NXT Episode 283 brought us the long-awaited clash between Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe and the first part of a ‘closer look’ at Finn Balor. Apart from that, there were a few storyline progressions and some decent matches, but not a lot else…
Amore, Cassady and Carmella vs Blake, Murphy and Alexa Bliss
A perfectly average match to start off the night. The most entertaining part was Amore’s promo at the beginning of the match using puns to transform his team’s names into Star Wars characters. Apart from that, nothing else left an impact. Cassady’s hot tag injected some excitement into the match, but then it was over before he got started. Amore and Cassady picked up a victory over the NXT tag team champions. Will they get another shot at the titles? I assume so.
WINNERS: Amore, Cassady and Carmella
VERDICT: 5/10. Average!
INTERVIEW: Samoa Joe impressed with a short and serious promo about Kevin Owens. “Intimidation is the tactic of the weak,” he growled. He basically said that Owens was a bully who backs away from a fight. But that isn’t true in most cases, is it? Regardless, Joe pumped me up for their first NXT confrontation later on in the night.
SEGMENT: A ‘Closer Look’ at Finn Balor. The first part of this mini-documentary of Balor showed us footage from Insane Championship Wrestling and amateur footage from Balor’s wrestling history. Becky Lynch spoke through tears as she talked about Balor’s/Feargal Devitt’s wrestling training camps. Without Balor/Devitt, her life would be radically different. He was her portal into wrestling. A sweet and emotional sentiment from Lynch. It was a fascinating insight into the first part of Balor’s wrestling career. I eagerly await next week’s part.
Charlotte vs Cassy
Another week, another match with an obvious winner. Cassy, in her debut match for NXT, put in a good showing against Charlotte. Her hurricanrana received polite applause, and her various roundhouse kicks were appreciated as well. However, she did struggle going through long stretches of moves with Charlotte, as was evidenced in the dodgy crossbody Cassy attempted. But Charlotte tried her best to guide the newbie. Charlotte made Cassy tap out to the Figure 8.
VERDICT: 5/10. Another average match, but a decent showing from the rookie Cassy.
INTERVIEW: Dana Brooke again rambles on about how she is the Total Diva. Boring! She says she made her way to NXT through talent, not through her family, in reference to Charlotte. Let them fight and let Charlotte beat her. Just to shut her up!
Kevin Owens vs Samoa Joe
The match we’ve been waiting for since NXT Takeover: Unstoppable when Joe made his NXT debut…was a little bit dull, actually. It was alright, I suppose, but seemed like neither man was grafting hard to produce a good match. They coasted for much of the match. It heated up towards the end, but the obvious DQ finish on the outside spoiled that momentum. The post-match brawl gave us something to chew on, but apart from that, it was a let-down. Having them fight at this point was a mistake. Their feud should have gone on for longer without a match. Let’s hope next time they give us something more to chew on!
WINNER: No one? I presume?
VERDICT: 5/10. Nothing more than average. A disappointment.
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/10. A wholly average night. The first match between Owens and Joe was a letdown. The only part of interest was the first part of the ‘closer look’ at Finn Balor, which made me want to tune in next week.