OPENING SEGMENT: William Regal comes down to the ring for yet another contract signing! We’ve had no less than three contract signing on WWE programming in the run-up to NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and Summerslam. Surely there are other ways to progress a feud? It’s a lazy way to confirm a match that isn’t necessary. Why don’t all title matches have a contract signing? Are the majority of contract signings done behind the scenes? We all know how they are going to end as well: in a brawl!
Regardless, this contract signing was for the Women NXT Championship match at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn between Sasha Banks and Bayley. Both women held their talking part very well; Banks was a tiny bit superior on the mike, but not by much. She brought up Brooklyn, much to the chagrin of the crowd. “You’re scared, Bayley,” Banks laughed. Bayley replied that she’s been waiting for this bout for a long time, but she was ready to fight RIGHT NOW! Would we see violence at a contract signing? Banks wasn’t having any of it. She’s on Raw, and Bayley isn’t, thus Bayley is a loser. Bayley’s no role model for girls, but Banks is, as she will teach the girls that there isn’t always a happy ending in fairy tales. Great stuff from Banks! Banks retreated up the ramp…as Bayley breathed heavily in the ring. Bayley obviously decided there was no time for hugging, and attacked Banks! They fought until referees pulled them apart.
Another contract signing that didn’t do anything too different from the usual signing, but both women showed the goods on the mike. A very entertaining way to kick off the show!
Tyler Breeze vs Terra Ryzin/The Next Spider-Man?!?!?
I didn’t even catch the jobber’s name before Breeze finished him with a Supermodel Kick. And that was that! Breeze brought a Jushin Liger mask down to the ring with him, which was the only notable thing about the match.
WINNER: Tyler Breeze
VERDICT: 1/10. Squash!
POST-MATCH: Breeze puts the Liger mask on the jobber and gets on the mike. “Nice to meet you!” Breeze says, before hitting him with the Beauty Shot. He takes off the mask, walks down the ramp and stomps on the Liger mask. There’s a missed opportunity here, I think. Breeze should have brought out the mask a few weeks ago, and talked to it like Al Snow used to talk to HEAD. It would have culminated in this angle tonight. Oh well!
The Hype Bros and Amore and Cassady vs 4 Jobbers
An 8 man tag team match that lasts under five minutes? I thought that privilege was only reserved for the women! Nothing out of the ordinary for a squash match to promote a match for next week’s episode of NXT, not for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn…a waste of a spot, really. If it’s not promoting NXT Takeover, why have it on the go home show!
WINNERS: The Hypes Bros and Amore and Cassady
VERDICT: 3/10. Easy and boring victory for the babyfaces.
SEGMENT: The opponents for The Hype Bros/Amore and Cassady are interviewed. Dash and Dawson, Jordan and Gable mock the faces before joining in on the catchphrase ‘Ready, willing and Gable.’ Alright, I guess…
Samoa Joe vs Steve Cutler
Another match, another squash. Over in seconds.
WINNER: Samoa Joe
VERDICT: 2/10. Squash!
POST-MATCH: Baron Corbin attacks Joe on the ramp. The brawl spills into the ring, where Corbin hits the End of Days! Should they have left the question of whether Corbin could hit the End Of Days on Joe until NXT: Takeover? I’m not sure, but it looked darn impressive!
SEGMENT: A new and improved Bull Dempsey will debut on next week’s episode of NXT. After such a long-gestating storyline, why not have Dempsey debut at NXT: Takeover? Seems the right way to go, unless they are just going to mock him again…in that case, I don’t want to see it!
Blake and Murphy vs Dawkins and Fulton
Dawkins and Fulton actually put on a fight before losing to the Tag Team champs! The match of the night, but that’s not saying much at all. This was another five minute match as disposable as the other matches on the card, a way to waste time before promoting a match at NXT: Takeover. Blake and Murphy win without the help of Alexa Bliss.
WINNERS: Blake and Murphy
VERDICT: 4/10. A below average match that looked good on a poor card.
POST-MATCH: The Vaudevillains come out to make an announcement about their match at NXT: Takeover. However, Alexa Bliss slaps them once, and then twice to shut them up. Blake and Murphy’s music hits as the heels have the last laugh. A very strange way to promote a match, isn’t it? That’s all we’ve seen: Bliss slapping the Vaudevillains! I guess they’ll have an opposing woman in their corner, but that still doesn’t make me want to see the rematch. Worst match at NXT: Takeover? Maybe!
SEGMENT: Kevin Owens ‘Final Declaration’ on his match against Finn Balor at NXT: Takeover starts as Owens brings a ladder with him to the ring. His whole promo shows why he is the best heel in the entire WWE at the moment. He addresses the crowd as hypocrites, as they boo Owens when he takes out one of their favourites, but cheers him when he mocks John Cena. The fans want NXT to succeed, but boo every time Brooklyn is mentioned, which is a necessary step in NXT’s success. In a brilliant phrase, he calls the crowd “the John Cena of wrestling fans!” Moving onto Balor, he promises to batter and break Balor. Owens will climb the ladder while Balor is being attended to by trainers and medics on a stretcher.
Balor’s music hits, and he appears sat on the tope rope. The two wrestlers brawl, and Balor gets the better of Owens, narrowly missing Owens with a throw of the ladder. Balor scales the ladder, gets on the mike and says that he will kick Owens’ ass and shut his mouth! Short and sweet from Balor, which is for the best. Balor’s promos should be short and sweet, as he isn’t quite up to scratch on the mike, especially next to Owens.
A great last segment to hype the biggest match on the card at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Owens always nails it on the mike, and Balor’s appearance was spot-on.
FINAL VERDICT: 6/10. Match-wise, it was a very poor show for NXT. But it wasn’t about the matches, but the build for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. In most cases, it was a success. The opening and closing segments, focused on the two main events of the show, were peerless. They made the show, to a large degree.
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(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 291)