Thursday, 25 May 2017

WWE NXT #249 Review (Aired 24/05/2017)

On 24th May, WWE aired the 249th episode of NXT, taped at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois before Takeover: Chicago on 20th May. The show's main event had the dream match of former WWE Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre against former NXT Tag Team Champion Wesley Blake. With action featuring Aleister Black, Curt Hawkins, Robert Anthony and the debut of Velveteen Dream, it couldn't overcome the post-takeover curse. I can't even lie to you and pose that as a question, as if it would be good.

Black def. Hawkins

Another brief match for everyone's favourite Dutch shit-kicker. No surprises here, beyond perhaps the amount of heat Hawkins was able to acquire but the pre-taped nature of NXT means such boos are unreliable. After some brief back-and-forth, Black hit the Black Mass for another win. Not much to write about but watching Black destroy lesser men is still fun. I could see that maybe they're trying to start doing a Corbin-Dempsey type one-upmanship feud between  Black and McIntyre as both seem to be getting booked on the same episodes.

  • We get the first of five re-caps for the evening of the Tag Title ladder match as well as footage of what happened after. It was accompanied by the most beautiful wordplay by the NXT production team with sadly no answers.

  • Ember Moon has a pre-match promo on the empty arena seats. She's annoyed that once again she has to sit to the side and watch. The most interesting detail is that she doesn't want Asuka to lose because she's not just focussed on winning the NXT title but winning it From Asuka. Good storytelling that. "Time heals all wounds but battle scars last forever"
  • Recap II: Women's Triple Threat Edition. Asuka has a post-match interview which hits her standard beats, I'm the best, no-one will ever take my title, kicks for all, woo!
  • The Velveteen Dream will be in the ring, TONIGHT!
  • Recap III: Strong v Young. Afterwards Strong has an interview, he talks about fighting for his family's honour and also his next goal being the NXT title. I bet him vs Roode would be a fine treat indeed.

Dream def. Anthony

There were three notable things from this match: 

1. Patrick Clark's name is now 'Velveteen Dream'. It is not a nickname, it is now who he is. 
2. Dream has upgraded from 'Wii Menu Screen Prince Rip-Off track' to 'Toejam & Earl Deep Cut Prince Rip-Off Track'. 
3. He has somehow managed to make a neckbreaker into a Top Rope Elbow Drop a convincing finishing manoeuvre.

Another quick squash that did the job of establishing Dream, a persona that Clark has managed to adapt to with reasonable comfort. Action-wise, it was servicable but showed off Dream well who hopefully will continue to grow as a performer and won't just be used as a pouting joke because there's too much potential there to waste.

  • Recap IV of V: UK Title Edition. Peter gets an interview afterwards talking about how Bate had just been holding his title for him and how he told everyone he'd take it and he did. Good for him.

  • It's the final recap and yes, it's the NXT title. Afterwards, Roode and acts all smug like talking about how he's the greatest NXT champion of all time and how Itami was good but not in his league. Somewhere Neville is Geordie fuming about him basically stealing the 'not on Neville's level' bit.

McIntyre def. Blake

This was also a squash, but no quite as quick as the others. As much as this was another match about getting over how good we're meant to think McIntyre is, it did far more for me to re-consider Wesley Blake. As the guy I always thought of as the lesser half of the tandem of Blake and Murphy, with his new bluesy theme, proudly celebrating his Austin, TX background just as much as his tights and working with his new style as an old school Southern grappler, it all worked to make for a very successful re-packaging. This was a surprisingly competitive match from Blake against McIntyre but from the audience's perspective, that seemed to be a detrimental effect as at nearly 9 minutes, shortly after they came back from the ad. break (because we can't have a whole 9 minutes go by without an ad. break), the crowd had clearly lost energy as no-one expected Blake to win and the crowd were not willing to suspend their disbelief for more than a few minutes. Eventually, McIntyre would fight back to deliver his signature Claymore Yakuza Kick for the win. Still, credit to both men for actually trying to bring some energy to a throwaway match and especially to McIntyre for actually making Blake seem like a challenge even if the crowd didn't.


Solid matches but nothing exciting. You all know the post-Takeover drill by now, fill time until they can actually film something. Also don't taunt us by asking why Ciampa did what he did then give us nothing. Don't bother unless you really need to see the interviews that are probably online or you're a massive fan of re-debuts. 

ATPW Scale Rating: 3/10

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