This week’s edition of NXT continued it’s tradition of being arguably the best hour of WWE Television every week. I think this is mainly down to being able to take a breather from the regular somewhat heavy handed promotion WWE has for it’s storylines, making NXT feel fresh each week, as well as also the talents appearing to have a lot more free reign within their matches and being given more time than they would regularly get on either Raw or Smackdown.
NXT Championship Match: Big E Langston © vs. Bo Dallas
I have to say I haven’t been particularly impressed with Bo Dallas over his spell on NXT, his in-ring work can be good, but it’s nothing special and his performance on microphone last week was truly abysmal. It would seem that the crowd in attendance at the Full Sail Arena feels much the same as they chanted “No More Bo” for a lot of the contest. Whilst a lot of talent in NXT would seem ready for a call up to the main roster, I would say Bo would need at least another year and half in the developmental promotion before being anywhere near capable of taking the step, which made him a strange choice for this NXT Championship Match.
Someone who has made the step up to the Main Roster, and has done so convincingly in his role as Dolph Ziggler’s heavy, is Big E Langston who went into this contest as NXT Champion. Langston has been impressive in his contests on both Raw and Smackdown over the last four or five months and this match was no different. It was well thought out, with Big E controlling a lot of the early going, the highlight being a huge splash that looked like it might get E the victory. Dallas played the underdog well, after avoiding another Big E Splash, Dallas built up to a nice Dudley Dog, to further the underdog theme. The only problem with the underdog role is that the crowd was having none of it, continuing to cheer for Big E throughout the contest.
It didn’t take long though until Big E was back in control, bulldozing over Dallas. With Langston going for the Big Ending, Dallas managed to grab the top rope and partially remove the turnbuckle cover, before sending E head first into the turnbuckle twice. Unfortunately, Bo didn’t quite remove the turnbuckle cover, which meant the final spot didn’t quite come off as intended, which was a shame as it would have been a nice ending, with Dallas getting a roll up for the victory and the NXT Championship.
Dallas continued to show his weakness during an interview with Renee Young at the top of the entrance ramp. Dallas again looked awkward when faced with a microphone and the crowd was having none of it. Hopefully, Dallas’ run as NXT Champion will help build him as a competitor as well as giving him some more time to practice his promo skills. It would seem that Bo will be getting a turn as a heel, which would seem the right idea instead of fighting against the Full Sail audience, it will be interesting who steps up to challenge Bo over the upcoming weeks.
Best of the Rest
The storyline between Antonio Cesaro and Sami Zayn continued this week, with the two having a rematch from three weeks ago. With Cesaro controlling the early going with an ultra-aggressive style that we’ve rarely got to see from him in his time in WWE due to a lack of anything resembling a feud, with Zayn’s main offense coming in the form of creative reversals, such as turning a Cesaro uppercut in to a backslide for a near fall.
The match was well put together with Zayn’s selling ability and the fact that every time Zayn looked to get going he was cut down by Cesaro, really helped to get Zayn even further over with the audience. In terms of an underdog, he Zayn plays the role a lot better than Dallas, is a hell of a lot more likeable. With Zayn’s best chance of victory coming from a fantastic sunset flip, which bared a passing resemblance to a Canadian Destroyer, the crowd thought Zayn had pulled out another unlikely victory. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Cesaro picking up the win with a Neutralizer which was probably the only sloppy part of the match, where Zayn almost slipped out of the move and had to hold himself in place for the finish. Hopefully we’ll get to see another match between these two in the next couple of weeks, as it feels like they have a lot more to give.
There was also another match in the first round of the NXT’s Women’s Championship tournament, pitting Alicia Fox against Bayley. Both competitors played their roles well, with Fox making a good heel with some vicious attacks, and Bayley’s innocent character making it easy to get behind her throughout the contest. It’s nice to see Diva’s with actual characters in NXT, which makes them feel a little less interchangeable as has been the case in WWE over the last couple of years. Fox is perhaps one of the more underrated competitors on the roster, with a nice Bridging Northern Lights Suplex being a highlight. Although Bayley’s character is strong, she still needs to work on her in-ring work after an awkward looking exploder suplex slowed the match down a little. Fox picked up the win with her Scissors Kick finisher and I can see her possibly getting to the Final of the tournament.
There was also another outing for the NXT newest tag team, Scott Dawson and Garrett Dylan, joined by their manager Sylvester LeFort. LeFort got a little mic time before the match, which went a little way into explaining his odd partnership with the tag team, but I’m still not convinced, seems like two worlds colliding and not quite working. Dawson and Dylan took on Travis Tyler and Baron Corbin, in what was essentially a job match. With Dawson and Dylan dominating Corbin for the majority of the match, before Tyler’s hot tag was cut short with a huge Spine buster from Dawson and a sitout axe handle from Dylan, now named Southern Pride, gave Dawson and Dylan the victory. I like this new tag team and feel they offer something new to the WWE Tag Team Division, I also like their manager Sylvester, but don’t think the two together is a great combination, although it could grow on me over the next couple of months.
What have we learned from this week’s WWE NXT?
1. Bo Dallas isn't ready to step up to the main roster yet, but hopefully he will learn from a heel turn and run as NXT Champion.
2. Sami Zayn proves you don't always need to get the win, to get over with the crowd.
3. William Regal being back on commentary certainly helped the talent in the ring to tell their story, hopefully he sticks around for a long time.