Joey, do you like shows about tag team wrestling?
- Everything continues to get better with Enzo, Cass & Carmella...except for the whole winning thing. Here, Amore runs into a trap on the outside, and gets thrown into The Mechanics sick finisher (shown above).
- Same with Jason Jordan & Chad Gable's promo repartee...except for the fact that they're going to try to play them as heels? For Full Sail?
- The video package for Dana Brooke's history with Charlotte makes their match tonight feel much more epic than all the other build to it combined.
- Given what he's been through, it's amazing Jesse Sorenson is still out there battling. Good for him. Also, he got Corbin-ed.
- Pretending that WWE hasn't already announce his opponent for TakeOver: Brooklyn all over the place, William Regal tells Tyler Breeze he may regret his request for a big name opponent.
- Which is greater? Enzo's 100 pants, or his intro line about "keeping it 100 like a high fever"? The correct answer is...neither. It was his responding to the "how you doin" chant with "we're doing great, thanks for asking".
- Liked the opening match almost as much as its finish made me go "hmmmm". Dawson & Wilder really exude that Arn & Ole Anderson vibe, and the 3-D/Lungblower combo finisher is noice. The win here is the kind of thing that positions them for title contention - it was a surprise victory like this that gave BAMF a shot after months of jobbing to tag team main eventers.
- The Realest Guys have polished off their rough edges and added little wrinkles - Amore taunting the opposition from behind Big Cass, Carm slapping 'Zo back to life after his stint as face in peril. That and the loss lends a lot of credence to the whispers that they'll be on the main shows soon.
- And really, with teams like The Mechanics and Jordan & Gable ready to step in, what else do they have to prove in NXT, anyway? It's not like the tag belts have been an advantage for any team that held them prior to getting the call. Let them pop the crowd and get a house show win in Brooklyn and have them debut on the Raw after SummerSlam.
- Didn't love Chad & Jason's interview as much as some. It was great, but it was the first time it felt like they were "acting". More stuff like the parting "say my name" exchange, less fake falling asleep.
- Seems like the NXT Zone hurts the pairs division the most, because it ends up causing just about everyone to be tweeners who get cheered. Based on tonight, that's what Gable & Jordan will be.
- Really wish Creative had hit on Dana training with Charlotte before this video, as it adds something personal that their issue was always missing. But better late than never. Like Emma/Bayley, theirs is a program I wouldn't mind seeing revisited somewhere down the line.
- What. The. Actual. %#*&. With the Corbin squashes? Convinced myself someone was going to show up to confront him after the pin, or that he'd do something interesting like continuing the onslaught after the bell. But no. Same old $#!+.
- Somebody give Prince Pretty and Regal a YouTube show. I'll pop every time Breeze says "Miz-tur Ree-gull".
- Proving that their ring work is on par with their mic skills, Jordan & Gable look great in an extended squash of Elias Sampson and newcomer Levis Valenzuela Jr.
- Talking tough ahead of her showdown with The Nature Girl, and with her partner in disingenuousness offering support, Brooke delivers her best promo (and best head tap of Devin Taylor) to date.
- Taking a turn for "I don't even know what", Bull Dempsey's overeating gimmick becomes an Adult Swim-esque workout parody.
- Evenly booked but surprisingly quick, Charlotte humbles "The Total Diva" with a clean pin following Natural Selection.
- Samoa Joe does his level best to convince us that his match against Rhyno next week is a stepping stone to the NXT title.
- Last week's exclusive WWE.com videos, featuring Kevin Owens apologizing for hitting Regal and Eva Marie reading her career goals off a cue card, are played.
- Didn't particularly care for the new theme they gave G & J (and they also need a team name, and a much better name for the finisher).
- They look incredible, both in moveset and mannerisms, though, so the details will work themselves out. Sampson & Valenzuela had some chops too. They both played characters rather than just guys there to take a loss, with the big newcomer especially standing out with a good, interesting look.
