By John Moore
Selena Vega: The match between No Way Jose and Andrade Almas was a simple enhancement showcase for Almas. The real star of this segment was Almas’s new manager Selena Vega (a.k.a Thea Trinidad/Rosita). This reminds be a bit of what Lana used to be for Rusev when she was more of a handler rather than a traditional pro wrestling valet. On top of that, Vega is not only just a handler, as in the match she was shouting orders and strategy to Almas, so she also served as his coach. We don’t see too many managers in WWE these days. I know it’s only her first showing during a match, but I’m already impressed with Vega’s potential as a manager.
Oney Lorcan vs. Danny Burch: Another good match between these two brutal wrestlers. I almost feel like I’m watching Fight Club with how real/stiff their shots looked at the end. The commentary of this match was solid. Nigel was explaining early on that the restholds being used early on were to soften up the opponent. Here’s a random observation. When’s the last time we saw Danny Burch win a match on WWE television? I’m not 100 percent sure of this, but I believe that Angelo Dawkins and Danny Burch have been in NXT since FCW became NXT and I can’t remember them winning television matches. Did Dawkins and Burch both get their first WWE TV wins on this episode? Burch picking up the rare win made his win much more compelling. Here’s hoping we get the Lorcan vs. Burch rubber match at Takeover: Brooklyn.
Drew McIntyre, Bobby Roode, and Roderick Strong: This was a strong segment with many layers. It helped that all of these layers were logically placed. Initially, it was a standard pro wrestling face-to-face promo between Roode and McIntyre. Roode continues to play the cocky heel champion well and McIntyre hits all the right notes from a babyface challenger end. I was afraid they were going to go the route of McIntyre putting up his title shot for no reason against Roddy, but I do like that they had Regal there to “preserve” the main event of Takeover. Roode was also great in orchestrating his opponent into a match four days before Takeover.
Sanity and The Authors of Pain: A minor Hit for the quality of Sanity’s beatdown. I’m still confused as to why this feud is happening. The monster heels vs. crazy heels. The Authors were given the babyface treatment here. What I do like is this was probably the most vicious beatdown we’ve seen from Sanity (and why did they have to use it on the monster heels rather than the faces they’ve faced in the past). Sanity managed to get a bit of heat back but they only way they can cash in on this heat is by beating AOP for the tag titles. A loss or cheap finish are not ideal for them because that’s the pattern for Sanity. They get a little heat only to be put back in their place. Another more positive Hit goes to the solid return of Eric Young (condolences to Young and his family on the passing of his mother).
Street Profits vs. The Metro Brothers: The Profits had a standard debut, but they haven’t sold themselves as a long term act with staying power. I think the problem here is Dawkins. He seemed to be trying too hard to play whatever a Street Profit is supposed to be. On the other hand, Montez Ford really impressed me in his limited showing and a part of this Miss was we didn’t get to see much of him. The next time they have a match they should have Ford carry the action more because he plays his character well and showed great athleticism. To get another positive, I did get a chuckle of the Metro Brothers looking like huge fans of Deuce and Domino.
Hideo Itami and Aleister Black: Am I missing something or did I forget a week of NXT? This pairing seemed completely random. You would have thought that Itami was on a collision course with Kassius Ohno after doing the hard turn after their last match. Black on the other side just defeated Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. This upcoming match at Takeover puts NXT in a place where they probably don’t want to be. Black doesn’t have to end his winning streak and Itami shouldn’t be losing so early in his killer heel run.