WWE NXT for January 18, 2017
Watch: WWE Network
Full Sail University – Orlando, Florida
Speaking of weekly shows, I reviewed 205 Live this week. NXT’s latest iteration sees the TakeOver: San Antonio contract signing between Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, plus more. Let’s dig into it.
Nikki Cross (w/Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe) def. Kennedy Lewis
Really quick match. Cross was let loose, magnifying the damage carried over from last week. She’s being positioned as the “person most likely to cause damage to Asuka” which is the best route to take, duh. Kennedy at least was better than Thunderkitty, who dropped the ball below the ground on SmackDown Live two weeks back. The short stint consisted of Cross jumping over Lewis in many ways, Thesz press, ground and pound, etc. Lewis had nowhere to run, being hit with the spinning neckbreaker for the SanitY morale victory a week away from TakeOver: San Antonio.
No Way Jose was interviewed backstage. It’s going to be a fiesta everywhere in the new year. 100% No Way Jose, until the Hawaiian Rock clone guy interrupted. Reeves thought him and Jose were friends, but back at Toronto things broke apart. “You can meet me in the ring, and we can either have fun, or fight.” Keeping it simple like some type of 80’s promo.
Reminder that Ghosts’ ‘Square Hammer’ is the official theme of TakeOver, and that gets me extra hype for a questionable card.
The Revival were interviewed backstage. They made a fair claim, saying their 2016 was the best year for a tag team ever. They should be added into the NXT Tag title match at TakeOver. TM61 quickly sputtered about Dash and Dawson only to be back-talked, being called the bottom feeders of NXT. They’re going to cripple TM61 tonight. R.I.P. to this program, because of the injury issue in TM61. At least we get to see the taped start, of what could have been? Of what will be if The Revival aren’t called up anytime soon, because they’re in the second tier of guys coming up soon? Sure!
Roderick Strong def. Steve Cutler
Roderick has a new theme! It’s less hardcore but still has those beautiful riff tones. Sounds more CFO$. This was a fun competitive match. Cutler has a tremendous look, and is showing early on that he has some tools built to succeed. Not only is he a former Marine Corp, but he jogs after being chopped to sell the damage! He held his own against Roderick, as there was a fine balance of offense between the two. Strong had to work from behind in a way, catching up, only to completely takeover the match and ensue damage. Strong hit the Olympic Slam, continuing the barrage of offense with an ode to Almas’ revolving elbows, also hitting the corner knee lift, then the buster/Sick Kick combo for the victory. Love the combo offense from Roddy always. I know no one, especially Steve Cutler, is going to kick out.
Post-match, Roderick doesn’t care what Almas says. He has his mind set on one thing: the NXT Championship.
MORE interviews already, like, within 20 minutes. Ember Moon this time. Her role in the division was questioned. As she was on a spirited rant about her role, when Liv Morgan interrupted. Morgan’s expressions were really good and whoever wrote her promo did better than…expected? Liv challenged Moon to a scrap~! After Liv is eclipsed, Moon is chasing the NXT Women’s Championship. Little things like Liv hanging out her hand and making a little giggle are the little things that formulate a deeper character.
Tye Dillinger was out to address “what’s next”. It really feels like he should be called up by now. It’s only been 11 years plus and all. “Royal Rumble” and “Number 10” chants broke out. The entire segment was rushed and veered off into tropes with this type of “sad, I’m a loser” stuff. The crowd loves Tye so it worked. As he was in the middle of firing himself back up, reiterating that everyone has his back, though he can only let down the same people so many times after 15 years–Eric Young and SanitY were back again. This took the segment to another level. At first, Tye threw away the jacket offered to him by Wolfe, but eventually Young got into the ring to give it a second chance. Or so we thought. Tye took the jacket again and threw it down, showing 10’s to Young. He proceeded to run wild on SanitY, only until Big Damo speared Tye as he had Young on his shoulders, proceeding to officially take Tye’s “original” placing in the group. It was a great combo of uncertainty and mind-games, also providing a conclusion to the Damo lurking in the shadows story. Another Canadian vs. Canadian feud was sparked. Also SanitY. It has legs to it.
TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
It hit its goal on the spot. This suffers from “well, that sucks, because it’s not getting big build or payoff” because of TM61’s injury situation. 80% of the match saw Revival intelligently work over Thorne after a chop block. Miller got the hot tag and started to run wild. Before I knew it I saw Wilder being held down at the legs as Miller rolled-up Dawson for the shock pinfall victory. Revival destroyed TM61 after the match, focused on Thorne, dismantling his leg/knee to the point where he’s going to be out for the extended amount of time in storyline as well. Not sure if having TM61 go over was beneficial to them being gone for a while, while at the same time Revival will be in full form ready for whatever is coming their way. If it’s for a future reference in the program when TM61 is back, that’s smart. This felt fairly rushed, good for what it was.
Ember Moon vs. Liv Morgan is official for next week.
The last segment on the show was the contract signing for Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode at TakeOver: San Antonio. The whole card is set, and if you’re reading this on the weekend, our preview should be out soon. If you’re reading at a later time, I’ll link it here. It’s funny how we go from one of the best WWE produced contract signings this decade with Joe vs. Shinsuke, to this pile of nonsense. It was about as phoned in as the match may be, as much as I’m still looking forward to some aspects of it. It was all Roode blabbering about Japan being a talent less pit, how he never cared for Nakamura even when they crossed paths. It was all forgetful as soon as he put the mic down. Instead of something cool as hell like Joe having his own section on the stage with security to mock Regal, we had both in the ring yammering back and forth as Regal did nothing. It was all phoned in talk hype with nothing unique. The best part of it was when Nakamura called Roode a Japanese dog. Nakamura mocked Roode’s ‘Glorious’ taunt and the two had a stare down. It was so hard to care. That caps off a thrilling episode this week…not.
WWE NXT (JANUARY 18, 2017)
Sub Par - 4/10
NXT was rough this week. Aside a super good segment between SanitY and Tye Dillinger and Steve Cutler jogging after being chopped; you can throw this in the meandering pile. It's more build towards TakeOver: San Antonio, as NXT is clutching onto its NXT:TNA tones while doing fine with Performance Center talent. It's so hard to identify why NXT goes on hot and cold streaks. You don't need to watch this episode in order to understand the PPV coming up. There's the lowest expectations for a TakeOver in a long time. At least we have some shining lights attached to the brand as usual. I'm looking at you, well done storyline development without Ryan Ward, Strong, Almas, Cross, Revival, DIY, and others. Let's take a collective sigh and dive into Rumble weekend. I'm unsure if NXT will be a standout highlight this time around.