What's with the short run times, NXT? Is it something we did? I also had horrible stream issues with this episode. It took me almost two hours to watch the 47 minute show.
- A Carmella-less Realest Guys run down the former tag champs, the Geico Lizards, and then flash lots of teamwork in defeating Sin Cara & Kalisto to become #1 contenders to the tag titles.
- Unable to contain their excitement about giving us an episode not taped in Florida, WWE Network (minorly) spoils a couple of tonight's storylines.
- A couple of video packages sell us on Alex Riley and Kevin Owens.
- Enzo Amore's ability to tailor his promos to his opponent amazes me almost as much as his facial hair. And that's a lot.
- Guess I'm not the only one who doesn't know what they're doing with the Port Authority trio - I don't think they know either. There's little chance of a permanent split at this point; her gimmick is too tied to Enzo & Cass to just pretend there's no connection. But, especially on a night when the guys are taking a big step forward as a serious babyface tag team, having their Princess not by their side was smart. That the announcers were ready with a kayfabe reason not having her there was smarter.
- Kalisto must have known they were getting booed tonight. That's why he wore his Bane-looking mask over his mask for their entrance.
- This was one of the cleanest performances from the Dragons in quite some time. Partial credit for that should go to the Certified Gs, who also looked the best we've seen. I think a lot of that has to do with how the match was put together to both not ask the New York/New Jersey duo to do too much and to highlight cohesiveness as a team strength over technical skill. Enzo was mostly asked to sell, and that's good because it's both a strong point for him and what he'll be doing for however long and Cass stay a team in WWE. The seven footer looked okay...I just wish any of his other moves looked as good as the East River Crossing does.
- So, we've got a tag title feud with some honest to goodness, if thin, personal motivation behind it. Who knows what the future holds for Kalisto & Sin Cara, but, hey - it can't turn out any worse than it did for the already forgotten Konnor & Viktor, right?
- Yes, we all know what was going to happen anyway, but the commercial for next week completely circumvented the "will Riley earn William Regal's approval to face KO?" story and zapped any tension from tonight's women's bout, because it's highly unlikely Alexa was taking a loss before facing the champ. Had the spot only aired before the main event (where it was replayed as part of a third straight short edition of NXT) that would have been avoided completely. It's minor, but if TNA did it, I'd rip them for it. Bonehead move, WWE Network.
- Might just be salty because next week's show is the rare episode that I've spoiled for myself due to my love of reading live reports from Cagesider...
- The Alex Riley video package kind of made me sad. They really did think he was a potential main eventer not that long ago. The Kevin Owens video package was cool, but unnecessary. We know what we're dealing with in the champ by now.
- Alexa Bliss handles her business with an Enzo & Cass-less Carmella to set-up her title shot next week in her home state.
- Sounding like he was prepping for an old fashioned Monster's Ball match in TNA, A-Ry brings the heat in a backstage promo.
- Just the mention of Hideo Itami uglies up a typically gorgeous selfie promo from the King of Cuteville.
- Not appreciating being cut off when he's trying to save his world, CJ Parker takes it to Riley, but is quickly caught on polished off by Miz's former personal assistant.
- Kevin Owens is not impressed.
- Quite impressed with the women. These two are pretty easily the greenest of the Developmental females who've made it to television, and they pulled off a fairly lengthy match that reinforced both of their characters while moving Bliss to where she needs to be for next week.
- The Hottest Chick in the Ring is straight out of the Summer Rae "I don't know how good she is but she plays her role to the hilt and makes a rest hold fun to watch" camp. Speaking of the First Lady of NXT, can we get her sent back down? She's gone from Layla (serviceable) to Kelly Kelly (cringeworthy) on the main roster.
- Alexa has improved a lot, even with time off for injury. The only spots of hers that I thought looked clunky were the Sparkle Splash finisher, where the twist just doesn't look like it adds much to a flying crossbody, and the Bliss Flip set-up, which I initially thought Carmella had countered due to the way it landed.
- It sounded good, but A-Ry's promo didn't make a whole lot of sense. He says he's going to put in terms the interviewer will understand...was the guy in Old Boy or something? No, wait, they fed that dude. I don't know. Credit for trying, but the two week crash course in "Alex is passionate about the business and loves his fans" didn't really do it for me.
- Seemed to work for Full Sail, though. Props to Riley, the two heels he's worked with in the champ and CJP, and the crowd themselves for going with the story they were presented instead of putting themselves in it.
- My admiration for Parker grows with each appearance, and he followed the trend set by the first two matches in delivering an unusual for him botch-free showing. He works the crowd extremely well before and during the match, and I really dig that he's integrated breaking Owens' nose at R Evolution into his schtick.
- If I were the General Manager, I'd want to see more than a thirty second comeback before I let an ex-announcer face a murderer like KO. But I'm not complaining that Regal is fast forwarding the story by giving Alex his blessing.
- The champ can heel better than most wrestlers in his sleep. And that is an ugly-ass back tattoo.
- As is usually the case with feuds on this show, Breeze vs. Itami III calls back to previous encounters.
- It ends when Prince Pretty applies one of the bits of knowledge he gathered at Rival and dodges the low corner drop kick to set up a Beauty Shot.
- "Look everyone, it's Tyler" makes me smile every time I hear it.
- This week's news that Zoolander 2 is coming our way fourteen years after the original strikes fear in my heart that Breeze will get a rushed call-up and ill conceived push, for which he will be blamed when it inevitably fails.
- Derek and Hansel's return did help me realize that one of the best innovations in The Gorgeous One's act is that he's not stupid. In fact, matches like this one establish him as actually being quite clever. He may be vain, but he has an Edge-like strategic approach to his feuds and matches that helps him overcome a gimmick that would trap a lot of dudes.
- Itami is so fine, I can't believe I was ever worried. He continues to work more and more cool striking-based offense into the act - this week I marked when Hideo caught Breeze's leg on an attempted roundhouse and used his own off leg to sweep Tyler to the ground. We still need to work on a finisher, though. The Beauty Shot has grown on me for the Duke of Delish, but they need to consider the Supermodel Kick. Or at least keep the latter as a clear set-up maneuver.
- This is one of my favorite feuds in wrestling right now. These two have Orton/Christian levels of chemistry together (and, for new readers, that's not ironic - that's high praise coming from me).
- Love, love, love how Breeze was selling as we faded to black. One of the many reasons why a loss on NXT isn't the same thing as a loss on Raw - the defeated man took the victor to the limit, and they commit to demonstrating that.
All around fun episode with good if unsuspenseful storytelling and solid ring work. If it didn't feel so...slight...it could have been better.
Type at me, Cagesiders. What did you think of this week's episode? Did it set you up for two straight weeks with NXT Championship matches?