Charlotte vs Bayley
What a way to kick of NXT! A hard fought match from two great wrestlers. They were given ample time to concoct a match full of reversals, counters and big moves that build to a thrilling final couple of minutes. Anytime Charlotte is in the ring (well, apart from when she’s fought Dana Brooke), she’s the real deal. And Bayley, whilst not on the level of Charlotte, is not too far behind. It’s rare that Charlotte loses, and it’s fitting that she lost to Bayley, a woman who deserves a chance at the NXT Women’s title. Of course, Charlotte looked great in defeat. But a well-earned victory for Bayley.
VERDICT: 8/10. A great match to start of NXT! Match of the night.
INTERVIEW: Michael Cole interviewed Kevin Owens. Owens gave Cole the contempt he shows everyone, especially Cole. Owens’ reference to Regal as the ‘real man’s man’ was a funny swipe at Regal’s WCW theme tune. Owens challenged Balor to make their match at NXT: Takeover a ladder match. Cole asked Owens if he can beat Balor, to which Owens simply walked out. Great stuff from Owens!
SEGMENT: The downright terrible Bull Dempsey storyline continues…and apparently, now we can hear his thoughts! That particular part didn’t make sense…
Baron Corbin vs Steve Cutler
End of Days…over…
WINNER: Baron Corbin
VERDICT: 1/10. Same old Corbin match!
SEGMENT: Bayley walks into Regal’s office (did she knock? If not, was she born in a barn?!?!?) and asks for an NXT Women’s Championship shot. Regal says that she will battle Becky Lynch for the number one contendership next week! That will be a great match! Very much looking forward to it. Both women deserve a shot, but which one wil earn it?
Tyler Breeze vs Aaron Soho
A squash match to remind us that Breeze does wrestle on NXT. It was less than a few minutes, with the outcome never in doubt. But the interesting stuff happened after the match.
WINNER: Tyler Breeze
VERDICT: 2/10. Squash match with nothing to offer.
POST-MATCH: Breeze complained into his selfie stick about not having an opponent at NXT Takeover. Regal came out and announced that Breeze’s opponent is….Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger! Now, that will be possibly the match of the night. Liger is getting on a bit now, but he can still put on a great match. Oh yeah!
SEGMENT: Uhaa Nation looked impressive in clips as it was announced he will debut at NXT: Takeover. His standing moonsault, in particular, looked cool. However, he will debut with the name Apollo Crews. Who the hell comes up with these ridiculous names? Apollo Creed? Tom Cruise/Crews?!?!?! They should have stuck with Uhaa Nation!
INTERVIEW: Finn Balor breathed heavily before each word as he said, among other things, he was a man of action, not of words. You got that right, Balor! He needs a lot of promo work before he can be a true all round main eventer. I can’t fault him in the ring, however. He said that he never believes anything Owens says, such as Owens doing evil deeds to provide for his family. Balor also said something about a renaissance…what could that mean?
Dash and Dawson vs The Hype Bros
It’s always good to see the Hype Bros, as they bring a lot of excitement to the ring! However, they seemed less exciting against Dash and Dawson. The teams didn’t gel well together, but still put on a decent bout. It was a situation where both teams needed the win; the Hypes Bros are a recently formed tag team, and Dash and Dawson scored a pinfall victory over Amore and Cassady last episode. So both teams had a lot to lose. Having said that, it was strange to see Dash and Dawson lose, after their shock victory last week.
WINNERS: The Hype Bros
VERDICT: 5/10. Average tag team match that was over almost before it started.
SEGMENT: The Vaudevillains were granted another tag team championship match against Blake and Murphy at NXT Takeover by William Regal. Well, their first match didn’t set the world on fire, and I doubt their rematch will!
SEGMENT: Bull Dempsey lifted up a tyre in the gym! Woohoo! Can we leave the poking fun at fat people now, please?
Samoa Joe vs Rhyno
The match we’ve all been waiting for? Hardly, but at least it was watchable. The high spot of the match came with Joe’s suicide dive to Rhyno on the outside. He’s still got it! They fought a typical slow paced big man match. There was nothing wrong with it, but it didn’t feel like a main event. Rhyno served his purpose: putting over the “up and comer” (I use that term loosely, of course!). Joe looked good, but not great, in victory. Will he fight at NXT Takeover? He needs to fight, if only to remain relevant.
WINNER: Samoa Joe
VERDICT: 6/10. Just above-average big man bout. Nothing special.
OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. One great match to kick off the show in a mass of lethargic bouts. The main event was okay, and the card for NXT Takeover is developing rapidly.
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(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 289)