Last week, Apollo Crews became the No. 1 contender to Finn Balor’s NXT Championship. Bayley’s title reign has begun its next chapter, and Nia Jax finally debuted to display impressive raw power. This week has been set to be an interesting edition of NXT since it was taped a few weeks ago. There was an important debut of a familiar face. Now, that Apollo Crews is challenging Finn Balor, the build to the match moves forward, and other feuds are reaching a boiling point to make this week’s edition of NXT can’t miss.
Here are this week’s five best moments from NXT:
5. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Mechanics
The Vaudevillains are still the Tag Team Champions. The battle for who is going to challenge them for their titles at NXT TakeOver: London is up for grabs. The Mechanics have burst onto the NXT tag team scene after beating the champions in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. On paper, they’re the worthy opponents, but they need to earn that position. To do so, they’re going to have to go through Enzo Amore and Big Cass.
Last night, Enzo and Cass got the victory, but Dawson and Wilder would be the ones to walk away as they laid out the victors with a huge beatdown. This beating is just the beginning for these two teams, as there will likely be a match for them in the next few weeks to earn the right to face The Vaudevillains. The Mechanics are a solid heel tag team, and getting good heel heat over Enzo and Cass is a good way to build them to The Vaudevillains.
4. Alexa Bliss vs. Peyton Royce
This match was pretty good. It’s fascinating that NXT is booking Alexa Bliss to wrestle while Blake and Murphy back her up during her matches. Bliss is talented, and she’s a new contender in the NXT Women’s Championship hunt, so that makes her intriguing. The Ironman match is most likely the last match Sasha Banks will have in NXT. It’s now time for someone else to step up in NXT to be the heel to provide the foil for Bayley.
On the other side, Peyton Royce looks good. New talent is always welcome in NXT, and as Bryon Saxton put it so graciously, “Royce has legs for days.” She doesn’t have a character or persona so far, but Peyton just got promoted to NXT, and that takes time. She did her job well and gave Bliss a quality win. There isn’t much more you can ask for from her as of now.
3. Asuka vs. Billie Kay
Asuka is the most interesting recent addition to NXT. The NXT crowd is sold on Asuka and for good reason. Wrestlers from other promotions with history are always valuable to NXT. Asuka is being built as the best mat technician in NXT. Her chain wrestling is flawless, and her ability to smile is both jarring and enchanting. She’s building a reputation very quickly as someone you don’t want to get into the ring with, and that’s going to go a long way towards challenging Bayley, or anyone else.
Billie Kay is another addition to the women’s division for depth. I like her. She’s pretty good, but she was a little sloppy. I had seen her in Shimmer, which is a promotion you should check out if you’re interested. But these two have a history and have worked together before. Their chemistry was good for the match, but at the moment it’s Asuka who’s being built up, so this match did its job.
2. Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno
This match made a lot of sense. Rhyno is a veteran, and his job is to put over young talent. He’s been doing that well for a lot of guys, but now he’s finally done the deed of putting over Baron Corbin. The match is what you’d expect from them. It was a power against power scenario that is a change from the constant display of wrestling psychology. Sometimes, the fans just need a physical battle to keep the brand from doing the same thing over and over again.
Corbin was able to survive a Gore and hit an End of Days on Rhyno. That performance makes him look really strong over a veteran like Rhyno. The question now is where does Baron Corbin go from here? This win could be the start of some fresh momentum for him. Apollo Crews could be a target, or even Finn Balor and the NXT Championship.
I’m not 100 percent sure he’s ready for the spot, but he’s not going to win that match no matter what happens with Balor and Crews. It’ll be a good test for him to see what he does when give the chance to succeed.
1. James Storm Debuts
It’s been confirmed for weeks, but now we had the pleasure of actually watching it. James Storm debuted to an obviously shocked NXT crowd. The cool thing about a promotion that admires and has vast wrestling knowledge is you can bring in someone like Storm and blow fan’s minds. On the main roster, half the audience wouldn’t know they’re looking at a great veteran of the industry.
The match was what it was. Hopefully, there is much more for James Storm. Perhaps, he will be the one to challenge Baron Corbin, or take the shot at Balor after Crews has his turn. There are a lot of potential feuds for James Storm to start in NXT. I’m assuming that as a coach, he has the benefit of being able to see guys train, work with them and help them in the ring to get over. My assumption is his role will ultimately be to put over the new talent and be the Chris Jericho of NXT.
It’s one thing to have Rhyno, who is respected and dedicated, but it’s another to have a former TNA Heavyweight Champion and one of the best tag team wrestlers ever putting over young talent. NXT doesn’t have to acknowledge his credentials because the NXT crowd already knows them. What the future holds in NXT for James Storm is a mystery. Storm has a blank canvas.