smash original. Down the stretch, things became great and Zayn came out with the win looking tough, as he recovered just enough from two quick-style hurricanranas. Kevin Owens’ post match attack on Zayn was also solid, maybe expected. This ended the exact same as the NXT Takeover: R-Evolution show, which was fine, but it didn’t have the impact of the original moment. This however – may lead to a future match for the NXT Title between Zayn and Owens.
– Finn Baylor def. Tyson Kidd via pinfall
– Baron Corbin def. Bull Dempsey via pinfall
– Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch def. Natalya/Charlotte via pinfall
– NXT Championship – Sami Zayn def. Adrian Neville via pinfall to retain