The opening bout pitted former Nexus pals Michael McGillicutty and Justin Gabriel against one another. Considering both men have worked on the main roster before I thought this match would be better. I thought it would be quicker too, as Gabriel is pushed as a high-flyer. By NXT standards it wasn’t anything special. It was still better than the average RAW or SmackDown bout though.
I thought Gabriel was the natural choice to go over as he’s the (slightly) bigger star and his win would have received a nice pop. Instead it was McGillicutty advancing. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter which of them wins, and at least this way Hennig junior can grab some more screen time.
The NXT belt is by no means aesthetically pleasing
The main event saw Jinder Mahal emerge victorious over Bo Dallas. Unlike McGillicutty, Mahal doesn’t need any more TV time. He went over because he’s been built up as a top heel on the show, thanks in part to his camel clutch finisher. Dallas could have done with the win but at least his loss had a reason to it.
This is why NXT is WWE’s most well-booked show: every win and loss happens for a reason and everything is followed up on. It may be basic but you know nothing is going to be left unaddressed.
Sandwiched between those two tournament matches were a Divas tag battle and CJ Parker v Kassius Ohno. The tag match went longer than most women’s outings on WWE programming and was technically sound. More could have been done to engage the fans but that’s the purpose of NXT: to help wrestlers pick these things up.
Ohno’s match was predictably enjoyable. It was a glorified squash but his charisma, move set and intensity made him seem so much more. That he was facing a Carlito lookalike didn’t hurt either.
All in all this was another fine hour (well, forty minutes on YouTube) of wrestling that should satisfy most fans. Once again it provided more satisfying action than either RAW or SmackDown. If you’ve not watched it you’re missing out.
Michael McGillicutty v Justin Gabriel
Tweet 1: NXTweet.
Tweet 2: Michael McGillicutty v Justin Gabriel in a first round NXT title tournament match. Kicking things off BIG, eh?
Tweet 3: What's going on with Gabriel's hair? Whatever it is it doesn't matter because Regal once wrestled his father.
Tweet 4: "Gabriel quicker than a hiccup here tonight" - Jim Ross, dusting off an ancient catchphrase
Tweet 5: Triple H is apparently a big fan of McGillicutty. Not sure if I believe that. If 'The Game' likes him why isn't he on RAW?
Tweet 6: Less than five minutes in and there's a break. Hmmm...
Tweet 7: We're getting a lot of rest holds here. That's usual for RAW but out of place on NXT.
Tweet 8: Gabriel's doing some fancy kicks. No spinning heel kicks though. They were big ten years ago. No one does them now.
Tweet 9: McGillicutty hitting the Perfectplex was nice. That should be his finish.
Tweet 10: Lovely top rope springboard moonsault there from 'The Werewolf of Cape Town.' #stupidwrestlingmonikers
Tweet 11: McGillicutty goes over with an anti-climactic (and sloppy) swinging neck breaker. I'd have rather seen Gabriel win.
CJ Parker v Kassius Ohno
Tweet 12: It's Kassius... OH NO!
Tweet 13: Ohno is showing a turnbuckle who's boss. Good for him.
Tweet 14: Hey, Carlito's back!
Tweet 15: ... Oh wait. It's just CJ Parker.
Tweet 16: Part of the reason I like NXT is that they acknowledge wrestlers working overseas. Doesn't happen anywhere near enough on RAW and SmackDown.
Tweet 17: Knee pads come down. That means Parker means business. Ohno's boot meant more business though...
Tweet 18: Ohno wins via rolling elbow. Good. I want him to win the NXT title at some point.
Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton backstage with Briley Pierce
Tweet 19: Recap of that tag team upset from last week there. This is nice too. An upset is actually being followed up on.
Tweet 20: Briley Pierce interviewing the upset kids. He looks familiar... #Dolphsbrother
Tweet 21: "Those guys are on SmackDown!"
Tweet 22: Vignette for The Acension. The booking team knows they've already been on TV, right?
Tweet 23: NXT has so many teams WWE should consider moving the tag team titles to the show. They'd mean more there.
Caylee Turner and Kaitlyn v Paige and Tamina Snuka
Tweet 24: Tamina Snuka and Paige v Caylee Turner and Kaitlyn. I am a big Kaitlyn fan. She's tremendous.
Tweet 25: Kaitlyn's been on the roster for two years but her entrance video still features clips of her doing the robot with Striker.
Tweet 26: "You could say that Kaitlyn has walnut-crushing thighs" - William Regal
Tweet 27: Who is the face? Who is the heel? Who must I cheer?!
Tweet 28: Paige tags in and the fans start chanting her name. No idea why she's so over but it's encouraging to hear.
Hey, when you're reviewing a show WWE barely acknowledge on their website you take what photos you can get, okay?
Tweet 29: Caylee Turner is dressed like a cross between a pirate and a giraffe.
Tweet 30: That should be her gimmick: believing herself to be both a pirate and a giraffe. Main roster material.
Tweet 31: It'd be a good moniker too. 'Giraffe Pirate' Caylee Turner! It's got "Divas champion" written all over it.
Tweet 32: "Look at that!" - Byron Saxton as the two legal women in a tag match lay on the mat selling
Tweet 33: Confusing finishing sequence. Kaitlyn tugs Tamina to the outside, which is heelish, then Paige rolls up Caylee for the win.
Tweet 34: Instead of getting angry Kaitlyn helps her partner to the back, a face move. Tamina then gets into the ring and starts screaming at Kaitlyn.
Tweet 35: Tamina looks more of a heel but was clearly intended to be the face. This clearly demonstrates NXT is not the place for face v face action.
Bo Dallas and Derrick Bateman in a corridor
Tweet 36: Never mind that, let's watch Bo Dallas skipping backstage!
Tweet 37: Derrick Bateman seems to be jealous of Dallas's spot in the tournament. Is a heel turn imminent?
Tweet 38: He paused in the corridor to stare at Dallas. Yep, definitely a turn on the horizon.
Jinder Mahal v Bo Dallas
Tweet 39: Bo Dallas versus ratings magnet Jinder Mahal. This should be GOLD.
Tweet 40: JINDER MAHAL'S PERSPEX BOX!!
Tweet 41: Regal has talked about knowing various wrestler's parents during three of the four matches on this show.
Tweet 42: I appreciate he's telling the truth but less is more and all that.
Tweet 43: "I can see in the future both these men being WWE champion" - Jim Ross with an absolutely absurd statement
Tweet 44: The crowd is practically silent. Considering he has been on the main roster and got called up earlier I blame this on Jinder.
Tweet 45: Perspex Box update: it has been removed form ringside.
Tweet 46: We come back from a break to find JR halfway through explaining Dallas's wrestling heritage. Maybe save it for the audience, Jim?
Tweet 47: WWE should give Jinder Mahal the old FBI gimmick. Keep the Perspex box though.
Tweet 48: Hindu wrestlers have apparently been doing squats, "Hindu pushups" and club swinging (not club singing) for 2000 years. #classicRegal
Tweet 49: When he's given time Mahal can put together a good match. He's wasted in those two minute bouts on SmackDown.
Tweet 50: "We have seen some amazing matches in this tournament" - Jim Ross with a gross exaggeration
Tweet 51: CAMEL CLUTCH! Call it ref, it's over!!
Tweet 52: Dallas tapped out to the devastating submission hold that is the camel clutch. Smart lad. That's a career-ender.
Tweet 53: Mahal is very pleased with his win. He wants that NXT belt. The show ends with him pointing at himself while standing on the ring apron.