Just the regular intro video and we are ready for lift-off!
- Hideo Itami coaxes a decent match out of Bull Dempsey, ending with the big man put down via one-legged drop kick.
- Selfie-stick attack lays out Itami, but the Japanese star gets a measure of revenge when Tyler Breeze takes too long setting up a pic to load on his Instagram as a trophy. Hideo gets a few kicks in before Prince Pretty scurries to safety.
- A nifty video package tells newcomers why tonight's returning main roster mid-carder is worthy of a main event spot on NXT.
- Entrance video hacked via iPad warns us that Solomon Crowe is on a mission to become NXT champ.
- Let's just start in on it since it actively hurt the show throughout - the commentary trio of Tom Phillips, Alex Riley & Corey Graves were bad to awful tonight. I think Graves was fine, and I definitely enjoyed his work during a match we'll get to in a bit, but even he was dragged down by the noise that surrounded him. Not sure if Phillips is bummed by his demotion off of Smackdown, but I remember liking him a lot more in his first tour of Full Sail Live. Now I just miss Rich Brennan. Tom kicked the party off by reading ahead in his script and telling us we were getting Itami vs. Tyler Breeze. And once you tell me the Mayor of Cutesville is in the building, a heavy set dude in a singlet is all kinds of disappointing.
- Continue to like everything we get out of Bull except for his ring gear and his finisher. The offense was nothing spectacular, but he sold Itami's comeback quite well. His weaknesses seem easy to address or book around.
- Hideo is on fire. His offense looks deadly, and despite not saying a word during most appearances, I feel more connected to his character than most of the roster. He says so much with body language and facial expressions. The "oh, I am going to kill this man" look he gives when he rises up behind Tyler is a perfect example.
- I am so excited for the continuation of the Breeze program. It's early, and anything can go on too long, but right now I feel like I could watch the two of feud forever.
- Just when I thought the Duke of Delish couldn't get any better, he starts using a dressed-up selfie-stick as his signature foreign object.
- This was a little better from Crowe, but after Kevin Owens first two months in the company, the bar has been set pretty high for any newcomers who want to run their mouth about coming for the NXT championship. Whoever in Creative thought the hacker gimmick might be a tough sell might have been right.
- Your typically sloppy Lucha Dragons match serves as the backdrop for the break-up of Jason Jordan & Tye Dillinger, as Jordan leaves his partner hanging after Dillinger snapped at him during the bout.
- Tye's bad night continues, as his attempt to call-out his teammate leads to a second pinfall loss, this one via End of Days from Baron Corbin. At least it was brief.
- Finn Bálor tells Greg Hamilton he's not looking past Brian Kendrick tonight despite being #1 contender. Charlotte guarantees she'll reclaim her Women's title next week when she gets her rematch against Sasha Banks. Breeze says he lured Itami into his trap, and will kill him like a cockroach next week. Sami Zayn loved Abu Dhabi and will also be here next week.
- Becky Lynch and Bayley waged war in the five minutes they got, with the Hugster's aggressiveness taking its toll in the form of an arm injury - one that was quickly BEXploited for a submission finish.
- Is there an NXT tag title curse? Oliver Grey got hurt before British Ambition could defend them and then released. Bo Dallas can't get on TV and Luke Harper is unbelievably having similar problems. Corey Graves got concussed to a desk job. The Ascension are feuding with the Primetime Players, and Kalisto & Sin Cara have regressed in the ring since they dethroned Konnor & Viktor.
- Maybe the announcers were being asked to do Raw-esque story narration more than usual tonight. Graves jumped the gun in this one, talking about how Dillinger has been in the match "way too long" about one minute into a three minute match.
- Our on-again, off-again dissension between Jordan & Dillinger is on for good now, I guess. The NXT tag division is like Randy Orton's finisher: everything happens OUT OF NOWHERE. The seeds for this were planted, yes. But then the duo worked fine together for a while before disappearing from TV and then this. As with Blake & Murphy's victory and heel turn, I'd care more if they were consistently built.
- And, we're back to Corbin squashes. Alrightee, then.
- Throwing what little pull I have behind kmtierney's drive to call new interviewer Greg Hamilton "weird hair".
