By Chris Withers
Tyler Breeze vs. Kalisto
Two high flying quick footed fighters, it’s like they wanted to make up for the boring filler episode last week. The match was great, it demonstrated the character evolution of Tyler Breeze into a much better villain. Breeze ultimately wins the match with a number of highlights, my personal favorite being one of the earlier moments where Breeze is pretending to be more hurt, Kalisto goes for a springboard but Breeze counters with a huge dropkick. After a while the match swings back around to be in favor of Kalisto, who forces Breeze to the ground and hits a 450 Splash; Breeze just barely manages to save himself by grabbing the ropes. Breeze actually manages to counter the STS multiple times and the last one he counters with a Beauty Shot, forward facing enziguiri, which wins him the match.
This week is pretty stacked in terms of video packages, a term meaning collection of videos meant to catch up new watchers on the feuds that are currently ongoing, we get one immediately following the Breeze/Kalisto match involving the feud between Riley and Owens. We see the video that they showed last week, as well as additional videos and footage from the Arnold International Sports Festival. This is also where Triple H, who is one of the head creatives and major heads of NXT, gets to brag about his induction into the Arnold International Hall of Fame. Now normally I would be fine with this, but the video is somewhere around 10 minutes, so it comes across as masturbatory in a way, since Triple H is not involved on camera very often, so it feels like that probably should’ve been on RAW and left more time for one of the matches on the card.
Colin Cassady vs. Wesley Blake
Ehh. This feels more like a match that would be on RAW, delaying the finale of a feud by having the two teams fight each other in matches outside of their usual repertoire, in this case a singles match between two members of two tag teams. Cass basically dominates from bell to bell here, Blake starts running away from clotheslines, bouncing between the ropes before catching a massive knee to the gut from Cass. Blake continues to get beaten up, getting hit with a massive corner splash and a sidewalk slam. However the finish is a bit BS; Cass sees Murphy, Blake’s partner, on the apron and kicks him off, so he takes Carmella, the diva who hangs with Cass and Amore, gets knocked off as well, distracting Cass and leading to a roll-up pin, which of course led to a very unhappy audience who are quickly turning against Blake/Murphy.
This seems a bad move for NXT, more because of bad timing. Blake/Murphy had been jobbers for the longest time, and finally were elevated to the top by beating the Lucha Dragons. What needed to happen is taking this opportunity of Blake/Murphy being in the spotlight to improve them. Take away the crappy music, improve the promos, give them some specific moves, and you would have a great tag team. Unfortunately NXT wants to bring Cass/Amore into the spotlight, which I agree with but at the same time I think it really sucks that once Cass/Amore win the belts it will ultimately send Blake/Murphy back to square one. I hope that isn’t the case, but my hopes are ultimately dwindling.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks (Non-Title)
Speaking of dwindling hope. I predicted last week that Alexa would be feuding with Sasha for a bit, which wouldn’t go anywhere… speaking of. Alexa wins this week with a countout, if you’re outside of the ring for 10 consecutive counts by the referee, over Sasha after a rather boring match. It’s a barely six minute affair, just some flurries of elbows from Sasha and minor throws from Alexa. This leads to a match next week, for the Women’s Championship, despite Bliss winning by countout. Thankfully it doesn’t look like Bliss is going to walk out champ but still it feels like a stain on the division.
Alex Riley vs. Kevin Owens
Great match, very physical before the match even starts. Riley starts to control the pace with a dropkick to the face and a great corner splash. But Owens quickly reverses the momentum, hitting a massive Cannonball Senton, following up with a wrap-around clothesline. Owens starts to motion for Riley to hit him, which leads to a brutal right hook, sending Owens out of the ring stunned. Owens, pissed off, goes for another Cannonball but misses wildly and gets caught in a Spinebuster. But once again all of Riley’s momentum is quickly squashed, as Owens hits three Senton’s, and throws him to the outside. Since this isn’t the normal NXT arena they don’t have the regular barricades, instead the barricades are concrete on the bottom and wire frame on the top. Owens throws Riley, both arms like a child, into the wire barricade repeatedly. After bringing him back into the ring Owens hits the pop-up powerbomb for the win. Owens is about to beat up Riley further but is stopped by Finn Balor who comes out to stop Owens and almost hit him with the Coup De Gras, but Owens gets out of the way.
Great show this week, and next week looks a winner as well, with confirmed matches with Owens vs. Balor, and Sasha vs. Bliss, with titles on the line in both cases.