By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT Hits
Brodus Clay and Adrian Neville: While I liked the content of last weeks promos better, the face off was a smart next step. Although this feud seems more geared towards reinvigorating Clay, Neville came off better here, looking like a real man by walking straight up to his bigger opponent and staring him down. I suspect next week we get a sneak attack from Clay to get the heat really turned up for their anticipated showdown. Also, props to Neville for getting "whinging" onto an American TV show.
Occupy NXT: I loved this. It is everything fun about the Bo Dallas character. The delusions. The Bo puns. The cry-baby routine. It was all here to enjoy, and Dallas came off as a petulant child. The icing on the cake was the crowd turning their backs. It felt a little staged (and it was), but it made for a cool visual. No, this is not a main event heel gimmick, but that doesn't mean it can't be a great mid card act.
NXT at WrestleMania: A cool highlights package on all of the NXT shenanigans at Wrestlemania 30 Axxess. The video gave me an idea – why not have storylines start on NXT after the turn of the year, all building to showdown matches at WrestleMania Axxess. Have it taped like a normal NXT episode, but have it take place at the event. Not only is it a great reason to go to Axxess, but it also serves as great hype for Mania 31 if the show can be turned around for the Saturday before Mania.
Adam Rose vs. Danny Burch: A minor hit. I like that Rose has seeming gone with a new finisher, even if I do think an elbow drop in 2014 isn't enough to cut it. It's been a transitional move for so long that it doesn't carry the weight a finisher should.
WWE NXT Misses
Justin Gabriel vs. Bo Dallas: An unexpected clunker. While far from an awful match, the two did not click at all, with the match featuring sloppy spots and awkward pacing. Unfortunately, Dallas isn't finding his grove in the ring with any regularity. He needs good chemistry to work it seems, but the call up should give him access to better workers more often, so it's a situation I expect to improve. It seems Gabriel may be getting similar "second chance" to Clay on NXT, which is something I called for, but this wasn't a great start.
Mojo Rawley vs. Sylvester Lefort: A miss in every sense of the word. Not only was the weakest version of the Hyperdrive we've seen thus far (not that that is saying much), but how much of a tit did he look doing those rolling three point stances?
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: I agonised over this because I like both girls, but I'm afraid that while I can find faults, I can't point to much I liked. Sasha relies too heavily on weak looking strikes, and both ladies seem stuck in limbo, with no storyline to cling to. It's a small roster with one title, so a little stagnation is expected, but that doesn't make it enjoyable.
Announcers: Tonight we were introduced to another new play-by-play guy in Rich Brennan. I understand that this is night one, so "slack" is needed to be cut, but I'm here to give you my opinions, and I can't say I am hopeful about his future prospects. First off, he looks like Dexter from Dexter's Lab (or perhaps a chubby Joey Styles), and secondly he displayed two ends of the "bad anchor" spectrum – not only did he have a few matches where he talked under Riley and Albert, but he then later did the opposite and stayed silent as his colour commentators ran riot. Rough night, but I thought Tom Phillips was bad night one and he's improved, so there s always hope.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out the Dot Net NXT podcast with Zack Zimmerman and myself, available for members of the site! If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG