NXT often has episodes like episode 274. Matches that only have relevance after the pinfall. Matches that are short and not sweet. It was saved from disappearing into the void by a good Women’s match and an ending that reignited the feud between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. However, not much else was on offer…
Finn Balor vs Tye Dillinger
A short match to remind us Balor can still win matches after his loss to Kevin Owens. Dillinger got in a modicum of offence before Balor finished him off. Dillinger might have potential…but he needs more time! And no reference to Balor’s knee injury? Tyler Breeze taunted Balor after the match.
VERDICT: 3/10. Short match to put Balor back in the picture.
PROMO: Dan Brooke acted like a pantomime villain whilst saying she was the rebirth of the NXT Women’s division. I’m pretty sure it’s perfect right now, without a rebirth…
PROMO: Kevin Owens looked bored whilst talking about his match with Owens. Like the rest of us!
Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Bayley (Number 1 Contenders Match for the NXT Women’s Championship)
A good match (the best of the night), but a notch below what we’ve come to expect from the NXT Women. It was slow to start off. Charlotte’s absence in the middle of the match made it sag a little. Lynch and Bayley are good wrestlers, but Charlotte elevates anyone she wrestles. When Charlotte entered th final stretch of the match, the action and quality increased. Big moves, near falls…the lot! Bayley’s flying elbow to Lynch, who was perched on Charlotte’s shoulders, was particularly impressive. Lynch stole the victory as Charlotte had Bayley in the Figure 8 leglock. Let’s see if Lynch can grab the gold…
VERDICT: 7/10. A good match that put the male wrestlers in their place. Not the typical flawless NXT Women’s match, but still match of the night.
Hideo Itami vs CJ Parker
These two can work in the ring, but the time given to them was offensive. Just like Balor vs Dillinger, Parker managed to get a modicum of offence before Itami went through his finishing routine. At that point, Parker didn’t put up a fight. I wonder when Parker’s last match will be? Was this it? If so, what a waste…
VERDICT: 4/10. Needed more time!
BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: Sasha Banks tells Becky Lynch: ‘I made you!’ I’m looking forward to their match!
Rhyno vs Mr. 450
Another short match to put over a wrestler who lost a big match. But unfortunately the wrestler isn’t an up and comer like Balor. It’s Rhyno. Anyway, I thought Rhyno was playing a heel during his feud with Sami Zayn…but he acts like a face and the crowd treats him as a face. Rhyno pinned Mr. 450 after a belly to belly suplex and a Gore. Nothing more to say. Apart from: Get rid of Rhyno!!!
VERDICT: 2/10. Bore! Bore! Bore!
Alex Riley vs Kevin Owens
Why do these two need a rematch? Owens easily beat Riley at the Arnold Classic NXT event. Riley was saved from a post-match beatdown that night by Finn Balor. The rematch only served to set up a post-match save from Sami Zayn. Riley didn’t put up much of a fight (or show much rage; what happened to all his rage? It didn’t translate into his wrestling!) on his way to being beaten again by Owens. Either Owens or Riley seemed to botch the Pop-Up Powerbomb as well, ending the match on a duff note. Owens looked disgruntled as he went to pin Riley. Riley has proved nothing since his return. Get him back on commentary. At least the match ended with the aforementioned post-match save from Zayn. IN a replay of the Arnold Classic, Owens went to powerbomb Riley on the ring apron. Zayn rushed to the save, and a heated brawl followed. They had to be separated by NXT officials, and Zayn’s top rope flip onto a mass of bodies was the highlight of the night.
VERDICT: 4/10. Only served to set up the rematch between Owens and Zayn. Riley’s return has failed. That is all!
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/10. Even the Women’s match couldn’t save this episode of NXT. Riley needs to stay away from the ring. So does Rhyno. At least a great brawl between Zayn and Owens gave us something memorable. Roll on their rematch!
(Click here for my review of WWE NXT Episode 274)