NXT is finding a stride, and while it’s still not quite there it seems to be hitting closer to the right notes. Not making the list this week is ring announcer Chris Russo (more of him please?), an Antonio Cesaro vs. Alex Riley match, and the Big E Langston promo part 2 (nice!).
Because I want to rant a bit, they need to make up their minds about these tapings. The revolving door of commentators throughout the show is a little jarring. It’s like watching Superstars and switching from Striker to Stanford. Just cut out Josh Mathews.
4. Ascension vs. Garrett Dylan & Dante Dash
Hello Ascension entrance, hello girls drooling, hello men embracing the darkness, hello match that didn’t get enough time. Once again, I love Ascension. The atmosphere when they walk in is electrifying and spine tingling and all of the things it should be. I’m not even there and I am on the edge of my seat when they step out into the ring. So why do they continue to insist on giving them short matches? Hi Garrett! I like Dylan and Dash, they are good workers who might have a ways to go yet but still deserve for the audience to get to know them. This by no means is a squash match and Cameron and O’Brian, your Ascension duo, do a lot of in-ring psychology along with their moves that work perfectly for them. I won’t take that away, which is why I want more.
3. Bo Dallas & Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis & Michael McGillicutty
At this point my match listing is a bit arbitrary. I liked all four of the matches, and almost equally for 1-3. So why the order that they were in? Derrick lost! How dare Derrick get pinned? Saxton coins McGillicutty and Curtis together as “Aggressively Weird” and it works, almost as well as McGillicutty and Curtis do. Dallas managed not to annoy the Hell out of me during this match, but again, the absence of the spear might have a lot to do with that. Dallas also didn’t need to sell bumps to an extreme level and instead seemed to key back some of it, which was enough. It’s what was needed. Bateman still seems to have a confused look on his face every time he is on NXT, this time when looking at the titantron that was playing Dallas’s entrance. All around, all four men had a chance to show what they are made up, just more so to the Aggressively Weird team.
2. Natalya vs. Sofia Cortez
Yes! More of this for the divas. It was no super long, and ended with Natalya disqualifying herself by refusing to go back into the ring, but it told a story and was a fast-paced match that showed off the skills of the two women. I’m still not sure about Natalya’s, “I hate you,” taunts to her opponents, I’m hoping to get a story of this at some point to understand where her anger is coming from, but it works into her matches and her aggression. Sofia, for such a short woman, has a strong resolve and understanding of her strengths and weaknesses and caters to her strengths. I’m anxious to see where they take this story.
1. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
Earlier in the evening Matt Striker interviews Drew McIntyre and Drew says he’s tired of hearing everyone talking and he’s not going to do the same and just talk. He’ll show what he can do in the ring. As the main event in the evening he gets to show it off against Seth Rollins. It’s a great match, but as I said last week, McIntyre can’t be in a bad match when he isn’t being squashed for no reason.