- She's not there yet, but Dana has made some strides over the past few months. It's clear she's more confident in her skills, and she knows what to highlight in her performance to get the reaction she wants, whereas before she just overdid everything to get any kind of reaction. The "sike" head pat is the first thing she's done that just tickled me without an inkling of "do I dislike the gimmick or the performance of the gimmick?"
- Which makes it even more shocking that she fell to Char that quickly in their bout. Hoping that they really had to fast-forward things to get Bayley in position to take the belt at TakeOver, and not that they're pushing a woman who's starting to get it out of the way for a 'Reality' show star working a similar gimmick...
- Kind of forgot that Ms. Flair had a non-submission finisher. Anyway, the match was much better than I thought it would be. Charlotte's strength is playing pissed off, because it gives an in-story explanation for her occasional sloppiness. And, as with her promo, this was Dana's best work yet.
- WOW, do I not know what to do with BULL FIT. I mean, I giggled multiple times, and I admire the heck out of Dempsey's commitment to the skit. Full Sail could use its own Santino Marella character, but I think it's another DOA gimmick for anywhere else. This is the very definition of "what and see" for me.
- Love me a good Joe promo, but I still don't buy that his match next week is anything other than "we don't have anything else for you to do". Makes it hard for anyone to call NXT "developmental" when they're running something TNA ran nearly a decade ago, too.
- Weird that Owens gets two segments on the show while the current champ's face and voice were never shown.
- Promised myself I wasn't going to feed into this All Red nonsense this week, but I can't help it - and it's not because I dislike Natalie Marie Coyle, nor is it because she has some innate charisma that forces me to discuss her. It's that I can't believe a performer who's been with the company for two years, as been the star of four seasons of a television show and worked as a ring announcer still flubs a basic term like the name of a title while reading off a teleprompter. "NXT Women's Championship Title"? Seriously? You should have kept The Boss' name out your mouth, missy.
- Owens squashes a dude whose already been released from NXT, before apron powerbombing him and mocking Finn Bálor.
- A compilation video does it level best to convince us that Rhyno's match against Joe next week is a stepping stone to the NXT title.
- Everybody looks good in the tag title main event, but Alexa Bliss proves to be the difference maker for the champs once again, preventing The Vaudevillians from hitting Whirling Dervish and letting Blake & Murphy roll-up to retain.
- Outraged, Aiden English & Simon Gotch beat down the champs after the bell, but take the chivalrous route when dealing with their manager. For their manners, they get the taste slapped out of their mouths by Ms. Bliss.
- Oh, I missed the KO who powerbombed people all over the place and trolled his rivals & their fans.
- Hi Danny Burch! How are the indies treating you?
- Really do like the work Rhyno has done in NXT. And I did not expect to say that when he debuted.
- BAMF accomplishes the very rare feat of getting jeered - that should not be discounted. The boys dumb arrogance (and Blake's brilliant hair choices) should get more credit for that, too. Alexa was the missing piece, by the Australian and the other one have raised their performance to match hers.
- In-ring was never a problem for Blake & Murphy, and after a long period of stagnation, the 'Villains are showing improvement as well. The key has been to let Gotch be more creative, and his series of knees and standing jump kicks were a highlight of the main event. Aiden's improved quite a bit from his singing heel days.
- The master stroke of tonight's last match was the aftermath, though. Not only did they avoid the Ring of Honor trope of getting pop by beating up a "bad" woman (and, honestly, I probably would have defended them if they went there, since unlike ROH, the woman in this case is a wrestler who likes to hit wrestling moves on male competitors), but they subverted it. English & Gotch's attempt at chivalry, and restraint in the face of being punished for it, cements them as babyfaces. And it makes the audience desperate to see Alexa have her most prized possession, her the belts around the waists of her "boys", taken away from her.
- Coming into this show, I was not invested in this feud, or a Vaudevillains title run. They changed that with the closing three minutes of this episode.
NXT still seems stuck in an in-between place, and they're not going to be able to rise to their past peaks until they figure out where they go next. Tonight's hodge podge of a show gave us a glimpse of one way out of the past few months of mediocrity however - and that's by building around tag wrestling.
Here's where I tag you in, Cagesiders. Clean house.