– The opening video that revisited Kevin Owen’s two attacks on NXT Champion Sami Zayn – most recently last week’s NXT Championship rematch between Zayn and Adrian Neville – was straightforward. The match actually seemed better watching the highlights back the second time around.
– General Manager William Regal announcing that the next NXT special would air February 11, the upcoming #1 Contender’s Tournament for the NXT Championship that would start on this show as well as Charlotte defending her NXT Divas Championship against Sasha Banks gave fans things to look forward to already. Always good to set the pace.
– It was clear from the way that Zayn came out and attacked Tye Dillinger not even giving him the time of day was perfectly logical as he should have been out for blood. Sure – the actions seemed hellish, but Zayn is a guy fans can rally behind and when he gets screwed, the fans feel screwed too. Regal coming out and reprimanding Zayn about his actions showed he was no pushover as GM either, but eventually giving in to Zayn’s demands was bound to happen. Was it smart to have Zayn say the Title didn’t matter in this instance? Not that it does, but a Champions should never downplay the Title he has. That aside, this was a good way to hype the February 11 special as it will be spearheaded by Owens-Zayn, Non-Title.
– Regal’s backstage promo where he mentioned that Owens and Zayn would both sign a contract next week was good in that this guaranteed more in-ring confrontation between the two, but never really seen a contract signing for a Non-Title match, but maybe for liability purposes? They should have cleared that up.
– Finn Balor comes off a little like a more gothic Justin Gabriel, but still has a look unique to him.
– The NXT Championship Tournament match between Finn Balor and Curtis Axel was a good time for the two to go at it because either guy could have won. The match itself was fair and had moments where both guys put in offense. Guess Axel has a long way to go to rebuild his career. That, plus Balor is still new to viewers and being built up, so it was smart for him to go over. He probably won’t win in the end, but he can go pretty far.
– The backstage interview with Sasha Banks showed her sassy confidence in pursuit of becoming new Champion.
– The Bull Dempsey promo hyped the rematch with Baron Corbin in the tournament. He didn’t really say much, but at least the focus was somewhat there.
– The NXT Divas Championship match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks (w/Becky Lynch) was okay until the lame DQ finish where Lynch attacked Charlotte and both beat down Charlotte until Bailey made the save, until she looked at the Title, Charlotte ripped it away from her and Bailey suplexed her. Regal made a match where Charlotte would defend her Title against Lynch, Banks and Bailey in a Fatal 4-way. There’s many different stories headed in to the match too, which is great. Keeps it fresh.
– The backstage segment with Owens where he said he would tell whatever he wanted to tell Zayn in person kept Owens more or less in control of the situation. He seemed laid back, which rivals Zayn’s aggressiveness.
– The Vaudevillains-Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake match seemed to be originally focused on the Vaudevillains “changing up their act.” Nevertheless, Murphy and Blake – who came off like a Rockers/London and Kendrick kind of team came with the upset win. Decent action, but that’s just an example of NXT being an example of not knowing what will happen.
– The backstage promo of Tyler Breeze was his usual narcissistic banter. Not bad with his gimmick, but how many ways can you say, “Look at me, I’m pretty”?
– The backstage promo with Blake and Murphy said they showed they won decisively and not as an upset. They’re energetic and they wanted to challenge The Lucha Dragons for the NXT Tag Titles. The match became official. This will probably be a good match, but is it too much, too fast for this duo? A decisive loss could really set them back and a Title victory would hurt too. They have to be careful here on what they do.
– The NXT Tournament match between Breeze and Hideo Itami had guys who both came off wins when last in the ring so both had momentum. The broadcast team also did a good job of building both men’s cases for winning in the tournament. This was actually a really good match as it got close to the end, with both guys refusing to give in. Itami was the right guy to go over here.
– NXT Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament Quarterfinals – Finn Balor def. Curtis Axel via pinfall to advance
– NXT Divas Championship – Charlotte (Champion) def. Sasha Banks (w/Becky Lynch) via DQ to retain
– Buddy Murphy/Wesley Blake def. The Vaudevillains via pinfall
– NXT Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament Quarterfinals – Hideo Itami def. Tyler Breeze via pinfall to advance