By Darren Gutteridge
Shinsuke Nakamura’s Farewell: This was simple, to the point, and heartfelt. Shinsuke has had a hell of a year on the yellow brand. It was an experience many felt he should have skipped altogether, leapfrogging NXT and going straight to the main roster. And while I do see the reasons why that may have been a good idea, I think this segment provided a perfect counterpoint. During his tenure in NXT, Nakamura had time to polish up the one “weak point” in his game – his ability to cut promos in English. Compare his farewell speech to his early work, and you’ll see that he has come a long way, and now has no flaws in his game whatsoever as he rolls in main roster life.
Drew McIntyre vs. Oney Lorcan: Save for one match I watched live at an ICW event, I have not seen anything of Drew McIntyre since he left WWE. I knew he was getting rave reviews wherever he went, but he simply never crossed my radar. But good God has the time away done him good. In this great hard hitting match with Lorcan, he looked every inch the stud he was promised to be when he was declared “The Chosen One” by Vince McMahon all those years ago.
Ruby Riot vs. Kimberly Frankele: A Chikara special! While the match itself wasn’t much to write home about, their presence alone earns them a Hit. Both of these ladies can add a lot to the Women’s Division on NXT, hopefully moving it away from the current “Asuka’s challenger of the week” model and back to a viable division top to bottom.
Aleister Black vs. Corey Hollis: A statement first win for Black. There is no need to rush him into a feud at his first taping, so steamrolling Hollis was exactly what was called for. This approach will also allow him time to further sell his cool mystique.
DIY vs. Dylan Miley and Michael Blaze: Speaking of statements! Giving DIY a straightforward win coming out of Takeover makes sense, but the story here was Miley, who destroyed Michael Blaze about as badly as that other famous Miley destroyed her dignity. He needs refining, but his power was very impressive.
Nothing: The blurb on the Network described this episode as the “arrival of a new era”. WWE often wheels this phrase out, even for the most minimal of changes, but this did feel like a fairly significant changing of the guards. With Black, Riot, Frankele and Miley making their in-ring Full Sail debuts, the big return of McIntyre, and the farewell address of Nakamura, the NXT Spring Cleaning got of to a hell of a start.
Thanks for reading, and check back next week for my last NXT Hit List on Dot Net! If you have any thoughts or opinions on this article, share them with me via Twitter.com/TheGutteridge. You can also check out my website, FoulEntertainment.com