To start off, since watching NXT Takeover: R Evolution, I have discovered that Adrian Neville wrestled for years under the name PAC. His first win for an American promotion was for Pro Wrestling Guerilla and it was against Kevin Steen, who you will recognize as the NXT powerhouse, Kevin Owens. On his second night in the promotion, he lost a match to El Generico that was widely considered by those in attendance to be a match of the year candidate. You’ll recognize El Generico as current NXT Champion. Well, I guess you wouldn’t really, what with the mask and all. God, I can’t wait for these guys to move up and start taking over pay-per-views.
Anyway, time to get on topic: episode two hundred and fifty-seven of the NXT program. Thank God FCW folded and they decided to turn NXT into their developmental program. It was a disaster back when guys like Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett were on it. It was more of a reality show than a wrestling program. Now it’s wrestling, through and through. The episode began with the Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara and Kalisto) vs. Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan in a non-title affair. So obviously there was no chance of The Lucha Dragons losing this match. They’re the NXT Tag Team Champions. They can’t lose a non-title match to a random tag team, unless it’s the beginning of a program, but The Dragons are already neck deep in one with The Vaudevillains. They did what they could to make the match interesting.
Can we talk about The Vaudevillains for a bit? I absolutely love that gimmick. Maybe it’s because I love silent films, or maybe it’s because they remind me of the unicycle riding strongmen in “Family Guy,” but I really think it’s great. The men behind it, Aiden English and Simon Gotch are both working every bit of fan attention they can out of it.
After the tag match, there was a short segment with CJ Parker and Bull Dempsey. I hate to be dismissive, but both men need work on their promos. Their deliveries are still very stilted and sound heavily rehearsed. Next came the Jersey Shore stereotypes (Carmella, Enzo Amore, and Colin Cassidy) that I want to hate so badly, but I can’t. I hate that whole subset of American Culture so much. I don’t understand it. In a time where America is dismissively labeled as a country full of dumbasses, why are we encouraging a culture that lends credence to that idea? I guess at some point that stick fell out of my ass, or I just think Carmella is super hot, but I didn’t hate their segment at all. It was also nice to understand what the f— the “blue pants” crowd chant was in reference to.
Next up was CJ Parker vs. Baron Corbin. This wasn’t much more than a squash. It lasted a few minutes in total, with the only real purpose of the match to help sell Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey. Then came Charlotte Flair’s segment. I’ll start by saying that while Charlotte is only going to improve more and more, and will most definitely dominate the WWE Diva’s division, she just doesn’t have the same…dare I say, Flair…as her father. She’s just not interesting enough on the microphone. That didn’t really matter though, as the segment quickly devolved when Sasha, Becky, and then Natalya came out. It was done as setup for a tag feud between the four women.
Sami Zayn also appeared via a video from outside his family home. I’m just going to skip covering what he said, as it’s not really important. It’s one of those situations where they just needed him on screen so nobody forgets about him. What is important is the fact that a Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens feud is coming down the pipeline. Even though I understand he doesn’t want NXT, I hope someone convinces Vince McMahon to watch every one of their matches so that he himself can see his company’s future.
Finally, we come to the main event: The Ascension (Connor and Viktor) vs. Hideo Itami and Finn Balor. in a rematch from NXT Takeover: R Evolution. The match was exactly what you’d expect it to be. All four of them are incredibly talented, so they’re not going to put on a bad match. My issue with this match was Alex Riley’s awful commentary. I assume it has something to do with the level of attention that Itami and Balor have gotten since arriving in WWE, but Riley did everything he could to bury the two. He just ended up sounding like a jackass.
He called them kids numerous times.
Alex Riley is 33, Finn Balor is 33, and Hideo Itami is 33.
He talks about them like they’re rookies, but they’ve been wrestling since they were teenagers.
They didn’t come to WWE begging for a job. Triple H and the WWE went to them because they loved their style. There’s nothing for Itami and Balor to adjust to. They’ve got more talent in their pinkies than Riley ever had. It’s got to be some sort of bitterness, or he’s just playing the heel announcer. Whatever it is, it’s annoying to listen to that clown talk like he could teach them a thing or two. Go back to The Miz, you jabroni!
It was a fairly low-key episode of NXT this week. Nothing big went down, but it was still entertaining. The realest guys in the room held down the ring with their charisma, and Kenta Kobayashi and Prince Devitt made Alex Riley sound like a moron.
I’ll give it a 7 out of 10.