Gutteridge's WWE NXT Hit List: Sami Zayn and The Usos vs. Corey Graves and The Ascension, JBL addresses the NXT Women's Title situation, plus Tyler Breeze, Alexander Rusev, and Tyson Kidd
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT Hits
Sami Zayn and The Usos vs. Corey Graves and The Ascension: A fun main event which owed a lot to the always exciting Usos brothers. While their mic work is lacklustre (or at least it was the last time they spoke, which may have been in 2009), but they bring it in the ring 9 times out of 10. Zayn played his part too, but his in-ring work was entirely geared towards developing his feud with Graves, which makes the end result baffling. No one cares about the Ascension, so why not have one of them take the pin and leave Graves with momentum going into his suspected showdown with Zayn?
The NXT Women's Title Tournament: This is a plus point for the concept more so than the execution. I thought the usually stubborn Paige gave up the fight a little too quickly in her backstage segment with JBL, but it was otherwise well done, and included a seemingly genuine JBL offering sympathy, which was unexpected. The tournament is really what NXT needs right now. With Paige, Emma and Summer Rae shipping out, new players need to step up in the division, and this is a great way to do that. The first tournament for the title was well done, so I hope the second follows suit. It's also a smart way around not having your new Divas champion drop a title to a "rookie".
Paige and Emma vs. Charlotte and Sasha Banks: While this was a solid match that allowed Charlotte to show off a few impressive moves (even if she is still the weakest link in the division by a mile), it gets a hit mainly because it accomplished something. Many Divas matches recently have been unimportant, but the finish of Charlotte pinning Paige creates intrigue going forward. See creative, it's not hard!
Tyson Kidd vs. Mason Ryan: Well done to Kidd on having Ryan's best match on NXT. Since he isn't appearing on the main roster at all, I'd really like to see the under-appreciated Kidd become an NXT mainstay. He's wooden on the mic, but if he can drag a semi-decent match out of the tree named Mason Ryan, who knows what he could do with the likes of Zayn, Neville and Breeze.
WWE NXT Misses
Tyler Breeze vs. Angelo Dawkins: Prince Pretty is officially in a holding pattern. I'm not sure what he is being saved for, but Breeze is established enough that squash matches like this are redundant. They also missed a trick in not having Breeze look on bewildered by what Dawkins was wearing. I hate backpacks, and so should Breeze.
Alexander Rusev vs. Travis Tyler: Two Rusev squash matches in one week is too much. It makes sense, but that doesn't make it entertainment. Also - "Rusev hits, Rusev crushes"? Why didn't Lana say "destroys" instead of "crushes" so we can go full Ivan Drago already?
Commentary: This is one of the worst nights of commentary I have ever heard. We all know Riley is bad, but Jason Albert had an equally torrid time of things on this show, making a tonne of mistakes that should have been fixed in post (NXT is not above rerecording commentary, as seen several times on this episode). Rich Brennan on the other hand gave me an odd sense that although he has done his homework, he just doesn't have a feel for wrestling at the moment. He comes across like a guy who has perfectly studied how to play pool by reading books etc., yet has never picked up a pool cue in his life. He just has no connection with the product, and he's unlikely to improve in the rough seas of Riley and Albert.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out the Dot Net NXT podcast with Zack Zimmerman and myself, available for free this week! If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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