By Darren Gutteridge
Cedric Alexander vs. Andrade Almas: I’m glad Cedric is getting some time in NXT. We’ll see in the next few weeks how involved he is on Raw’s Cruiserweight Division, but I’d be okay if he is the one that gets to sit it out for the most part in the name of sharpening his mic work in NXT. His ring work isn’t in question – in his NXT debut, he gave Almas his best match to date. To think of how long ROH had this guy under contract and decided to make him go on a losing streak on the lower card.
Samoa Joe: Last week, Joe walked a perfect line with his promo work, leading the audience on to believe he had turned over a new leaf without actually saying anything out of character. As great as that was, this week was better – aggressive, assured Joe is one of the best characters on TV right now. His war on NXT should make for a great few weeks.
Austin Aries vs. Oney Lorcan: I did ponder whether Austin giving Lorcan so much offense was a bad idea. Ultimately, I decided it served a higher purpose. For one, the commentators made constant mention of Lorcan’s ability to spring upsets (albeit after he pulled off one solitary victory), and if that’s the direction they are going in with Lorcan, you can’t really tell that story if he is being squashed. Secondly, having Austin have some difficulty in putting away a new guy adds to his cowardly heel routine in the Itami feud. He’s showing he’s more bark than bite, and when Itami calls him on it he runs away.
Billie Kay vs. Aliyah: I feel bad giving this match a Miss, as it was better than expected. Aliyah looked more assured than ever before, and they are at least trying to give Kay some momentum (loss to Ember Moon aside). However, it was certainly the weakest link on an otherwise solid show.