NXT held their bi-monthly event on Wednesday as I was excited to see this, but what I wasnt expecting was for this to be the best WWE produced PPV, of the year so far (minus Wrestlemania) for a variety of reasons. Heres what makes this show a complete must see for everyone.
NXT has always delivered some great PPV style shows on the WWE network but this weeks was a cut above in terms of the promotion and the majority of the in ring work. The show was due to be headlined by Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT championship, and also featured Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch for the Womens Championship and a triple threat for the number 1 contendership- and all of these matches delivered.
NXT has been garnering steam now for well over 6months at a rate of knots, and the work that went into making this show known to those outside the normal audience was great. We got Sami Zayn debuting on the main roster and looking good against Cena, and we also got the best moment of the entire US open challenge so far as Kevin Owens made his Raw debut to take out the ‘Champ.’
All of this only helped add to the fact the company is now fully behind NXT, and realises that the wrestling first and stories later format of the show is working with the audience as is giving the talent time to grow and shine for what they do rather than fitting a certain style. And with that said we then got the opening of the show, which featured two mini custom, WrestleMania style, entrances for both Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor and these got the crowd going from the start and highlighted how different NXT is and why that’s a good thing.
If this wasnt enough the match itself was great, even with the missing element of Itami (out injured) but even this was explained and given a storyline point that he was attacked in the parking lot- maybe by the champ Kevin Owens which would make sense. The match itself featured everything you want from near falls too some really great high risk moments and the back and forth that kept you guessing over who could win at any moment. The right man for the future main event won however, as Balor went over and now moves on to face Owens again and hopefully this time we get more between these two than a throw out match-up on television.
This match really set the tone for the night as it was engaging and entertaining from the start- and the night continued in this vein. We got to see Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin in what can only be described as a brawl; but one that was better than I was expecting given how much work Corbin still needs no the ring. However Rhyno worked well and hard to keep his limitations hidden, and Corbin impressed in the longest match we’ve seen to date as he sold well (something we’ve not seen before) and looked strong when he scored the win. Where he goes next however is the big question; as im not sure there is anyone else on the card he can feud with and overcome without having to move towards the title picture.
We were then treated to the first of two womens matches on the card- yes that’s right two top class womens matches on a 2hour special. The women division in NXT is also top-notch, and shows the main roster exactly how characters should be developed, how the time should be used and that womens wrestling can be engaging an entertaining if treated correctly. The first of these two matches saw Charlotte and Bailey vs. Emma and Dana Brooke in a standard tag team affair to try to end the Dana/Charlotte feud and the Emma/Bailey feud at the same time. While the match wasnt amazing, it provided some solid wrestling moments, mainly from Charlotte and Bailey sold very well when taking the power moves from Dana and taking a beating from Emma. However in the end the team of Charlotte and Bailey had too much for the heels to overcome and were able to score the pinfall and then treat the crowd to the Flair walk and some high fives to keep them engaged for a few minutes longer., When was the last time you saw this on the main roster?
The Tag Team title match was the match I was least excited by- not because it hasn’t had any good build or because I’m not a fan of the dynamics that have ben established between the teams but simple because if feel Enzo Amore is not very good in the ring! He’s amazing on the mic and has a real future as a manager im sure but his in ring skills don’t seem to improve or vary. However tonight he surprised me as he was able to do more than merely sell and broke out some wrestling holds and a very nice DDT from the top rope that looked devastating. Blake and Murphy looked good as always and have some very nice looking tag team moves and decent chemistry in the ring- but the arrival of Big Cass changed all of this. This was the first time I felt Cass has been sold as a true giant and big man who is difficult to overcome in NXT and it worked brilliantly for him as he looked great in the ring and his no selling of chops was fun to see. The end featured the run if from Alexa Bliss to help the champs, and this was a nice surprise that made sense as she has been getting herself involved with Carmella recently who was originally the object of the champions affections. This was a logical ending that keeps both teams strong while building anew feud for the womens division between to real prospects for the future of NXT.
Sahsa Banks has grown into the best female wrestler in all of WWE over the last 12months, and the fact she was defending her title against Becky Lynch on tonight’s show was a real draw for me- however I wasnt expecting this to be the best match of the night and the one that I enjoyed the most but it truly was!
The match had a great build as Banks helped bring Lynch into NXT and helped her develop within the company and make her name there before capturing the gold and stepping away from Lynch. However Lynch wanted to prove she is the best and here to win championships and taking out Banks is the best way. The build is simple but effective and the match truly delivered, we got everything needed for this to become a true classic for the company.
This match is brilliant for so many reasons, but mainly as it really showed what the future of womens wrestling within the WWE should look like. This match was technical as both competitors looked to work on specific body parts of their apart and their offense matched this all in an attempt to set-up a submission finish. The two also battled back and forth with some amazing suplexes, some great high spot moments (Sash Banks hitting a suicide dive) and some displays of true power all mixed in with an amazing crowd reaction- that was truly deserved- some great selling and some really good near falls. This match puts anything else that the Womens division has done in the last few years to shame, and that can be seen at the end of the match. As after almost 20minutes of wrestling Sasha Banks was able to lock in her submission and force Lynch to tap-out to secure her victory and championship. However what came next is not only rare for wrestling but is almost none existent for women wrestling on main stream television- as once Banks had left the ring the crowd showed their respect for the match and for the competitors as an emotional Becky Lynch was in the ring and the crowd gave her a standing ovation followed by them singing her entrance theme to show the respect they have for her as a competitor and the work she had just done.This was the true emotional highlight of the show, and it followed the match of the night too. If anyone thinks women wrestling can’t be entertaining and isn’t worth the effort- then all you need to do is show them this match and let them see for themselves they couldn’t be more wrong.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn 2was the main event, and going in I was genuinely nervous as we saw Owens give Zayn a true beating the last time they met and we also saw him leave Cena lying this week- and he had promised to finish Zayn here and I believed he could. However once the entrances were out of the way- and Owens was a brilliant nod to his antics against Cena this week we got the complete opposite of what I expected as Zayn took the fight to Owens and had him rocked. This was a really pleasant surprise as it gave the illusion that Zayn could maybe have another emotional win here and recapture his gold- however it was short-lived as Owens fought back and got in some offense before ending up outside the ring and managing to counter a charging Zayn into a pop-up powerbomb onto the ring apron and once again everyone cringed as it looked brutal and Zayns selling made it look like this could be the end for a long time.
However as everything with Owens is it got much more brutal as he decided he wasnt done and was going to take Zayn out for sure and pushed away the medical staff and support team on multiple occasions to try to set-up more offense and beat-up the down and out Zayn some more to finish his career.This looked like it could happen too- until the arrival of a new NXT roster star Samoa Joe!!!!!!! This was an amazing moment as Joe is a truly huge star and has had previous matches with Owens that are amazing- so seeing these two go face-face in an NXT ring at the end of the show promise that the future is bright, wrestling filled and violent for the main event going forward. This was a great end to a great show, and shows how simply and easily a true wrestling event should be structured and handled.
You need to see this show if you have any interest in wrestling as this was the show of the year so far.