Well, it's the big show. Not that one, but the most hyped NXT since ArRIVAL. And speaking of hype...
- A video package recaps how we came to have a championship rematch between Adrian Neville and Bo Dallas for the NXT title.
- Mojo Rawley uses his ass to take out an ass (CJ Parker).
- Sami Zayn passes a concussion test.
- Xavier Woods can win on Superstars, but not on NXT, as Tyler Breeze polishes him off in a decent encounter.
- Bo Dallas is a heck of an interview; continues to point out that Neville didn't pin him to take the belt.
- Rawley vs. Parker is like a rib on smarks, right?
- I very much don't like that they haven't modified CJ's music or entrance to match his heel character. It looked like there was a belt on his trunks for whatever reason, but they were still brown camouflage with a giant peace sign on the back. If he's going to be an eco-douche, his attire and demeanor should read arrogant, not goofy.
- He does seem to be trying for some new taunts within the match, but, if you've seen any match from either man, you could cut and paste this one together. CJP connected with a lot of strikes
while Mojo caught his breathuntil Mojo could take charge. With his ass.
- Interesting that they show Sami undergoing a concussion test. I guess that counts as awareness. I'd have rather seen Zayn talk about getting his hands on Corey Graves than the trainer talking about visual acuity, though.
- If you ever wanted to watch WWE consciously develop a jobber, that's what you're watching with Woods. They don't seem to have any plans for him on the main stage, and his role in developmental has been to put over hot heels. It's weird, but as Elihu Smails once said, the world needs ditch diggers, too.
- Breeze's bulldog where he slides feet first through the ropes to drive his opponent head first into the turnbuckle is sweet. I would very much like Tyler to be the next challenger for Neville's crown.
- If you don't laugh at Bo saying that the ladder match proved that Neville is better at climbing things, so it's a good thing they're not in a jungle gym competition...I guess you'll never like Bo Dallas.
- Corey Graves toyed with Yoshi Tatsu for a while before submitting him, and then taunted Sami Zayn.
- Charlotte and Natalya worked the obligatory very good NXT women's match, but we didn't get a decisive finish due to Sasha-ference.
- Bret Hart was there.
- As previously discussed numerous places around cSs, despite my boyish charm, I am in fact a grown man, so I can grow a moustache if I want. Wait, no, that's Cody Rhodes. What I meant to ask is, are acid washed jeans coming back? Graves has been rocking them from time-to-time for quite a while now, but now that I've also seen them on Phil Brooks at a hockey game, I have to know. Like skinny jeans, they're okay as heel attire. Otherwise, ewwww.
- Yoshi got in a surprising amount of offense, but mostly this proved that The Savior of Mis-behavior's deliberate ring work is just as good when he's a methodical heel as it is when he's playing face-in-peril. A lot of his work on Tatsu's knee looked legitimately painful.
- Like Jason Albert, the first thing I thought when Corey told Sami to "not be a fool" was "stay in school". Alas, he just wants him to stay down. I don't know what it is that's lacking about Graves' mic work, but it just doesn't do a whole lot for me.
- Charlotte was escorted to the ring by a surprisingly conservatively dressed Sasha Banks. Natalya was escorted by Uncle Bret. I was disappointed because it meant no Bayley; folks in the open thread seemed bummed for Hart to be placed in this role. I took it to mean that he was down in Florida to talk to the developmental roster anyway, which is a cool deal for them and hopefully for him. Still bummed about no Bayley, though...
- The ladies seemed to be working stiff, or were at least selling their animosity so well that it seemed they were really going at it. It's nice to see Natty be able to try some things that you know she'd never have a chance of pulling off with the Aksanas and Brie Bellas of the world, like successfully pulling off running up Charlotte's back on a rope run before hitting a drop kick.
- I'm not as impressed with The Dirtiest Diva in the Game's improvement as some, but she acquitted herself nicely here. She's not clearly thinking about where she needs to be next like she used to be, and her ability to use her character to contribute to the match psychology makes up for a lack of fluidity in her moveset.
- The Hitman looked pretty animated when he was coaching and cheerleading during the match. I especially got a kick out of his hand signal for Nat to turn Charlotte over in the Sharpshooter just before Banks attacked to trigger the disqualification. He seemed to switch himself off for the post-match celebration, though.
- Not sure where this program goes from here, as Natty stood tall without actually beating Charlotte. I guess it depends on whether or not she's going to continue as a semi-regular in Florida. Yet another reason I wish Bayley had been out there, because the feud should logically move to her next, but I suppose they need to move The Nature Girl on to challenge the champ now.
Segment Three / Main Event
- The champ delivers a competent promo leading us into the match.
- Adrian Neville and Bo Dallas greatly improve on their outing from ArRIVAL in a strong main event that sees The Man That Gravity Forgot retain after breaking out another move from his aerial arsenal.
- Neville is really solid on the stick, but I'd like to see a little more swagger from him in his interviews. Humility is great in a babyface champ and all, but this guy can do amazing things in a wrestling ring. If his second run-in with a heel he's already beaten once isn't the time to brag a bit, I don't know when is.
- Like the women's match, this was another hard-hitting affair. It not only was a lot more entertaining than their disappointing ladder match, it was probably the best match I've seen Bo Dallas work in a year-plus of covering NXT. He's still mostly strikes and slams, but the counters that both men were working made this a really fun match. I was also not 100% on the outcome, which added to the excitement.
- I guess the referees in developmental are new, too? This guy was fine, except he often telegraphed the near falls, and he really seemed to botch the count when Dallas went to pin the champ after he got his knees up to counter Red Arrow. He noticeably caught himself and double-pumped on the third swing of his arm. It's the little things...
- So many cool moments in this match. Neville took a nasty looking back bump on the edge of the apron when Bo clipped the ropes while he was trying to springboard back into the legal area. Dallas hit some sick-looking clotheslines that Adrian sold with insane rotations, both in the ring and on the floor. There was a crazy springboard Superman punch/forearm from the champ. And then another 450 variation for the finish. Great stuff.
- Also like the ladies from tonight, I'm not sure where either man goes from here. The challenger has more options, including a promotion to the main stage for the summer. There isn't really a heel built up to face The Jumpin' Geordie right now. As much as I'd like to see it be Breeze, I'm not sure he's terribly credible as an in-ring competitor.
Another mixed bag of a show pulled up by good, solid matches in the second half. I miss the old NXT format that included more backstage segments that served to introduce characters and progress angles. The roster feels really thin right now, when we know they have a lot of guys and girls down there with whom to work.