Tape rolls on a commercial for this Saturday's WWE Network event, Beast in the East, kicking us off with a 'go home' show vibe for the July 1 NXT.
- Answering the Preview's cry for more tag teams without any of the teams mentioned there, Simon Gotch & Aiden English make a triumphant return to Full Sail in a quick match against Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder.
- Our first Becky Lynch sighting is in the trainer's room, where she tells Devin Taylor that she's been out - and will be for a few more weeks - with a hip flexor issue.
- Still squashing folks, but now as a heel, Baron Corbin makes quick work of Tucker Knight.
- General Manager William Regal has a head ache, and it has The Realest Guys & The Vaudevillains written all over it. He buys himself some relief by making a #1 contender's match between the two squads for next week.
- Opening a wrestling show with a wrestling match earns points from me this week, even if it was just an old-fashioned "hey, remember when these guys were almost tag champs?" extended squash for The Vaudevillains.
- Is refusing to let tag teams have a cool moniker the next step in the no-first-names blandification of sports entertainment? Dawson & Dash, seriously? I guess I understand if Port Authority or Dubstep Cowboys are too smarky, but what's wrong with The Mechanics?
- Would have been kind of neat to see some continuity from Scott getting the nod to face Samoa Joe in his debut, or something in the way of character development for beyond Minnesota Wrecking Crew comparisons. NXT's tag division is getting crowded, but that should be more reason to give the undercard teams personality so they don't get lost in the shuffle.
- Maybe it's absence making the heart grow fonder, but thought English was better than usual in there tonight - some of his strikes looked painful. Need to work on making their finishers as cool as their names.
- Kind of weird that Gotch & English are going from obscurity right back into the title picture, and I question the decision to do so in a way that further confuses their already murky alignment...babyface return and win tonight leading to trying to take the #1 contendership away from the most over acts in the promotion. Thinking they're just a way to delay Enzo & Cass' rematch, however, which makes sense even if it sucks for The 'villains.
- Bummer for BEX, especially since Unstoppable got her mega-face push off to such a good start. But if memory serves, they did one of these injury updates for Bayley last Fall and she was only out one taping, so hopefully she'll be back quickly.
- What the actual F is the plan with Corbin? Heel turn accomplished, and it both fits him and makes the beatings more entertaining. End of Days on a big man like Knight is always impressive. But give him a feud or get him off my Network-enabled device.
- Part III of the Fergal Devitt story focuses on his arrival in NXT and the development of his name, entrance & war paint.
- Regal and Sara Amato watch Eva Marie work on the basics in a Performance Center ring.
- Despite her babyface fire, Carmella succumbs to Dark Emma and the Emma lock.
- Pistachios aren't the only thing Bull Dempsey's been eating, but they're what he claims he can't get out of the vending machine when the GM gives him his latest warning.
- Insisting he's not a loser, Jason Jordan is still hesitant to accept a Gable-bodied partnership with Chad.
- Prince Pretty kills some time with a win over Tye Dillinger.
- Looking forward to watching what I assume will be these Finn videos all together on the Network special. They've been the usual excellence from WWE Productions, and hopefully they'll add some extra footage or out takes. Great job doing what needed to be done here to give the audience more to connect with Bálor via beyond good wrestling, cool entrance and puro history.
- HOWEVER...I would have stayed away from the shoot interview discussion of "The Demon", because it contradicts the messaging we're getting from the equally impressive shorter spots teasing what "The Demon" is in story. Yes, the NXT audience is smart enough (in both senses of the word) to separate the two approaches, but...I'm old and I miss kayfabe sometimes, okay?
- Haven't shipped anything since Buffy went off the air, but I'm shipping Ferg & Bex.
- No comment on the Eva Marie segment, because a brief DEATH REY sighting has me thinking about watching old Shimmer DVDs. I'm thinking 43 for the NXT Assistant Head Coach & Madison Eagles vs. Ayumi Kurihara & Ayako Hamada, but I'll take suggestions in the comments.
- Just gonna kick it to our pal D.E.O. for a second...
Okay, Dark Emma's new theme is FIRE. Straight up flame emojis.— D.E.O. (@ImJustDEO) July 2, 2015
- Though Full Sail hasn't embraced her as fully as it appeared they had when she was with her boys, big ups to the Princess of Staten Island for showing real progress in the ring. She's not great, but Carmella has evidenced the most development of any of the non-indy women. Also, props for getting through a whole segment without saying "Bye Felicia".
- Still not a fan of the fat gimmick for Bull, but the guy's going full Sandow in selling it. Especially liked his lip quivering self-talk when deciding between listening to Regal or attacking the machine again.
- Like that Chad Gable backstage spot more each time I see it. Jordan shows promise as the Olympian's straight man.
- His "Perfect 10" gimmick, where he rates other's matches (think the Bret Hart "4/10" meme as a character), looks like a hit in Florida even before it's been on television, so good for Dillinger. Direction-less Tyler Breeze makes me sad, though.
- Trespassing in the Women's champ's locker room, Dana Brooke & Emma fail to intimidate The Boss, who's confident she can find a tag partner for a future tag match against them, despite the heel duo's excellent point that Sasha Banks has not made many friends lately in NXT.
- Everyone sees action in the all-star main event, with Samoa Joe eventually getting the hot tag after Finn Bálor plays face-in-peril for a while.
- A frenetic final act leads to miscommunication between Rhyno & Kevin Owens, and a surprising finish where the #1 contender pins the champ as prelude to their title match in Tokyo.
- The Champ...is...here!
- Finally...The Boss...has come back...to N - X - T!
- Ms. Wednesday Night!
- NXT. Is. Banks.
- Sorry, got excited. Really missed Sasha. Assuming her tag partner will be her old BFF, because (a) the existing issues with Dana, (b) there are no other healthy names big enough to pop the crowd, and (c) they're both basically tweeners now anyway.
- A turn toward the babyface side makes sense for Banks now, because she's over enough that it would require Owens-esque skill to get heat, and because there's a track record of NXT having talent work both ways before a call-up. Also, unfortunately, it probably prepares her for the "catty, mentally unstable chicks" booking that's in her future on Raw and SmackDown.
- Main event was solid, yet unremarkable, for most of its time. If you've enjoyed Rhyno and Joe before on this show, as I have, you probably liked it more than if you've been disappointed by the veteran's performances.
- Business picked up for the finish, and kudos to Triple H and company for the decision to end it like they did. Getting an audience like us to doubt that the mantle is being passed on July 4 took some doing, but turning the smark truism that the guy who's going to lose on pay-per-view (PPV) stands tall at the 'go home' show on its ear is an ingenious way to do it.
Reminiscent of last week's show, but with a better mix of story advancement and filler that resulted in a better pace. Plus, this episode's main job was to get us primed for Beast in the East, and they dispelled any notion I had of sleeping in on Saturday.
What do you all think of NXT this week?