Rhyno is still amped up from squashing Elias Sampson a couple of weeks back, and he says he'll be sticking around, trying to use NXT as a career Lazarus pit the way Tyson Kidd and Curtis Axel have. He was joined by The Brian Kendrick last week. The former WWE tag king didn't get a great chance to showcase his skills in his main event spot against Finn Bálor - but that was more because the match was secondary to the angle being set-up at the announce desk.
NXT champ Kevin Owens was sitting with Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Alex Riley, scouting the #1 contender to his belt while he worked with Kendrick. He didn't take kindly to some of A-Ry's questions about the path he took to the title, so he left and allowed everyone to focus on the ring. TBK and Bálor responded too, with the Irishman pulling out a big win over the veteran. But KO was just playing mind games, as he returned to send a message to the color commentator and his chief rival when he tossed Riley over the desk and shot verbal daggers through Finn.
Just beneath the main event level, Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze continued their entertaining dance when Prince Pretty attacked the Japanese star with a cell phone accessory. A failed attempt to get a selfie with his victim using said accoutrement allowed Hideo to strike back and chase off the Gorgeous One.
Itami has just polished off Bull Dempsey when Breeze struck, so Bull is still losing. His rival Baron Corbin, became the second person to pin Tye Dillinger in a minute, so he's still doing what he's been doing, too. Tye had a falling out with his tag partner, Jason Jordan, and had his shoulders stuck to the mat by Lucha Dragons when Jordan left him high and dry. Demanding an explanation is what left Dillinger in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Lone Wolf rolled into the ring.
Following up their tussle from TakeOver: Rival, Becky Lynch and Bayley delivered a hard-hitting five minutes. But the Hugster still hasn't figured out how to translate her newfound moxie into a winning strategy, and she got Ronda Roussey-ed by the (wanna-be, according to Graves) punk rock girl.
The Nature Girl is correct when she points out that her former BFF has never beaten her one-on-one. But Snoop's cousin is on a roll - and NXT isn't known for hot shotting titles - so our money is on The Boss to retain. The Women have a history of leading off shows, which is nice, but given the buzz of the last week and the push WWE has going on around Women's History Month, let's give them at least ten minutes and let them go on last, huh?
Former champ Sami Zayn has a clean bill of health, and he should be back from the Middle East by now, so we've been promised an update from him. You'd think he's got a rematch coming his way, but maybe the crafty Owens had that removed from the contract when he was holding William Regal and the Likeable One hostage... Regardless, Sami may have to wait in line behind Bálor and the possibly suicidal A-Ry.
We got the hint of something more from Solomon Crowe last week, with a hacked feed promo where he set his sights on NXT gold. Here's another area where NXT's top heavy booking hamstrings the show - as great as the main event scene has been for about nine months now, from the headlining bout at Fatal 4Way, through Zayn's road to redemption and Owen's meteoric rise to the top, it's really difficult for anyone outside of that to feel important.
I just don't think I buy Crowe as a serious threat to KO, or Adrian Neville, or any of the "NXT Five". And other acts that they've tried to debut in the mid-card either spin their wheels (Dempsey, Corbin) or end up cut out of the show's short runtime (Marcus Louis). Like the main roster, NXT's lack of a developed undercard will hurt it in the long run.
Now, if a certain Samoan were to show up...him I'd buy as an instant title contender. No mid-card required.
(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.)
Can anything the men who aren't in the upper echelon of the card do really grab your attention these days?
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