Review and Results: WWE NXT Episode 321 (17.2.2016)

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(Apologies for the lack of recent NXT results and reviews! I’ve been rather lazy as of late!)

American Alpha and Amore/Cassady vs Dash/Dawson and Blake/Murphy

This was an entertaining eight man tag team match to start the show off. It didn’t do anything particularly brilliant and basically was an extended version of a typical American Alpha match (Gable gets beat down for a while, until reaching to Jordan for the hot tag). Did Amore and Cassady even get tagged before the end of the match? They may as well have not been there! But they needed a victory over Dash and Dawson, and it was Amore who pinned Dawson to win the match. Do we need to see another match between Amore/Cassady and Dash/Dawson? Not really! But the match that we all want to see is American Alpha vs Dash and Dawson. And I’m sure it will happen at the next NXT: Takeover!

WINNERS: American Alpha and Amore/Cassady

VERDICT: 7/10. A relatively lengthy opening match for NXT that provided a lot of entertainment, especially after Jordan’s hot tag.

INTERVIEW: Deonna Purrazzo’s interview was interrupted by Dana Brooke (who had an immense amount of makeup on!) and Emma. Brooke said that Purrazzo must know that Brooke and Emma run NXT. Hmmm, haven’t seen much evidence of that lately! When was the last time Brooke fought on NXT?

Deonna Purrazzo vs Asuka

After Asuka’s heated interaction with Bayley last week, why feed her Deonna (a woman who she beat easily in their first match together)? Why not pit her against Nia Jax or Eva Marie? But then again, I suppose we haven’t seen Asuka in action for a while. For a glorified squash match, this was another entertaining match with another great performance from Asuka. In the ring, she is the complete package. From her wrestling, her transitions, and her facial movements, Asuka is a master of psychology. Deonna got a few hits in, but offence-wise, it was Asuka all the way. It ended with a simple roundhouse kick, but it’s always good to see Asuka in the ring!

WINNER: Asuka

VERDICT: 6/10. A glorified squash match elevated by Asuka’s performance. She can’t be far away from a title shot against Bayley, can she?

INTERVIEW: Nia Jax and Eva Marie warn Asuka to stay out of their business. More fool them! Even at this point, Nia Jax sounds more convincing than Eva Marie. Eva Marie is just so monotone and dull…

Tye Dillinger vs Alex Riley

Well, this was a nothing match. Over in a matter of minutes with Dillinger pinning Riley. What? Why have Riley lose to perennial loser Dillinger when Alex made a point of turning heel in his return? He still looked aggressive in the ring, but I don’t see the point of him losing only two matches into his return. Maybe it will make him more angry, perhaps? Plus, did anyone else see that unnatural lump on Riley’s right shoulder? It distracted me for much of the short match!

WINNER: Tye Dillinger

VERDICT: 3/10. A worthless match, made all the more baffling by the outcome. Riley had promise…but is never allowed to show it!

INTERVIEW: Finn Balor is asked about his predictions for the Number 1 Contender’s match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe. In between his deep intake of breaths, he didn’t really give an answer. And, for some reason, Balor kept looking at some distant point during the interview.

Sami Zayn vs Samoa Joe (Number 1 Contender’s Match For The NXT Championship)

I heard that this was the first ever match between the two. Is that true? I feel like they should have come across one another in the indies…but what do I know! Both wrestlers rose to the (true?) occasion, delivering very good performances. Joe dominated most of the match, and Zayn is adept at selling such dominance. He plays the underdog better than Daniel Bryan. Towards the end, things evened up a bit. Each wrestler countered the other’s signature moves. They didn’t even need a high risk manoeuvre to the outside to heat things up: they were fairly hot anyway! I wouldn’t say it was the best that both men are capable of, as there were a few issues with pace to the match. However, it was one of the better NXT main events of recent memory, even of a superior quality to the clash between Finn Balor and Apollo Crews.

However, what let the match down was the finish. Zayn hit the Pele Kick, but fell onto Joe with his shoulders on the mat. I’ve seen that finish before, and knew it would result in a draw. Sure enough, it did. The Triple Threat match for the No.1 Contendership also ended in a draw. Why have two draws? A screwy finish would have been better than the draw, which deflated the crowd (and myself). Where do they go from here? Another rematch?

WINNER: Draw

VERDICT: 8/10. A very good match that didn’t quite reach the heights that both men can reach. But the ending left a bitter taste in the mouth. One draw is enough…but two? That’s a joke!

OVERALL VERDICT: 6/10. I think, perhaps, that this episode of NXT should be the template for all episodes. Four matches, one lengthy opening match and a lengthy main event, with two short matches in between. There’s then enough room for interviews and whatnot. While only the main event really shined through, the storyline progression was satisfying.

Leave your thoughts/comments below!

(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 320)

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