Kevin Owens is NXT champ. Sami Zayn (who's fine, by the way, according to CM Punk's legal adversary) is the past. Finn Bálor is the future. If he survives his staredown with ECW favorite Rhyno, who drove by Developmental last week to Gore Elias Sampson, pop the crowd and make the Future nervous.
Tag title holders Buddy Murphy & Wesley Blake have dispatched former champs Lucha Dragons twice and sent them off to dark matches on the main roster. To fill that void, their new plan is to mack on Carmella as a way to set up a new feud with The Realest Guys in the Room. Big Cass & Enzo beat former #1 contenders The Vaudevillains to make their claim at the top more respectible.
The Princess of Staten Island's old rival got some entrance music, a "video" - if we can call outlines of clothes for the lower half of the body an entrance video - and a new opponent. Unfortunately for old Blue Pants, the price wasn't right, because her match was against new NXT Women's champ and self-proclaimed "baddest Diva on NXT" Sasha Banks. The Boss is on fire right now, and poor Leva Bates got burned.
His job is to make others look good, so CJ Parker was sent out to "occupy Full Sail" last week. Solomon Crowe laid him out with a Boing Splash, but without much more to go on it's hard to tell if CJP worked his magic here or not. We'll need to see more of the long awaited hacker to be sure.
Former NXT champ Adrian Neville was taking his not presently being in the title hunt as a positive. The Jumpin' Geordie was going to settle some old scores, and challenged KO in the main event last week as a start. This go round with the champ didn't end with Neville on a stretcher, but unfortunately for the high flier, it didn't end much better. The Brit joined his friend Sami on the list of folks that have been left laying by Owens multiple times since his debut at R Evolution.
Not sure I understand these NXT promos. This one seems like it would set up last week's episode. It's very similar to last week's, and nothing in KO's character indicates that he'll be running from a fight any time soon. Unless the "flight" part of "fight or flight" means Kevin Owens will be facing The Brian Kendrick. We know that the former Spanky will be tonight's show...General Manager William Regal couldn't wait to break the news and scooped the spoilers rather than be tight-lipped like he was concerning the Man-Beast last week.
Also not sure how I feel about these veterans becoming a regular feature on Wednesday nights. In theory, it makes sense. In practice, part of the show's appeal is watching new (or new to WWE) acts grow and sink or swim. There's undoubtedly a lot that someone can learn working with Rhyno, while Kendrick is still in his early 30s and can still go in addition to having a wealth of knowledge about like in Vince McMahon's employ.
But I'm anxious to see Marcus Louis get a chance to work his new gimmick with more than just edge of the screen appearances during Tyler Breeze's entrance. And to learn more about names we've been hearing from house show reports like Chad Gable and Shoot Nation. Or to bring in more independent talent on a contract basis to see if they can hang with WWE talent and connect with the crowd like Bates has. Not to mention, seeing if more main roster undercard guys and gals can use the show as a springboard to improved workrate like Alicia Fox did in 2013, or for a character refresh like Tyson Kidd last year.
NXT can be a lot of things, including the place returning talent comes for a quick pop and to help the next generation. Hopefully as it gets more of the mainstream spotlight, it stays focused on the future rather than being another vehicle for WWE to remind us of their past.
Oh well. As long as they #GiveDivasAChance. Tonight, Becky Lynch and Bayley square-off in a continuation of their floor battle at Rival that left them out of the finish for the Women's title.
(Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - we strictly avoid NXT spoilers here at Cageside central. If WWE.com releases or the performers tweet more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, that'll be updated here. If anyone wants to put a match listing in the comments, please use spoiler tags.)
Where do you stand on the issue of more returning former WWE Superstars on Wednesday nights?
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