Review and Results: WWE NXT Episode 323 (2.3.2016)

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The Vaudevillains vs Hugo Knox and Tucker Knight

Crikey! Is Hugo Knox’s physique fully natural? He looked like a steroid freak! John Cena looks like Spike Dudley compared to him. Knox’s physique was the only notable part of the opening match. Well, that and Knox’s awful selling. It was bordering on the ludicrous. The Vaudevillains still haven’t fully embraced their heel role. They may have been on the offence for much of the match, but it wasn’t overly aggressive. Couldn’t they have also been given another finisher? One more in line with their new attitude (which I still can’t see much of, by the way!), perhaps. As you can tell, I’m not convinced by their heel turn. They need to be nastier!

WINNERS: The Vaudevillains

VERDICT: 4/10. Mediocre match made painful by Knox’s silly selling and The Vaudevillains’ failure to play up their new heel nature.

SEGMENT: Amore and Cassady and The Revival (Dash and Dawson to you and me!) separately spoke about the car park brawl from Episode 322. They are booked to fight for the NXT Tag Team Championship at WWE Roadblock…which will result in another victory for Dash and Dawson. But Amore and Cassady don’t need victories, I suppose. They are so over with the crowd that losses don’t matter to them. They will matter when they get promoted to the main roster, though (an event that can’t be too far away).

Emma vs Santana Garrett

A decent showing from the women in the second best match of the night. Emma dominated the match, but she knows how to be on the offence without boring the crowd. Santana’s minimal offence was more than ample, with a great cartwheel elbow into the corner and a nice little side Russian legsweep. Of course, the result was never in doubt. But Emma showed yet again that she is not to be underestimated. Also, is it me or should Dana Brooke stay out of the ring and become a manager? She’s far more entertaining outside of the ring than in it.

WINNER: Emma

VERDICT: A solid bout that Emma held together.

SEGMENT: William Regal told Eva Marie and Nia Jax that they would face Bayley and Asuka in the next episode. At least it’s equal between great competitors and poor competitors! But I think we need to see Asuka destroy Nia Jax before challenging Bayley for the title…

IN-RING SEGMENT: William Regal announced NXT’s latest acquisition…Austin Aries! He came out to a welcoming ovation that was cut short by Baron Corbin. He battered Aries and delivered the End of Days on the outside. Simple but great booking: it gives Aries a feud from the start, and adds a layer to Corbin’s disgust at all of these indie stars taking his place.

The Drifter vs Steve Cutler

Elias Samson’s new gimmick is STILL not working. He may have added a vertical suplex and an awkward looking running knee to his limited move arsenal, but he’s still dull as dishwater in the ring. Not only that, but there’s no reason to care about the mystery of his past. He likes to air guitar during a match…so what? But I guess the bookers are hoping that something will click soon. I won’t hold my breath.

WINNER: The Drifter

VERDICT: 2/10. An extra point as The Drifter learned two moves, but that still didn’t stop the match being a borefest.

INTERVIEW: Mojo Rawley of The Hype Bros said that he was glad that they lost to The Vaudevillains. The loss meant that they realised not to take The Vaudevillains lightly. Oh, thanks for that, Mojo!

Finn Balor vs Neville

Well, this made the episode worth watching. A fast-paced thriller that reached peak after peak, it was one of the WWE’s television matches of the year. It showed (if you didn’t already know) that WWE have wasted Neville in the main roster. Why not give him a run with a mid-card title? Back where he started, Neville was determined to put on a hell of a show. Balor’s rematch with Crews was a disappointment, but he pulled out all of the stops for this match. I’ve not seen a match of such pace and kinetic energy for a while. It may have come at the expense of selling at times, but there was no time to let the crowd or the wrestlers have much of a breather. As a match of equals, it was superb. Neither managed to hold the advantage for a long period of time. And the last ten minutes gave us near-fall after near-fall, and big spot after big spot. The crowd chanted ‘This Is Awesome’ before the bell even rang, but Balor and Nevill fulled deserved that plaudit afterwards.

WINNER: Finn Balor

VERDICT: 9/10. A Match of the Year contender! Two great high flying wrestlers put everything into this brilliant contest.

SEGMENT: Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn were interviewed at the same time, oddly enough. Why didn’t they just start fighting? Regardless, Joe said that he was responsible for saving Zayn’s career…and in their 2/3 Falls match, he would end Zayn’s career. Harsh words!

OVERALL VERDICT: 7/10. Stuck to the great template of three short matches and a lengthy main event. The first three matches weren’t anything special, but the main event was a Match of the Year contender. Not only that, but the story line progression was effective and logical. One of the best episodes this year, thus far!

Leave your thoughts/comments below!

(Click here for my review of NXT Episode 322)

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