It’s been a big week for NXT. No titles changed hands at TakeOver Orlando, but all new championship belts were unveiled. Very shiny, not much else to say really. Aleister Black had a great debut against Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas The Revival have been called up to RAW. Tye Dillinger and Shinsuke Nakamura have been called to the SmackDown roster. But that could all change next week as a Superstar shake-up has been called for Monday night RAW. It’s likely that there will be more call-ups in the reshuffle, which should also mean new debuts for NXT. Drew McIntyre (Galloway) has already been announced as new signing. Expect to see the already called up to be wrapping their storylines and saying goodbye in the next few episodes.
Peyton Royce def Aliyah
Heavy Machinery def The Bollywood Boyz
Oney Lorcan def El Vagabundo
The show kicked off with a beautiful video summary package for TakeOver Orlando, and the announcement of two matches. Heavy Machinery will take on The Bollywood Boyz, and Oney Lorcan versus an unnamed opponent.
Peyton Royce vs Aliyah
The ‘mean girls’ gimmick is starting to wear thin for me with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, as in the interference in each other’s matches. I’m guessing they’ll be split up sooner or later, I’m hoping for sooner. After all, good friends make better enemies. But, for tonight, they were a united front while Peyton Royce took on Aliyah.
Kay made her presence felt during Aliyah’s period of dominance, at the beginning of the match. She was holding hands with Royce, giving her a little pep talk, and she got her hand stamped on for her trouble.
It was a short, but entertaining, opening match, with both women looking to prove they have something to offer the NXT women’s division going forward. Aliyah appears to have changed character again, last time I saw her she was all in black and had a feline vibe. I’ve never had a problem with her work in-ring, but she doesn’t seem to have a character consistent enough to invest in.
The bridging fisherman’s suplex finisher from Peyton Royce kept Aliyah down for the three count, to end the match.
The first TakeOver match recap followed. SAnitY vs Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, Ruby Riot and, late replacement, Kassius Ohno. Surprisingly no interviews, or additional information, after this one.
Post TakeOver match interview with Asuka. Short and sweet as ever. After the congratulations, she was asked who’s next for Asuka. She responded, ‘Who’s next? I’m still champion’.
The next video package for Aleister Black vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas. It was a great match, and I will be forever grateful that it looks like the transition from Tommy End to Aleister Black hasn’t ruined the character. At the end of the package an Instagram post from Almas showed him partying after his defeat. His win/loss record was brought up, and his commitment to NXT was called into question by commentary.
Heavy Machinery vs The Bollywood Boyz
Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic are entertaining to watch. The Bollywood Boyz are great too, but Heavy Machinery are just fun.
Obviously, they’re a big lads team, and their moves reflect that, but there is humour in there too. The chest bump with their opponent in between them particularly made me chuckle. They look to be more nimble big lads as well, I can’t wait to see them against similarly sized opponents.
I’m not sure what to call the finishing manoeuvre. Basically, they squished a Bollywood boy.
Backstage, Oney Lorcan said he didn’t know who his opponent for the night would be, and it didn’t matter. He’s here to compete, do his job, and win.
The recap of the tag team title match from TakeOver was followed by an interview with Paul Ellering, on behalf of Authors of Pain. He said that the result was both vindication and confirmation of the evolution of Authors of Pain. Instead of one team they put two in front of them, and Authors of Pain proved themselves. You can’t stop destiny because they’re going to be a dynasty.
Video package for the NXT Championship match next, including a different perspective view of both entrances, and highlights of the match. I wasn’t a fan of this match the first time around. I thought the pacing killed the crowd, and it was a slightly dull end to an otherwise great TakeOver. The package finished with a tribute to Nakamura’s time on NXT, and a backstage interview with Roode. He said he did what he said he’d do. For the last year he’s taken NXT to new levels and greater heights. And it’s going to continue for weeks and months (really?). It’s going to be a Glorious ride and it’s Bobby Roode’s NXT.
Drew McIntyre, NXT’s newest resign, was interviewed. He said that over the last few years he’s travelled the world winning championships, grown brands and become a bit of a franchise player. The next logical step was to come to NXT and win the NXT Championship, so he signed. It was confirmed that he will debut next week. Nice and quick then, no messing.
Oney Lorcan vs El Vagabundo
Just when we though Elias Samson was gone from NXT, courtesy of Kassius Ohno and a loser leaves NXT match, he’s back – with a mask on. Same ring gear, same guitar gimmick and bad singing, even the same last line of the song – what it needs is what I am.
Oney Lorcan called him out immediately, the mask was fooling no-one and wasn’t supposed to. After a brief exchange of words, El Vagabundo threw the first blow, and the match got going.
Lorcan is great. I hope he’s given enough character development to allow people to invest, he deserves it. Considering the match wasn’t the point of the segment, it was fun to watch. The mask of El Vagabundo was dislodged, revealing Elias Samson, and the distraction gave Lorcan the opportunity to get the win.
The show closed out with Samson being forcibly escorted from the arena by a single security woman.
Well, that hour went fast. As expected it wasn’t the most exciting of episodes, with most of it being recaps of NXT TakeOver Orlando, but it was functional and fine.
Drew McIntyre debuting (returning) next week is fast, but not surprising considering the call-ups which have already happened, and the likely extra call-ups in next week’s Superstar shake up. I’d be surprised if he’s the only debut in the next couple of episodes.
It feels a little like NXT has barely recovered from the last talent transfer to the main roster. But that is NXT’s function in WWE, and it will be interesting to see how the landscape looks when everything settles down. I anticipate an exciting few months ahead for the brand.