Asuka vs Cameron
What more can I say about Asuka? She just has ‘it.’ Even in squash matches, she manages to thrill and amaze. Reversing Cameron’s slap into the arm bar looked smooth and effortless. Cameron got a modicum of offence in, but most of it was all Asuka. Her spinning chops to the neck looked brutal, and her finisher always looks legitimate. The question is not if, but when will she have a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship?
VERDICT: 5/10. A squash match made entertaining by the existence of Asuka. What a wrestler!
INTERVIEW: Carmella is interrupted by Dash and Dawson. She manages a silly quip, saying that they look like George Costanza and Danny DeVito. Dash and Dawson have a wheelchair for their opponents next week, The Vaudevillains…should be a good match!
SEGMENT: Jason Jordan’s mike work improves exponentially whenever he is with Chad Gable. The two bounce off each other naturally. Here, they refer to themselves as the World’s Greatest Tag…but they cut that title short! They challenge the Ascension…
Bull Dempsey vs Angelo Dawkins
Another match, another squash, but one a lot less entertaining that Asuka’s decimation of Cameorn. Dempsey’s Bull Fit gimmick was doomed from the start, and apart from a rollover and a top rope butt drop, he hasn’t improved his in-ring ability to fit the gimmick (nor has become Bull Fit). This seemed to be more about Sawyer Fulton breaking up with Dawkins than the match itself.
WINNER: Bull Dempsey
VERDICT: 3/10. Boring squash match. Dempsey is falling down the ranks of NXT, quickly.
INTERVIEW: The Vaudevillains call their match against Dash and Dawson their ‘greatest challenge to date.’ It’s a match of gentlemen vs non-gentleman. English pushes the wheelchair away and into the wall, presumably, in a statement that didn’t ring as loudly as Dash and Dawson rolling in the wheelchair. Still, I’m sure the two tag teams will have an entertaining match!
INTERVIEW: The Hypes Bros tell Bayley that they will be part of her team in her match against Alexa Bliss, Blake and Murphy. Here’s a prediction: Bliss will pin Bayley to earn a title match…
Eva Marie vs ???
Eva Marie proves that she should have stayed in Paris until the next Revolution in a terrible, terrible showing. I can’t recall the name of her opponent, but the opponent wasn’t much better, either. However, Eva Marie easily outdid her in terms of sloppiness. Her new finisher looked like a botch. They obviously don’t trust her enough with her previous finisher. Dana Brooke looks like Asuka compared to Marie…
WINNER: Eva Marie
VERDICT: 2/10. Poor effort by both wrestlers, but especially from Eva Marie. Get her out of NXT, now!
INTERVIEW: Emma pretends not to be scared of Asuka. Who is she kidding? I’m terrified of Asuka? I always think Asuka is going to come out of the TV, Ringu style, and kick/suplex me to death! Dana Brooke murmurs about a rematch with Asuka…well, good luck Brooke!
Finn Balor (c) vs Apollo Crews (NXT Championship Match)
This match saved the night. Although Crews hasn’t been in a bad match thus far, he’s not been in a great one, either. I worried that the face vs face clash wouldn’t work. But I was wrong. Before the bell rang, a ‘This Is Awesome’ chant rang out! Balor and Crews gave us a very, very good match that veered on greatness, but was always a few steps behind that benchmark. It started off slow, with the two wrestlers feeling each other out. The first ten minutes were marred by not one, but two commercial breaks. Why not schedule just one, halfway through the match? However, the pure hard work of Balor and Crews quickly put that gripe out of my mind. No wrestler had the clear advantage throughout the match in one of the best back and forth matches I’ve seen on the weekly NXT episode for a long time. They are both good with their kicks, and they certainly kicked the hell out of each other throughout the bout. They ramped it up to a thrilling final few minutes…
Until Baron Corbin came out and battered Balor and Crews, causing a no-contest. Samoa Joe made the save…but then “shockingly” turned on Balor by giving him a Muscle Buster! It’s been a long time coming, and I think it should have happened on a bigger stage. Takeover: Respect was the perfect opportunity for the heel turn. If Joe had turned on Balor, costing them the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament, the heat on Joe would have been immense. Now, it feels a little less important. But still, it needed to happen! Now we wait for Balor vs Joe…or do Crews and Corbin get involved?
WINNER: No Contest
VERDICT: 8/10. A very, very good contest from Balor and Crews. Crews really proved himself as a main event wrestler tonight. The match did take a while to get going, however…but that’s one of few gripes about the match!
OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. A lacklustre episode invigorated by the very, very good main event involving Balor and Crews. We finally got the Joe heel turn, as well! But the rest of the matches were squash matches. But I guess a few storylines were continued throughout.
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(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 304)