By John Moore
Kassius Ohno vs. Aleister Black: Nigel framed this match well on the onset by setting the match up as a battle between two knockout artists. To talk artistry a bit, this match was a well drawn-out composition with multiple acts. The first act was the feeling out process and a taste as to what was to come. The second act included Ohno and Black trading strikes. The end of the match put it all together with Ohno and Black showing what they can do with the strikes and wrestling holds. Ohno is extremely good at putting together matches and he includes just the right amount of agility as to not overdo it. Black is simply amazing and can be the true martial artist that WWE has never had. Bonus points at the end of the match for Black and Ohno doing a realistic version of an Anime Cross-Counter with Black and Ohno going for their finishers at the same time and Black winning with the length of his leg.
Bobby Roode and Roderick Strong: They are doing a good job at accentuating Strong’s strengths as a character while also cementing Roode as the top D-Bag heel in the promotion. Roode still comes off as Triple H’s NXT avatar, but he’s showing more from a character perspective than he ever did in TNA. The ensuing brawl after the insults worked because Strong is simply defending his family. I don’t want this to be the premise of every Strong feud but it worked so far against Eric Young and Bobby Roode (wow… so far Strong’s last two feuds were against Team Canada… huh).
Sonya Deville vs. Rachael Evers: This was a much better match from Sonya Deville compared to her last one against Lacy Evans. In her last match it was a 50-50 affair while this one she got to showcase her [pseudo] MMA style against a good worker in Rachael Ellering. The punches and roundhouses were better too since she actually made contact this time where for the longest time she was afraid of contact it seemed. The submission finish worked well as well. One thing I would extricate from her presentation is that shadow boxing she does pre-match in the direction of the hard camera. She’s supposed to come off as a “real” fighter yet she does this choreographed video game combo into the camera. If she’s going to shadow box, she should do it naturally against the turnbuckles and not into the hard camera like she’s trying to follow a script to a stage play.
Peyton Royce vs. Ember Moon: This was an underwhelming return for Ember Moon. For starters, I thought it was a bad idea in the first place to retread the Moon vs. Kay/Royce feud. That thing spun its wheels for the longest of times. I’m also starting to believe that Ember Moon’s stock is dropping immensely. She hasn’t looked great on promos and nothing really stands out other than her cool finisher. She’s a good worker, yes, but she must refine her identity. She came out to the ring very excited and happy. She was better when she was silent and deadly. Right now, Ruby Riot has supplanted her as the top babyface female on the NXT roster due to the good job that they’ve done building her up.
Sanity vs. The Ealy Brothers: Sanity gets a win. That’s good, but they could have used some building up a few weeks ago before eating a few losses. Sanity seems broken at the moment and I think they would have been a better group if they had Eric Young going for the NXT title, Killian Dain as the rising star, and Alexander Wolfe/Sawyer Fulton going for the tag straps. Things got thrown out of whack with the Fulton injury and it caused EY to be put in the losing tag team where Wolfe just gets beat up a lot. Sanity either needs to go away for a while or dominate all across the board. This match would have been better if it were Heavy Machinery vs. the Ealy brothers, which would have been fun.
Percy Watson: This is not going to be a Miss every week, but I just noticed his purpose and the level at which he contributes. Watson’s contributions as an NXT color commentator have been as the color analyst for FCW wrestlers. Therefore, he contributes when Drew Galloway and Kassius Ohno are wrestling so he can tell you that guy was a tough dude. What’s funny is that I was a huge fan of “Showtime” Percy Watson when he was acting like Eddie Murphy and had the “Oh Yeah” thing. Look at Jerry Lawler at his prime as a commentator and you see someone who had an expressive character that also added to the commentary. With Nigel McGuinness doing a good job though it might be too much; but if that’s the case why have him even be there if he’s not going to add anything or serve a role. I’ve noted in the past that I’m Asian-American. I am also African American on my father’s side and I find it a bit insulting that WWE’s doing a bit of affirmative action pandering. If they really want to appeal to the African American audience, take away JBL from Smackdown and let Byron and Tom Phillips roll as the two-man booth. A character-less Percy Watson is extraneous.