NXT had one of its PPV-like special events on WWE Network tonight. Check out the SmarK Rant
Here are some of the staff’s thoughts!
It amazes me that the same company that produces RAW produced a show like this. Now of course, there are less people running NXT than RAW. But it is still quite baffling. The Sami Zayn story was just great from beginning to end. And what do you know, it didn’t need a heel authority figure in there to ruin it. The match with Neville was great and the after story with Kevin Owens makes NXT even more must see TV in the near future. I think it shows how much faith WWE officials have in Owens. And that’s a good sign this early in his career.
The women’s match was good. When you actually let the women that can wrestle do their thing in the ring, it can lead to good TV. We don’t need over-acted Total Diva drama on every show.
The Balor/Itami vs Ascension match was fun. I think Balor has more long term potential than Itami. Balor’s character is going to grab the audience’s attention more. I did like the GTS tease by Itami. Hopefully, the Ascension does get the rumored makeover before they get to the main roster. Right now they just look like another generic tag team. The tag title match was okay.
Shows like this are exactly why I am a wrestling fan. And if RAW and Smackdown were more like this, then the WWE would have more fans then they do now. These NXT specials are great and I look forward to them every time they come around. Outstanding show.
First and foremost I’m incredibly upset that mass transit made me miss Kevin Owens’ debut. The one time in my life I’m begging WWE for a mid-show recap.
Lucha Dragons vs Vaudevillains was about what I expected, with Kalisto shining through due to his incredible flight skills. Interesting to see English sacrifice himself to save Gotch, only to have Gotch immediately lose. That’s either “They’re still a solid team” or “Here’s the start of English turning on Gotch for taking the loss”.
Baron Corbin does his deal while Bull Dempsey watches from ringside. Only one of them can get over in this situation, and I think the safe bet is Corbin. Nothing match, more officially sets the tone for Bull and Corbin to start facing off.
And there’s the Finn Balor we’ve all wanted. This is the greatest possible use of this type of gimmick – He isn’t “being” the character like a CHIKARA wrestler, it’s 100% a mental game and it allows him to do what he’s known for. If nothing else, it really gives more faith in NXT and WWE as a whole. His gear compliments the paint and style and defines him. The match itself was largely The Ascension’s style, which makes sense considering that they’re on their way to the main roster. Stereo double stomps was a fine way to finish up and establish Balor/Itami as a top level team and not just two guys stuck together.
Reigns shows up and they immediately remind me that he was “Superstar of the Year” which he values over the tag titles. Immediate Cena-status for me. No thanks.
Great Divas match. Bank nails a perfect suicide dive. Not a “good for a diva” dive. A good dive. Great tease of almost having Charlotte lose the same way she lost to Natalya on Raw. That’s the kind of continuity that you wouldn’t see from a Raw to Smackdown. Awesome finish as well, imaginative as hell. Sasha took some brutal bumps here, especially that super gourdbuster. At this point in the show, quite honestly this is match of the night (likely until the main event). Again, I can’t stress enough that this wasn’t “great for a divas match”. It was just plain great. If they really unleash Charlotte, Banks, Bliss, Bayley, etc to have competition like this regularly, it’s the dawn of a new era for the Divas division. The “This is Wrestling” chant was absolutely perfect here.
This main event had everything you could want. Top notch action, drama at the end with Zayn considering doing “anything necessary” via a belt shot and ref bumps and ultimately the happy match ending with the clean finish. A ten minute celebration was a huge indicator that SOMETHING was happening and they luckily did the smartest thing possible – Take a feud that’s been proven time and again elsewhere and transplant it into the NXT microcosm. They had you going there, with Owens being the first to hit the ring and congratulate his buddy, only to drop him minutes later and set up Zayn’s first title feud.
It’s a crying shame that NXT r-Evolution is such a better show than what we’ll get at TLC. I can’t put together in my head the business logic that has them put out 5 hours of crap on tv a week vs what NXT can do with an hour or two like tonight. NXT continues to be the A-show as far as wrestling quality and if you don’t keep up with it, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
God, it’s hard to put a show on better than this. Kevin Owens opened the show to a fantastic reaction and in true “Owens” spirit, had blood dripping down his face by the end of it. The tag team championship match served its purpose but it’ll be the other tag match that will have people talking. The WWE Universe was FINALLY introduced to the true Finn Balor and the creative genius he is. Balor has BOTH the sports side and the entertainment side of sports entertainment down pat and this was only the beginning. And I don’t know what to say about the main event. Sami Zayn has essentially been living this story for years and it just happened to transition to his WWE career as well. The biggest difference is that he actually walked away with gold! Owens coming out first and embracing Zayn seemed like decades in the making & the handshake with Adrian Neville was absolutely the right call. But by the end of the night it was obvious that Triple H, or whomever it is writing the show, had been researching this “indy feud” between El Generico and Kevin Steen. Owens heel turn was a very nice surprise since there’s not many heels for Zayn to face as champion and it’s obvious that Owens will fit perfectly into the main event spot. It might not be as violent as their previous matches but at least they’ll be able to play up a jealousy angle where Owens believes he should be champion and not the underdog Zayn. It’s going to be a fun 2015.
Really strong wrestling event, with 2 hour of what I believe most fans are looking for. The Kevin Steen/Owens debut was good, and he looked strong. The featured tag match with Itami/Balor vs. The Ascension was good action and highlighted the two international stars. The Woman’s match was night and day for the Charlotte we saw on Raw and the woman we saw at NXT – it’s amazing how much booking really does make a huge difference. The main event was a great match, filled with drama, and the final stretch with the chair was high wrestling melodrama at its best. Thumbs WAY up.