SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
This week’s WWE NXT episode featured a big NXT Title match of Finn Balor vs. Apollo Crews, plus developments in the Tag Division and women’s division leading to the main event. So, what worked and did not work? Tony Donofrio examines…
WWE NXT 11/4 Hits & Misses
– Asuka vs Cameron: A minor hit here that helped put over the type of force that Asuka will continue to be. I would’ve actually preferred an even shorter match than these that saw even more offense from Asuka and less from Cameron, but overall this match was still effective in doing it what it set out to do.
– Jason Jordan & Chad Gable backstage: I’ve made it a personal rule of mine to not touch on a lot of backstage interviews during these reviews unless I thought there was something relevant to cover; this felt like one of those to me. WWE/NXT might be onto something huge with these two. Both guys continue to improve by leaps and bounds in the ring and continue to show great charisma and chemistry both alone and working off of each other and this interview was no different. I also loved when they teased calling themselves “The World’s Greatest Tag Team” considering I compared them to the original, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, last week. I don’t read spoilers on NXT and have no inside information, but I’m hoping that where there’s smoke, there is fire and that WWE is at least trying to bring back Haas and Benjamin for a fun run in NXT. Their style would fit in well in NXT and I think a program with Jordan & Gable over the WGTT monicker would thrill a lot of fans.
– Apollo Crews vs. Finn Balor (NXT Title match): I love how this match was building and building until the non-finish with Baron Corbin interfering. NXT doesn’t do a lot of these type of finishes and I don’t recall a finish like this in a major match since I started watching the promotion, so I’ll give the non-finish a pass in this case. Like I stated last week, Crews and Balor will meet again and when they do, they will end up tearing the house down; most likely at a Takeover event. Things were just starting to get hot when the interference occurred, which would lead to…
– Samoa Joe’s heel turn: For many, this was only a matter of “when,” not “if,” and the timing was right for it. This should turn into a great feud that will lead to the main event of the next Takeover event in London. Much like one of his best friends, C.M. Punk, Samoa Joe is a very good babyface, but a much better heel and this will help spice things up a bit in NXT and give them a killer heel that they’ve missed since Kevin Owens moved up to the main roster. What shouldn’t be lost in this is that NXT helped to set up two matches for the next Takeover event with Corbin attacking Crews. I assume that we’ll get a tag match or even some mix and matching of these four guys leading up to Takeover in London next month. I’m still not sold on Corbin due to his raw in-ring skills, but he is slowly improving. I’m curious to see how he’ll mesh with Crews. I also assume that there is the outside possibility that Takeover in London could be a Four-way match for the NXT Title. That certainly is one way to help prolong both feuds if that’s a direction that the higher-ups in NXT want to go.
– Overall Show: This was a one-match show for the most part. The main event and heel turn from Joe was enough to make the entire show a minor hit. When you have that kind of main event and angle to close a one-hour show, you can get away with this type of card and that’s what NXT did this week.
– Bull Dempsey vs. Angelo Dawkins: Maybe I’m in the minority, but the “Bull-fit” Dempsey is just not my cup of tea. Does it help fill a mid-card comedy slot in NXT? Sure, but it just doesn’t seem to click for me, even if it seems to be a hit in Full Sail. Mark this one down for me as the latest Adam Rose-type gimmick that will only get over in NXT and wouldn’t work on the main roster. The match with Dawkins was also nothing to write home about and I doubt anyone, Full Sail crowd included, could care less about the Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton break-up.
– Eva Marie vs. Gionna Daddio: Another bad performance by Eva Marie that saw her get outworked by an enhancement talent that didn’t get an entrance; although I’ll admit that Daddio did quite well for herself considering who she had to work with. I won’t pile on too much from what I had to say about Eva Marie last week, but NXT has built up a ton of credibility with its fans and if the powers that be choose to still give Eva Marie a major push going forward, then they are doing themselves a major disservice. For a promotion that has produced Paige, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley, a major push being given to Eva Marie would be heresy.
Tony Donofrio is a Specialist for PWTorch covering a variety of topics and promotions. You can reach Tony at TonyDonofrio@icloud.com or follow him on Twitter @TonyDonofrio.