I still miss Coheed & Cambria. That the video features both Adam Rose and Mojo Rawley doesn't ease the transition for me, either.
- Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady wrestle as a team for the first time in almost a year, and lose their re-debut when men that Big Cass has feuded with in Enzo's absence inadvertantly team up to provide Simon Gotch with an opening to grab a fist full of tights.
- Konnor does his best Razor Ramon impersonation as The Ascension move farther and farther away from the space vampire gimmick.
- A match I was digging a lot fell apart at the end because CJ Parker is not good at wrestling. Xavier Woods was outsmarted despite his PhD status.
- Devin Taylor nods while Sami Zayn tries to find his fire to embarrass Tyson Kidd.
- Pretty disappointed that Amore didn't get to introduce the certified Gs. I don't think it helped the crowd with their confusion about who was supposed to be the faces between them and the Vaudevillains, either. Enzo's leopard print Zubaz helped, though.
- Gotch and Aiden English's entrance was also tweaked, with a carnival barker now projected onto the curtain announcing them while they appear on the wings of the ramp before miming their way to the ring as before. This, combined with an appearance later, leads me to believe they're done talking. Which is an interesting choice that I'll reserve judgement on, for now.
- The match itself didn't do much for me - it was over before it really got started and didn't feature enough strongman antics. The outcome surprised me, both for their commitment to keeping Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis as an ongoing concern throughout Louis' injury, and because the "heels" won. I had figured Enzo & Cas were next in line for a tag title shot.
- Based on The Ascension's promo, though, I'm not sure that Creative considers the champs to be bad guys themselves any more. Konnor's "ay yo, Vik, preach" seems like an attempt to add some likeability to Viktor's Davey Richards-esque dry speech about hunters and hunted. I'm enjoying watching the ways their attempts at fine tuning their schtick. Probably more than their actual schtick - it's hard to tell.
- Pretty sure TMade said it first, but CJ Parker's theme is the dog's bollocks. X's new one is much better than "generic groove #2" or whatever he used to sing his way to the ring to before he inherited "Somebody Call My Momma" for a hot minute. He's learning to time it to his hair/water flip thing, too.
- Woods was carrying CJ to a damn fine match. I liked the story they were telling about Xavier coming out super aggressive in a way that shocked Parker. It slowed down considerably when the man William Regal calls a "shower dodger" got control and went to clotheslines, punches and stomps, but I was still with it. Then CJP reached Aksana-levels of botch with the rana pin finish and...
- Reminded me how much I like the former Consequences Creed when he's not somersaulting around and using Gail Kim's finisher, though.
- The thing that Devin Taylor has added to her performance during a year on NXT is to nod when babyfaces speak.
- Still like Zayn's promos, but I understand the criticism. I'm curious to go back and watch some of his interviews from the heart of the Cesaro program, because I remember them being plenty fiery. Tyson's heel turn is doing wonders for him, but it doesn't seem to inspire Sami.
- Alexa Bliss delivered a cute, rhyming promo before The Boss made her TAP THE &#(% OUT!
- #1 contender Tyler Breeze told the NXT Universe to be patient while his lawyer draws up the papers for his match against the uggo champ, Adrian Neville. The Versace Mansion wasn't built in a day. To tide us over, he showed us his MTV Euro-winning video again.
- Natalya does not want to talk about her husband's behavior during last week's main event. Tyson doesn't understand why Devin wastes his time asking about his family, when he has pertinent information - some might even call them FACTs - to share with the audience.
- Adam Rose is back and still confusing NXT bookers by being massively over with Full Sail Live. Jason Jordan may have turned heel and still looks like a future star. For some reason, he lost his tag partner and this match.
- Alexa is still totes adorbs, but she needs to work on making her delivery sound less like she's reading off cue cards. I understand why they book her matches to showcase her acrobatics with roll-ups and offense her opponents dodge (the missed 450 looked crisp, where it might not have impressed if she had to connect with it) - but it makes it difficult to judge her progress.
- Sasha Banks, on the other hand, is ready. In fact, her mastery of character may have shot her past Bayley on my "most ready for promotion" list. She could show up on Smackdown tonight and be in the top five workers on the Divas roster. Loved the elevated knees to the midsection she landed in the corner mid-match. LOVED the backbreaker on her knees that she rolls into the crossface. That needs a name. I'll start: "Don't Cross The Boss". Discuss.
- Breeze is wonderful at these backstage spots. But a weekly, hour long show shouldn't replay segments whole cloth, even great ones like #MMMGorgeous. Feels like a missed opportunity to develop the character with a vignette focused on his tips for aspiring hand models or something.
- Tyson is never going to be CM Punk, or even Daniel Bryan, on the stick. But he's improved over his time in Developmental. His line about how Taylor didn't ask Zayn what his brother got for Christmas could have really been great if he knew when to pause.
- The Adam Rose debate/discussion flared up again last night in the open thread. All I'll say is that he didn't do one Spinebuster in his match with Jason Jordan. I loved his Spinebuster SO MUCH you guys!
- I'm bewildered that Jordan isn't getting the kind of push that they've given to guys like Mason Ryan, Mojo Rawley and now Bull Dempsey. He's still raw, but his power is more convincing and his movement more fluid than any of those guys. His slam into the bridging cover was slick, his drop kick looks flawless and he took the Party Foul better than anyone I've seen. If Tye Dillinger really is out, I hope it doesn't mean JJ is slotted for jobber duty.
Segment Three / Main Event
- Kalisto speaks! And he'll pick a new tag partner to take on Simon Gotch and Aiden English next week.
- Sami Zayn has too much fighting spirit to tap, even when Kidd slaps on a gorgeous Sharpshooter. He finally gets back in the win column when Natty's husband does tap to a Koji Clutch.
- Apparently Ricardo Rodriguez failed to impress more than just a bunch of Cagesiders with his Takeover performance. I'm not checking spoilers to see who he picks to tag with next week against the now silent Vaudevillains, but if it's not the Rawley pairing that was dreamed up in the comments, I'll be bummed. Mojito doesn't get lucha...they stay lucha.
- Zayn's new theme is a catchy tune and a heck of a lot of fun. But it also makes it next to impossible for him to come out with any intensity. Sami tried, but slipped into dancing a couple of times. If showing a serious side is an issue, his music shouldn't work against him.
- Full Sail is loving their opportunity to play off of Kidd. I wasn't as big a fan of the Funky Chicken sing-a-long as some others, but I did like the "Natty's Husband" and "Tyson's Chicken" chants that preceded it.
- Another entry in the series of good-to-great matches we've gotten since Kidd became a regular on NXT. His work on this show should probably be examined more in depth at some point. As it is, I'm not sure where this would rank. In terms of work rate, it was middle of the pack. Character-wise, it solidified both men's roles: TK as a conniving coward and Zayn as a plucky fighter.
- Surprised that Sami kicked out of the Blockbuster. I thought that was finishing move for the Hart Dungeon grad, or at least something that would only be survived on a bigger stage, like a live show.
- Speaking of finishers, Zayn may have finally found his with the Reverse STO into the Koji Clutch.
- They're going to have to do Neville vs. Zayn at some point, right? If they can put a halfway decent story to it, that should be awesome.
So much filler! This was held together, as is usually the case when NXT is treading water, by the women and a good main event. Not sure why we couldn't have come up with something fresh in place of the Breeze rerun, but it was still better than another sitdown interview with Kidd.
That's my take. What's yours?