NXT Episode 288 didn’t have very much on offer at all. From short, pointless matches to sub-par promos and backstage segments, it was a chore to watch. A few highlights, including Bayley vs Emma and the contract signing between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor for the NXT Championship match at NXT Takeover, were not enough to even out the flat package that NXT presented to us.
PROMO: Finn Balor came out to celebrate his NXT Championship victory. He may be great in the ring, but he’s stilted and awkward on the microphone. Not much to say about his promo, apart from he announced that there would be a contract signing between himself and Kevin Owens to make the NXT Championship match at NXT Takeover official. I predicted tables being flipped over and a fight starting…Just one question: why does one match need a contract signing and another not need one? There doesn’t seem to be any logic to it!
PROMO: Eva Marie said that we are going to like what we see when she gets in the ring. I won’t hold my breath!
Eva Marie vs Cassie
Again, the exciting Cassie is used to put over a dull Diva. In all fairness, Eva Marie wasn’t on the level of awfulness that Dana Brooke was/is on. She’s okay in the ring, but looks wooden some of the time. Her porno moans and thrusts during her submission holds on Cassie were laughable! The two women did just enough to engage the audience, but the outcome was obvious and happened too quickly. Eva Marie’s finisher was a highlight!
WINNER: Eva Marie
VERDICT: 4/10. Cassie shouldn’t be putting over other women! She should be given a push. A half-decent match, considering Eva Marie was involved.
SEGMENT: Tyler Breeze interrupts William Regal and says he is going to do something special at NXT Takeover. Do a striptease? We shall find out, I guess!
Baron Corbin vs ????
Really, who cares about Corbin or his squashable opponent? The match was over in seconds after the End of Days. Nothing else to say about it!
WINNER: Baron Corbin
VERDICT: 1/10. Squash squash squash!
Samoa Joe vs Mike Rollas
Another squash match! Sub five minute match with Joe easily beating the stuffing out of Rollas. We have Joe vs Rhyno to look forward to as well in a few weeks! Yay…
WINNER: Samoa Joe
VERDICT: 3/10. Another squash squash squash!
INTERVIEW: Emma vows to break Bayley’s spirit, whilst Dana Brooke muttered something. They hugged in a mockery of Bayley.
Emma vs Bayley
The match of the night! Not saying much, but Bayley can work and Emma is very good in her heel role. It was over in ten minutes, but the women gave us a lot of entertainment in the short duration. It ended after Dana Brooke was kicked out after what should have been a disqualification…but without Brooke, Emma quickly fell to the Bayley to Belly Suplex. Good stuff from the women!
VERDICT: 6/10. Better than average match, and match of the night…but there wasn’t much competition!
PROMO: Bayley with plenty of enthusiasm says she has her eyes on the NXT Women’s Championship. It’s been a long time coming, and she sure deserves it!
INTERVIEW: Charlotte says that the NXT women on Raw wasn’t a revolution, it was a statement. Dana Brooke interferes, saying that Charlotte again has been given all the chances to succeed. Charlotte vows to shut her up by beating Brooke in the ring. It’s a match that’s been brewing since Brooke debuted. We’ll see in next week.
The Vaudevillain vs Jobber 1 and Jobber 2
I stopped caring about the jobber’s names at this point. A lacklustre episode had bored be senseless. Another squashy victory for the Vaudevillains. I like them, but don’t love them. Their gimmick prevents them from being a great tag team. Will they win the NXT Tag Team Championships? I doubt it.
WINNERS: The Vaudevillains
VERDICT: 3/10. Risibile squashy victory.
SEGMENT: Blake and Murphy joke that the Vaudevillains are stuck in 1999. Ha…ha? They say that they will easily defeat the Vaudevillains. Let’s hope their match is over ten minutes long…
CONTRACT SIGNING: The two wrestlers cut promos on each other. The contracts are signed. One wrestler (usually the heel) attacks the other wrestler, and the table is flipped over. They fight, either to be broken up by security or one overcomes the other. We’ve seen it countless times over the years, and this contract signing was no different. Balor and Owens exchanged threats on the mike before Owens flipped the table and assaulted both Balor and Regal (who was overseeing the signing). However, Balor fought back and forcibly ejected Owens.
Fairly entertaining, but nothing we haven’t seen before!
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/10. A below average episode of NXT. Only one decent match, and a predictable yet slightly entertaining contract signing. NXT can do so much better!
(Click here for my review of WWE NXT Episode 287)