It’s that time again, ladies and gents! NXT airs it’s final episode from the CFE Arena tonight, and we’re in for two incredibly exciting events: Finn Balor vs. Neville and the debut of a new signing in NXT. Balor and Neville will without a doubt, be the highlight of the show, as they’ve yet to disappoint in any of their matches.
The Vaudevillians are looking to get back into the swing of things ever since hitting a downturn by losing the NXT Tag Team Championship to The Revival a few months ago. Aiden English and Simon Gotch are seemingly on a collision course with the Hype Bros after handing them their first lost as a tag team, and are looking to establish a sense of dominance and respect here against Knox and Knight. English and Gotch are brutalizing Hugo Knox in this match. There’s no other way for me to put it. Tucker Knight gets the hot tag, but is shut down immediately and nailed with a Whirling Dervish as the Vaudevillians pick up what was essentially a squash victory.
There’s no doubt that the Vaudevillians needed to really work on establishing themselves again after their face turn hit it’s apex. Did this match do that? No, not really. Building an already established team up again by using squash matches feels incredibly weird. Perhaps that’s just my take on it, but at the very least, they need to defeat some credible teams to give them that level of respect and credibility that they desire. Moving on from our opening match, Alex Reyes is backstage with Emma and Dana Brooke, talking about how Asuka dominated her opponent (Deonna Purrazzo) last week as they predicted. Emma and Dana insist that tonight, the spotlight will be back on them. It’s about what you expect from an Emma/Dana promo by now. I used to be high on the pairing, but dragging this feud with Asuka out really sours my ability to care. The Revival and Enzo and Cass cut dueling promos backstage following the parking lot brawl that the two teams had. We also find out that on the WWE Roadblock special on March 12th, we will see an NXT Tag Team Championship match between The Revival and Enzo and Cass, more than likely their send off before hitting the main roster.
I’d love to know why WWE has an alarming obsession with dubstep/electronic entrance themes for their talent. Nevertheless, Santana Garrett gets a nice reaction as she’s the hometown favorite here against Emma. The match had some great back and forth spots, which was a little bit surprising. Santana kept up well with Emma, but in the end, Emma ends up picking up the victory using the Emma Lock. Not a heck of a lot that was noteworthy in this match, but one thing we got from this match was the clear picture that Emma is ready to re-establish herself in the NXT Women’s Division as a top-tier competitor and contender.
William Regal is back in his office with Eva Marie and Nia Jax, who claim that all they’ve ever wanted is to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve as performers. Mr. Regal agrees with this notion, and signs a huge tag team match-up for the pairing: Nia Jax and Eva Marie versus Bayley and Asuka. Neither Nia or Eva look too thrilled about this bombshell, and I can’t say I’d blame them, either.
William Regal is down in the ring, touting how NXT is committed to bring in some of the most talented competitors from around the world, and proceeds to introduce the latest signing in NXT: Austin Aries. Aries comes out to a thunderous reception, and is met by the same reaction from Tom Phillips and Corey Graves, who proceed to collectively turn into teenage fan girls before our very eyes. All of the pomp and circumstance is cut short, however, by Baron Corbin. The visibly frustrated Lone Wolf of NXT manhandles Aries, throwing him into the LED board on the side of the ring and delivering an End of Days on the outside of the ring. Afterwards, he tears off Aries shirt, proclaiming to NXT’s General Manager “an eye for an eye” as he whips it straight at a clearly upset William Regal. Safe to say we already know one potential feud/match-up going into TakeOver: Dallas.
Elias Samson picks up the victory here in a squash match. Can we please get this jabroni off of weekly television?
Thought seeing Elias Samson was bad? Don’t worry, it gets worse, because Mojo Rawley is cutting a promo in which he says it’s a good thing they lost to the Vaudevillians. Mojo, brother, you must not really get how things work around here. Losing isn’t exactly a good thing. Zack and Mojo talk about not taking teams lightly anymore, I guess. I wasn’t exactly paying much attention to this. That’s the affect that Mojo Rawley coming on my television has. The Vaudevillians creepily come out from behind the set and menacingly sneer at the camera to end an awful chain promo.
WWE’s habit of hashing first names kind of irks me in this situation. We know that Adrian Neville does in fact have a first name, considering he was only the longest reigning champion in NXT history. Slashing first names makes for an awful habit that. Normally, with matches on NXT I would break down the ins and outs of what happened, but this is one match I would recommend that everyone watch versus seeing a review on it. Finn Balor, who I think phones in an incredulous amount of matches, actually had a great match with Neville. We know that Neville hasn’t lost a single step, even with him being under-utilized on not utilized at all on the main roster. Neville brings a high-octane, fast and furious style offense that Balor is able to really up his game for and compete with, something he rarely does on shows that aren’t TakeOver specials. Neville shined in this match, as did Balor, but it was nowhere near the level of their previous encounter. Balor picks up the win using Bloody Sunday, and a post match show of respect via handshake goes down between the two.
To end the show, we receive dueling promos from Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe, who go head to head next week in a two out of three falls match to once and for all determine Finn Balor’s next challenger for his NXT Championship. The pacing of this show definitely felt better than the past few episodes of NXT, with more important and landmark matches, events, and more occurring on this episode. With just a few short weeks left until TakeOver: Dallas, time is precious, and NXT can ill afford wasted motion on trying to build up feuds.