By Darren Gutteridge
No Way José and Austin Aries: I really liked this. It seemed to be going one way, then swerved us several times. Prior to the attack on the table, Aries seemed genuine, and the crowd was into the dancing. Once things turned, Aries was nicely intense and mean in his attack. This feud intrigues me. I saw José wrestle Bobby Roode on the NXT UK tour, and it felt like he was able to show real fire despite his silly gimmick. If he can balance both sides, maybe the dancing gimmick isn’t a death sentence after all.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Buddy Murphy: A minor Hit, as the novelty of seeing Nakamura do his Swagsuke thing still hasn’t worn off. Do we really need to see him in another squash match? Probably not, but at least they gave this one a little bite with the backstage promo beforehand. Of the two former tag team partners, Murphy does seem to be the one with the most potential going forward as a singles act out of him and Wesley Blake. There were glimpses here and there of his hard hitting style, so if that is accentuated alongside a change of look and attire, he could be a mid card player in NXT in no time.
Tye Dillinger vs. Oney Lorcan: There’s a lot to dislike here. The name “Oney Lorcan” for example. It may be just Dolph Ziggler 2016, but it’s about as awkward a name as I can remember. Plus, Tye Dillinger being in a “losing streak” storyline. It could go somewhere, but this is always the worst start place for any storyline. That said, the match that took place in this sea of bad was very entertaining, with some excellent nearfalls (special mention to the pin following the superkick). Hopefully both men are on the up and up soon.
NXT Women’s Division: Things are in a bad way at the moment. Previously untouchable megastar Bayley is now just spinning her wheels. Nia Jax is about as over as bird flu. And the rest of the division is made up of seemingly interchangeable Jax jobbers. What precisely is the difference between Billie Kay, Peyton Royce and Deonna Purrazzo? The two matches tonight did little to address these problems. Asuka may be a badass champion, but with an undercard this weak below her she doesn’t have the mic skills needed to build up her opponents, and altering her dominant style to be more vulnerable will only take away the one thing that got her over. Change is needed, and quickly.
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Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...