First I would like to start off the blog by saying, even though neither man made the list, thank God for Scott Stanford and Tom Phillips. Scott returns as the voice over work for NXT and introduces the match cards for later in the evening. Any chance I get to hear that honey smooth New York accent speak to me is a chance in heaven. Next is Tom Phillips taking over for commentary instead of Tony Dawson. It’s no surprise I dislike Tony Dawson’s commentary, but as everyone always assumes it’s because he replaced Scott Stanford on Superstars I’d like to take this moment to prove them wrong, because I’m a huge fan of Phillips. Sure, when Phillips first came onto the commentary table a few months ago I had my doubts, and my rage it wasn’t Scott, but every time I heard him he grew on me a little more. This week there wasn’t a flaw where I just stopped and went, “Oh God, stop.” Instead, he and Regal had great back and forth between the two of them that enhanced the experience and told a story of what was happening in ring. In the few short times I’ve heard Phillips he’s improved immensely and I want more. I still want Dawson off of commentary until he learns some basic moves if he’s going to attempt to call them.
Commentary rant/admissions over. On to the rest of the show!
What got left off that I enjoyed in this show were a couple of interviews from Renee Young (who looks more comfortable with these each week). What got left off that I didn’t enjoy: Audrey Marie’s return. It wasn’t that I was upset to see her return, in fact her character seems to have developed and she has a new attitude that works for her. It’s that what I called weeks ago came true, Audrey Marie was the secret admirer of Sasha Banks. Where’s that NXT Redemption writer when you need someone to throw in a GOOD twist to a story? The match wasn’t bad, but was just a showcase of Audrey Marie, and unfortunately Sasha Banks is the better wrestler, so watching Banks get taken down in 2 minutes is a bit lackluster.
4. Tyson Kidd Interview
Tyson Kidd, interviewed by my earlier rantee Tony Dawson, comes out and explains what happened to him that called for surgery. We pretty much are unsure of when he will return, but he’s keeping positive. He also looks incredible and I look forward to seeing him pull out of this and come back into the ring, because he will. While he’s interviewed Leo Kruger stalks out and threatens him, but Kidd is rescued by Justin Gabriel. This is great storytelling. It keeps Kidd involved, as he should be, and doesn’t forget where he came from when he was injured. It’s recognizing Gabriel and Kidd as a team, and could still tell a story of Gabriel versus Leo Kruger. Wonderful set up and inspiring to see Tyson Kidd keep his chin up and that usual passion for his ability, and for the company, come through in his every word.
3. Bray Wyatt
The match was meh at only 1:36 and wasn’t meant to showcase talent, it was meant to say, “Hey, Wyatt’s back in action!” The match was against Yoshi Tatsu, by the way. After Wyatt won he called his family into the ring to berate them for the loss. It’s interesting to see Wyatt as a proud Papa, and an insane ruler over his two members of his family. While the slap fest that came from Harper and Rowan going at each other was almost laughable the story itself was good. Sometimes you need a story in the ring and Wyatt tells it well in just the set of his shoulders.
2. El Local vs. Xavier Woods
Wait, who is this guy? I don’t know. But Xavier Woods comes out with a smile and dances himself to the ring. Since the last time Woods had a match he has definitely improved and seems to have the charisma I was promised at the beginning of the match. (Sorry, dancing didn’t constitute charisma for me, but he kept up the smiling character through the match, which is sort of impressive). The match wasn’t excellent, but it was good, and at nearly five minutes it was given a chance to show off wrestling skills of Woods and whoever-that-is.
1. Conor O’Brian vs. Big E Langston
Okay, so in this match, for the most part, it held my interest. I can deal with two large men beating one another up. And for two large men it was pretty light on the rest holds. However, at the end it kind of ached to watch the two of them throwing punches. The height wasn’t working and was making the punches look like whiffs off of their cheeks. Granted, when you are exhausted after a match not every strike is going to hit home very strongly, but WWE isn’t about realism in the ring, if that was the case there are some submission holds that would never really be broken. O’Brian and Langston needed to make those punches hold a little more impact, but otherwise I was highly entertained by the match, and not just because of O’Brian. I enjoy both men in the ring and can’t help but want to see what happens next with them. Apparently whoever is down at NXT likes both men enough to give neither a loss this round. But Graves does come in after the double count out and take the title and run.