Last week on NXT was the long awaited debut of James Storm. Asuka demonstrated once again why she is potentially the most dangerous, and the most talented wrestler in the NXT women’s division. Baron Corbin and Rhyno finally got into the ring to settle their differences. Most importantly, it was announced that next week will be Apollo Crews vs. Finn Balor for the NXT Championship.
This week’s NXT has the final preview for Balor vs. Crews, Emma and Nia Jax display their dominance, The Mechanics take out Enzo Amore and Big Cass. That’s not all. The tag team division gets some time, and Samoa Joe-Tyler Breeze feud came to fruition after their beef in the No. 1 contender battle royal a few weeks ago. This week’s NXT was full of development, and there was some really good wrestling. Let’s get to it.
Here are the five top moments of this week’s episode of NXT:
5. Emma vs. Shazza
What’s cool about Asuka isn’t just her excellent in-ring ability. Her character comes off to me as a hunter. She’s always watching her prey. That means she was looking at every move Emma made in her match with Shazza. The match itself is what you’d expect from Emma and a new girl to NXT. Shazza sold to Emma pretty well, and Emma came out looking dominant.
Considering Asuka’s win over Dana Brooke was expected, Emma is going to be a much more exciting challenge. No offense to Brooke, who is winning me over, but Emma is the most experienced veteran of the NXT system. But at least she is finally being used for something. Emma is putting over Asuka, which is good. Quality wins against good opponents is what makes NXT storytelling so good. I was kind of hoping for Emma vs. Bayley this month. It’s still possible, but like I said. Asuka is watching.
4. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa
This match is a perfect example of what I love about NXT. Frankly, a wrestling match that focuses on excellent chain wrestling, and flawless transition between moves is something the main roster just doesn’t do. NXT just put these four guys in the ring and said, “Have fun.” The ones who ended up having the most fun were the NXT fans. They were ecstatic and appreciative of the match these four guys put on. The NXT crowd also made something extremely clear. NXT needs to push Chad Gable now.
The crowd is 100 percent on his side. He’s astonishing in the ring, and when he has guys to keep up with his style, magic happens in the ring. I’m going to be sad to see Gargano and Ciampa go after this run in NXT. I hope the rumors are untrue, and they stay, but I hope even more that we’re getting Gable and Jordan vs. The Vaudevillains in the next month, or in London. If it were up to me, Gable and Jordan would have won the Dusty Rhodes tournament, but the NXT Tag Team Championship will do fine.
3. Nia Jax vs. Kay Lee Ray
In wrestling, there are two very different types of dominance in the ring. There is “I’m just more talented and better than you are,” which is what Emma did earlier tonight. Then there is “I’m just bigger and stronger than you are,” and that’s what Nia Jax did here. In another squash match, Nia Jax picks up her second win in NXT in convincing fashion.
What’s especially great about NXT is a performer doesn’t take as long to make their point. If NXT is building a monster, they’ll book matches like this for a few weeks, but they’ll know the NXT fans understand that. Rather than do the same thing for months, they’ll book something crazy like Asuka vs. Nia Jax and whoever wins gets Bayley. My point is Nia Jax is going to be a monster. We get it, but I’m not expecting too many more squash matches for Jax until NXT brass gives her something real to do.
2. Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Breeze
Breeze vs. Joe could have been a nice little program to keep them both busy and build tension over a longer period. The match was pretty good. Joe needed the win more and now that Tyler Breeze is on the main roster and feuding with Dolph Ziggler, everyone wins here. The only thing is I wish there could be a better send off for Breeze than something like this.
I’m just not sure what’s happening with Joe. My money is on him costing Balor the championship, or getting involved in the match to save Crews from losing. I just don’t see any other way to keep everyone’s momentum going. I’d happily watch Crews vs. Joe if that’s the direction we’re headed in. Next week is going to be interesting for everyone. I’m excited about Balor vs. Crews.
1. Preview for Apollo Crews vs. Finn Balor
“Excited” is an understatement. Balor vs. Crews is something I thought I was going to have to wait years to see, but there goes NXT again. Apollo Crews has looked very good since arriving in NXT. I was in Brooklyn when he debuted in NXT. Crews got over the second he entered the Barclays Arena. Since then I’ve had my doubts about a few things, but NXT is going with him fast.
I’ve thought that he’s a bland face without a character. It’s not a flaw per se when you’re as physically gifted as he is, but he doesn’t have that connection that’s going to make a lot of people find him interesting. After the nostalgia wears off on the main roster, he’s going to have the same problem Randy Orton has had. Crews only needs a few character traits, or something small for the fans to latch onto to take him from being a top hand to being the top guy.
It’s an interesting argument to make because Apollo Crews does everything else well. The issue for next week is I don’t think he wins. I think Finn Balor is riding on all cylinders right now. I’m also still holding out for Balor vs. Joe for TakeOver in London, so we’ll see if that becomes reality. I expect next week’s NXT title match to blow my mind. No matter who wins, I’m going to be satisfied. That’s the number one thing NXT does better than any other promotion on Earth. Next week will be no exception. At this point, I just want to see it.