By Darren Gutteridge
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Steve Cutler: An odd pairing considering Cutler has only just debuted, but the match was a secondary concern. It was there to give us something to look at as Samoa Joe set up the next phase of the feud. Joe being humble in defeat could either be giving him a free pass to turn babyface, or set him up for a turn into an even more vicious Somaon Submission Machine. I’m excited for either option.
TM61 vs. Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari: This opening match was an unexpected treat. TM61 needed a win, and the CWC finale needed plugging. With both of those objectives wrapped up in a solid match, it was always going to get a Hit. Nese did enough in the CWC to warrant a look-in on NXT, and despite his loss to Ho Ho Lun of all people, Daivari might be worth a shot too.
Ember Moon vs. Leah Von: Ember Moon is exactly what NXT needs. The women’s division is barren at the moment, to the point that I think they may have to bring in some notable indie names to feed to Asuka. But at least now we have a roadmap to our next big feud for the belt. Conversely, NXT is what Moon needs. Moon needs work when it comes to running of the ropes, and with some of her transitions, but she’s in the best place in the world to fine tune her skills.
Andrade Almas vs. Austin Aries: The tag line should have been “A Whole Lot of A’s”. This just crept across the line into Hit territory near the end, but for a while I was considering giving it a Miss based on how unimportant it felt. Almas is a non-entity so quickly after his debut, and while Austin is in a feud with Itami, there should have been a pre or post match promo to drive the feud home.
Nothing: I won’t remember a single match from this show in a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t watchable. The hour flew by, with marked improvements across the board following last week’s chore of a show.