- Lots of brief talking segments this week, which I appreciate. Not every promo segment has to be ten minutes long. As we learned with this week's crop of excellent Fallout promos from the main shows, say what you've got to say and get out.
- That said, Finn and Charlotte still aren't impressing me with their stick work. Nothing else to say about my love for Breeze...but his personally recorded phone video promos only make me love him more.
- Corey's relentless dislike of Lynch is wonderful. Even when that helped him get into a groove, Phillips derailed him by repeatedly trying to correct him to sya he was talking about the Women's champ when he didn't need corrected and was clearly making a distinct point about Banks' former (?) Team B.A.E. partner.
- Really good little match between the ladies. Showed that the Hugster still hasn't channeled her anger into a winning strategy, and gave Bex a much needed solo win to establish her as a legit player in the title scene. The armbar looked horrible, in a good way.
- Bayley's corner dropkick looked horrible, in a not good way. You don't need it B...leave it in the bag if you're not feeling it.
- Someone decided Rhyno needed a chance to talk, and he did okay with an intense promo about...well, intensity. And Gores.
- A disembodied interviewing entity caught up with Jason Jordan so he could tell us he did what he did to Dillinger.
- The NXT champ sat in on commentary to further establish his family man psycho character and generally make everyone nervous.
- Bálor vs. Kendrick is hindered at first by the need to provide a talking point for the champ, but picks up pace considerably in the second half to prove the former WWE tag champ still has it and Finn is one of the best in the world.
- Kevin Owens returns for a quick staredown with his next challenger, and to toss Alex Riley over the announce desk real quick.
- If anyone is missing a bag of crank, I think I know where it went. The man-beast delivered an old school promo about as well as one could hope, but that it was about generally establishing himself as a player here and not about setting up one or two more matches before he leaves continues to give me the fear.
- J-squared's segment probably could have been left on the cutting room floor, or edited down to just the "I'll explain when I'm ready" part. Nothing I got tonight makes me more excited for a Jordan - Dillinger feud than I would have been for developing them further as a tag team.
- The champ's reaction to Kendrick tweaking his ankle and Bálor not capitalizing ("it's not about malice, it's about winning" and "theres no room for remorse in the ring") was almost enough to make the first half of the main event worth it. Almost. And I get that they were selling an angle (and that angle was glorious), but there has to be a way to execute that that doesn't completely distract from what you've tried to build as a dream match. The only thing the commentators did well here was sell scared.
- And they should have been scared, because Owens is on some next level $#!+ with his character. Just as he's set it up so you can never impugn his overall motives - he's just trying to feed his family! - you can never say the right thing to him in any given instance, either. In all of his interviews, he's ready to shut the other person down in an intimidating way, no matter what they say. It's remarkable, and unnerving.
- You could tell the match was structured and the episode cut to accomodate the Owens/Riley angle, because business picked up as soon as KO left the table. The Brian Kendrick showed he's still got it with a nasty looking tornado DDT and Tiger Suplex, but I'm a little bummed that Sliced Bread #2 only got a tease. He should have gotten a Rhyno-like warm-up match just so we could pop for the move in a WWE ring one more time. Finn's finishing sequence is settling in nicely with Sling Blade, corner exploder drop kick (does that have a name? It needs one. So do Itami's finishers, come to think of it. Anyway...), Coup de Grâce.
- It's a joke that's been made many times, but, really, how do they expect us to boo the champ when he does what everyone in the audience had been wanting to do since minute one of the show? The big disappointments of the night for me were the short runtime and that Riley only got tossed and not Powerbombed onto the edge of the announce table. For the former, I'm guessing they cut some time out of the main event to pay off the title build. For the latter...there's no good excuse. Kevin's streak of sending opponents out of Full Sail on a stretcher is broken, and I am heartbroken.
A lot of really good story advancement, but the presentation was well below NXT standards this week. No match really WOWed, the announcers were horrible (except when being murdered) and only going 47 minutes on a show packed with interviews and video packages is a real letdown.
Seriously, muzzle Riley and give five minutes more to the women's match - this show is an easy B. As it is...
Tell us if you agree or disagree, and fantasy book the closing segment by telling us what KO should have done to A-Ry.