By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT TV Hits
Lars Sullivan and Aleister Black: A minor Hit here because it wasn’t as good as I would have hoped, but it was probably the best build overall towards Saturday’s world title match. Aleister Black is still talking too much. He’s not a bad talker, but him cutting standard pro wrestling promos with catchphrases is killing off his mystique a bit. Lars Sullivan was really good in this segment for not talking and only ass kicking. Kane is also presented as an intelligent and eloquent person, and he keeps his talking to a minimum unless the situation calls for it. That’s the approach they should be taking with Sullivan. Another detractor was due to the mediocre build was that this segment might have been too little too late to make the NXT Title match seem important. In fact, every other match on this week’s Takeover card seems more intriguing than Black vs. Sullivan even though it has the potential to stand out in a good way.
Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the WWE UK Championship: This was a PPV or Takeover worthy main event match on the NXT television show. Pete Dunne’s brutal brawling style meshes well with almost every opponent. Kyle O’Reilly showed off here why he has big time singles potential in him. O’Reilly’s really letting his personality shine as the quirky heel, but in the ring he looks really credible despite losing a majority of his singles matches. What makes O’Reilly stand out is his usage of martial arts in his in-ring. There wasn’t a wasted moment in this match and I wouldn’t mind seeing this at a future Takeover.
Bianca Belair: Bianca Belair makes the most of her minutes and shows a lot of growth every time she pops up on television. Her real life story of being a “natural” is no joke and she’s showing that given her limited wrestling experience. Two of the biggest weaknesses that I’ve pointed out was her lackadaisical attitude and horrid finishing move (the one where she falls on her back with her opponent falling on her). Belair showed more energy in her entrance and in berating Dakota Kai. She also took two of my personal favorite pro wrestling moves, the Falcon Arrow and Burning Hammer, and combined it to make a new finisher. Can we call it the Burning Arrow? Anyway, It also looks like they are going in a solid heel direction with her which works well with her being cocky and confident.
EC3 vs. Kassius Ohno: A good short match that almost seemed too short. It seemed liked it would have been a really good encounter if they added another EC3 offensive sequence and three more minutes. Kassius Ohno is good at pacing his matches and keeping them from falling into being boring. Ohno might as well be the anti-Roode/Triple H in that respect. EC3 has fixed some of the problems he was exhibiting during his time in Impact Wrestling where he would come off as lumbering and clumsy at times with his bulkier physique. EC3 has looked really good in-ring in the ladder match and his several enhancement matches. Here’s hoping that they find a program for EC3 soon because he’s a main roster ready talent that is currently doing nothing right now.
Video Packages: There were two video packages (Baszler/Cross and Gargano/Ciampa) that did a good job handling the “go-home” portion of the show to hype up Saturday’s Takeover show. They were produced very similar to last week’s Velveteen Dream and Ricochet exchange. Each competitor got to cut a promo exhibiting their individual styles. Baszler got to come off as a heelish badass in a sit-down setting. Nikki Cross got to sound like a crazy transcendental person who stands in front of garbage fires. Gargano and Ciampa got to plead their cases as to who is more justified and tough. Each interview and the supplementary video accompaniment worked.
Aliyah’s new look: This was the only real Miss I could find on the show. Aliyah had a good look going on when she had the darker gear and serious look. This week she went back to the drawing board and came out looking like a cross between Carmella and Nikki Bella.