Once again, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves welcomed the audience to another edition of NXT from Full Sail University. A week removed from NXT TakeOver: Respect, NXT beings to build to NXT TakeOver: London next month. Bayley defeated Sasha Banks last week and now looks for new challengers. The debut of Nia Jax was announced. Finally, a No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal was set to decide who will take on Finn Balor for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: London.
Here are the five best moments from NXT this week:
5. The Debut of Nia Jax
First and foremost, Nia Jax is as advertised. She’s not like the other women in the division. There’s nothing like Nia Jax in WWE women’s wrestling right now. Jax is a different animal because her game is raw power. Her debut was a display of powering Evie around the ring and showing how dominant she can be in a different way than anyone else in NXT.
She’s a monster, but it’s unclear if she is to be a heel, or a face. I think she’s a natural heel because of her ability to push her weight around. That’s something she could do to any woman in NXT, including Bayley. The great question is while Jax has debuted, who will she target? Will it be Bayley? Will it be Asuka? Nia Jax is going to be different and right now, Nia Jax is unpredictable.
4. The Vaudevillians vs. Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton
You gathered around to watch the tag team of Debonair Devastation of Such Exquisite Sophistication, and also the current NXT Tag Team Champions take on Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton in a pretty ordinary match. Essentially, Dawkins and Fulton took turns offensively until Simon Gotch received the hot tag and soon The Vaudevillians hit the Whirling Dervish for the win. Pretty standard victory for the champions.
What was really interesting is Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson cutting a promo right after talking about how they beat The Vaudevillians in the Dusty Rhodes classic, which should make them No. 1 contenders. I’m inclined to agree with them since that does make logical sense. Dawson and Wilder also made it to the semi-finals of the Classic, so they have some steam, but it looks like they’re probably going to have a match with Enzo and Cass in the next few weeks to make it official.
3. A New Challenger Spoils Bayley’s Celebration
NXT opened with Bayley coming down in celebration after her epic win last week over Sasha Banks in the Iron Man (or Iron Woman) match. She celebrated with the fans, and Izzy. When she spoke, Bayley was impassioned about making history last week, about women’s wrestling truly being respected and embodying the Women’s Champion that the fans were hoping she would be.
Shortly afterward, Bayley was interrupted by Alexa Bliss accompanied by Blake and Murphy. Bliss agreed with Bayley, but clearly challenged her reign because she may not have written letters to herself as a child, but she still wants what Bayley has.
The gauntlet has been laid down at Bayley’s feet. Bliss temporarily stealing the title long enough to make her point was a nice touch. Personally, Alexa Bliss is a far better contender than Dana Brooke, or Eva Marie. Blake and Murphy had their long title reign and Bliss caught the later end of it. I’m glad to see their partnership continue and for Bliss to become the driving force of the trio. If it is to be Bayley vs. Bliss in London, Bliss made a statement, but now she needs to make it personal.
2. Samoa Joe-Tyler Breeze Rivalry Begins
I was very curious who was going to win the Battle Royal and challenge Finn Balor. For so long, I was convinced it would be Balor vs. Samoa Joe in London, but the Battle Royal proved me wrong. Instead, the Breeze vs. Joe feud has begun.
In the final four men of the Battle Royal, Breeze was eliminated by Joe. However, Prince Pretty would have the last laugh. As Joe was on the apron, Breeze swept the leg and forced Joe’s elimination. It’s brutally obvious that Joe will now target Breeze for costing him a chance at the NXT Championship. Breeze vs. Joe will be a good match on the undercard on NXT TakeOver: London, but there is a bigger issue here.
When is Tyler Breeze going to get his chance? I mean a real chance to be NXT Champion. The crowd adores him and was cheering for him consistently. They have been for awhile now, but they were particularly upset when Breeze was eliminated. I have no serious issue with Breeze vs. Joe, but how long is Breeze going to jerk the curtain in NXT? He’s ready for something big now and the crowd is asking for it. Either call him up, or give him a really good feud in NXT. Either way, give Breeze more.
1. Apollo Crews Wins No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal
Having said all that, Apollo Crews winning the Battle Royal to become No. 1 contender is a great idea. Balor vs. Crews for the NXT Championship in London at TakeOver is going to steal the show. It’s the athleticism of Balor vs. the athleticism of Crews. It’s ambition versus ambition. Raw talent against raw talent. These two men are so similar and yet, they are so different. The match will be very good, we all know that. What concerns me is how the feud between them will build over the next month.
It’s not even a concern really, but Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor was good not only because of the story in the ring, but because Owens was such a good heel to Balor’s foil. Apollo Crews is an amazing athlete and good wrestler, but his character doesn’t really have an identity, or at least it doesn’t project that to me. Balor has The Demon. His charisma is channeled, so it’s quite the sight to see when it comes out. Crews has natural, but silent charisma. How will these two faces build momentum to London?
Time will tell. Next week can only bring more answers and more action.