Friday, 17 June 2016

TV Review: WWE NXT #200 (James Marston)

After NXT Takeover: The End of the Beginning last week, it was back to normal this Wednesday (15/06/2016) with an hour long edition of the show airing on the WWE Network. 

Headline Segment

Shinsuke Nakamura confronts Finn Balor

How was the show, though? Let's take a look!

fast-forward...Three minute recap video of NXT Takeover: The End of the Beginning...The Authors of Pain (Gzim Selmani & Sunny Dhinsa) accompanied by Paul Ellering destroyed their opponents, CJ O'Doyle & Sean Swag, in the tag teams TV debut match...

The show really got going with another short bout, that saw Carmella pick up a submission victory over Tessa Blanchard. This was Blanchard's third match with WWE and she came out with a new attitude, suddenly becoming a heel. I've missed a few weeks of NXT some maybe I missed something, because the commentary team didn't mention it. I suppose it's because her previous matches had been against Nia Jaxx and Alexa Bliss, both heels, and I suppose most viewers wouldn't notice. However, considering that NXT is aimed at the savvy, wrestling fan it felt like a lack of attention to detail and continuity. For what it was I thought Carmella looked pretty good here, her offence looked decent and managed to get the crowd going in a fairly short space of time. She's still got a long way to go, but there's definitely signs of improvement from the Princess of Staten Island. 

fast-forward...Cathey Kelly interviewed Blake and Murphy ahead of their match with more tension being teased between the former NXT Tag Team Champions...

Blake & Murphy's losing streak continued as they fell to TM-61's Nick Miller & Shane Thorne, giving the newcomers their first win on WWE TV. For me, the match was slow to get going and having missed the last few weeks, I thought it was difficult to see which team were working as the babyfaces. The action was a bit stunted until Blake & Murphy took control of the match and from here on in things picked up. The continuation of the storyline that's seen Blake & Murphy unable to win a match since dropping the NXT Tag Team belts back in August played well into the match with some brilliantly worked heel miscommunication that would lead to Miller's hot tag. A quick finishing sequence saw TM-61 hit their impressive Thunder Valley double team for the win.

fast-forward...After a recap of Nia Jax defeating Bayley on NXT #197, an injured Bayley was interviewed revealing she'd possibly be cleared to compete by next week...

In a rematch from Takeover: The End of the Beginning, Andrade Almas picked up a fairly comfortable victory over Tye Dillinger in a technically sound encounter. Credit to Dillinger for bumping like a machine for Almas and allowing his opponent to look as good as he did, but I'm not sure that he's currently the best choice of personnel to put over debuting babyface talent. The fact is he's too over with the crowd, who enjoy the "Ten" count thing and therefore they sided with Dillinger over the new comer for most of the match, with this not being helped by Almas being almost completely dominant throughout. Either switch up Dillinger's character to make him more dislikable or find Almas a different opponent to allow him to build his own relationship with the crowd. Also, the sooner Almas drops the white feather hat and other get up he comes to ring in the better.

The main talking point from the show comes in the form of the superb in-ring segment between Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura. Advertised as Balor addressing his future on the show, Balor's interaction with the crowd at the start of the promo was a strong piece of work as despite him not him having the world's best solo promo skills, he turned things into a conversation with the Full Sail Arena, taking advantage of it's fairly intimate settings. The lead-in to Nakamura's interruption was planted nicely with Balor repeatively saying "What's next for Finn Balor?" before the arena erupted at the sound of Nakamura's The Rising Sun theme music.  Shinsuke is just Shinsuke, isn't I? I mean, I could try to explain why the man's just completely fascinating to watch speak, but I feel that trying to pick apart the reason why, would take away part of the magic. Plus, at the end of the day we're getting Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura on WWE television at some point, so who gives a fuck about anything else. 

ATPW Scale rating - 4.5/10

Similar to this week's IMPACT Wrestling, the 200th edition of NXT was pretty much rescued by it's headline segment. Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura brought the star power and the performances to match in front of Full Sail Arena and getting an electric response in between. The rest of the show however was a bit damp as NXT attempts to get a number of newer stars over, with mixed results. Problems with heel and face dynamics seemed to plague the show, with a lack of attention to detail from performers, as well as the booking staff. It's easy to get a crowd excited about Balor vs. Nakamura, but NXT needs to start developing some stars of it's own sooner rather than later.

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