By John Moore
Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot: I actually started to type this in the Miss column because of the match finish, which reminded me of dumbass TNA logic. Phillips just said on commentary that it was a no-countout/no-DQ match yet the referee called for the bell right after Tom made that clarification. Asuka’s reign wasn’t in doubt in my mind because we don’t see title changes on the weekly TV show. Those minuses out of the way, the other components of this match were either very fun or very compelling. The three-way elimination did a good job of each woman hitting high impact moves against each other with each woman paying attention to the woman they weren’t working with at the moment. Cross and Asuka got extremely intense once Riot was eliminated. They had a good strong style brawl in the ring. Once the action dragged to the outside the intensity went up several levels. You had Cross trying to drown Asuka at one point. This led to the big drop off the stage. That’s where the finish should have been! Double KO! This had too many good things in it to be a Miss.
The Authors of Pain vs. an enhancement team: I didn’t get the first guy’s name but Phillips and Percy Watson said the other guy’s last name was Dominguez. NXT is full of squash matches, yes, but the squashes all serve a purpose. Even the squash I have in the Miss column had a purpose. The purpose of this one was to further establish the dominance of the Authors of Pain in a unique way and that was by having Akam defeat both enhancement wrestlers by himself. This also led into the setup for an Authors vs. Heavy Machinery feud, which has me very intrigued. ‘m looking forward to see how the Authors are going to do against a team that isn’t as experienced after being paired with Revival and DIY in the past. Another thing I’m looking forward to is seeing what Heavy Machinery can do on a larger stage because they are an insanely fun tag act.
Sonya Deville: The video package on Sonya (real name Daria Berenato) was well done. Her television matches haven’t been anything to write home about, but Sonya has looked really good in untelevised live events due to her cool and legit look. The video package also took clips from her so-so televised matches and made them look great. It showcased her strong strikes and submissions. It almost made her look like a female Samoa Joe, which is what I think she should be going for. She must destroy some people in the ring and hopefully they don’t have her going 50-50 all the time.
Velveteen vs. Raul Mendoza: There’s still not much so far with Patrick Clark’s Prince imitation. I still feel like he doesn’t go all in enough as he comes off as Patrick Clark doing a Prince impersonation rather than drawing inspiration from the legendary rock star. The Hit comes from the in-ring. Patrick hasn’t had a bad match so far in NXT to the best of my memory. He hasn’t had any real standouts either, but one thing that does stand are his mean streak moments where he shows some force behind his strikes. If he is going for the flamboyant character, I would hope he’d get a bit of coaching, probably from someone like Percy Watson, who I thought was great as the “Showtime” character. Watson was inspired by Eddie Murphy, yet he meshed it well with his wrestling persona. Raul Mendoza also got to look good and has impressed in his limited showings in WWE.
Drew McIntyre vs. Rob Ryzin: This match was a fine showcase for McIntyre but I feel like we’re taking a step back here by going back to the squash matches for him on a weekly basis. I felt like NXT could have gotten away with a slightly longer yet one-sided feud between McIntyre and Wesley Blake if they wanted to keep McIntyre in a meaningful holding pattern. At least the one-sided feud would give McIntyre a chance to shine on the microphone, which is one of the skills that he showcased in his time away from WWE. Again, there was nothing wrong with this match. If you missed it, you didn’t miss anything. Squashes are fine, but I feel that Drew is ready for real matches and programs rather than being in showcase mode.