And yet it wasn't a bad show. If an episode of RAW or IMPACT or ROH on SBG was as uneventful it would be rightly lambasted (by me, anyway). Somehow NXT can pull off the occasional dud. I think it has something to do with the show's low key charm and style. The lack of perfection is one of its selling points: most of the people involved in creating it are learning their crafts.
There were three matches on the programme. The opening bout was a lengthy match between South Africans Leo Kruger and Justin Gabriel. To give you an idea of how exciting it was the highlight of the first half of the match was watching Gabriel's absurd and constant posing. That it was structured around a headlock for most of its run time should give you an idea of the thrill levels that were reached.
It did end with a nice 450 splash though. That's always nice to see.
Match two was Aksana v Emma. Antonio's ex did her usual sultry routine before the match. She stopped being sultry as soon as she was required to wrestle. Emma's gimmick seems to be that she's a drunk chick from a nightclub. I'm interested to see what layers are forced on such a clearly one dimensional character before someone realises it’s a stupid idea and changes what she’s doing.
The main event was supposed to be Conor O'Brian v Bo Dallas v Corey Graves in a three-way number one contenders match. That didn't happen and instead we were given a singles match between two bad guys in Graves and O'Brian. Dallas didn't even get to do the last minute babyface return shtick.
The action was proficient but the crowd's lack of enthusiasm and the fact that neither man took the initiative and subtly played face made it difficult to get into. 'The Ascension' looked okay. Graves looked better. He has more of an idea of how to show that he's got a character than the Conan tribute act does.
He's a one man tag team
There was no winner. Instead The Shield appeared to give both men a kicking. The commentary team, who had been firmly stuck on Generic Mode until this point, helpfully explained that the riot gear lovers were interfering because Rollins doesn't want anyone but him to be the NXT champ. The gang then cut a promo telling everyone to believe in them and then left.
Had that run-in not closed things it's possible I'd have a far more negative opinion of the show. As it is the ending ensured that something memorable happened, which could lead to some meaty storylines developments in the near future. NXT saved itself by the skin of its teeth this week. But I want Ohno and Big E next week.
Bo Dallas and Dusty Rhodes chat backstage, Corey Graves showing up to return the title belt
Tweet 1: NXTweet.Tweet 2: Bo and Dusty. Strongest opening shot possible.
Tweet 3: Did someone whittle Dusty out of an old potato?
Tweet 4: Bo seems happy about having been chewed up and spat out by the main roster. Shouldn't he be moping about, depressed at his demotion?
Justin Gabriel v Leo Kruger
Tweet 5: It's the much anticipated War of South Africa. Leo 'Potent Secret' Kruger v Justin 'Big Hair is Better' Gabriel.Tweet 6: Justin Gabriel has quite a camp wrestling style. I've never noticed that before.
Tweet 7: Headlocks are prominent.
Tweet 8: So far this match has been all posing and headlocks. Kruger's not even getting in on the posing...
Tweet 9: Armbar takedown, Jarrett style! Kruger needs to start spelling out his name like Jarrett used to.
Tweet 10: Kruger should, in fact, be repackaged as a Jeff Jarrett tribute act.
Tweet 11: If this match had been my first introduction to wrestling I doubt I'd have stuck at being a fan.
Tweet 12: I'd probably have ended up blogging about F1 or something instead...
Tweet 13: "This is main event type intensity" - Tony Dawson on the most average match you'll ever see
Tweet 14: Gabriel wins. I miss the Nexus.
Tweet 15: "This was a character-driven triumph" - Tony Dawson on a wrestling match
Tweet 16: Outdoor shot of the NXT Arena. Surprisingly busy considering the show's already in progress.
Aksana v Emma
Tweet 17: And here's Aksana. I'm prepared for a five star classic.Tweet 18: Is Emma drunk? Not even Scott Hall has had a ring entrance THIS bad.
Tweet 19: I didn't think this show could get lower than the last match.
Tweet 20: Do you want to know what would save this match? Mae Young.
Tweet 21: Emma's locked in the kravat! Ring the bell! It's over!!
Tweet 22: Someone's been training with Arn.
Backstage in a hallway…
Tweet 23: Oh no, Bo Dallas has been murdered! Someone call Jessica Fletcher!
Corey Graves v Conor O’Brian
Tweet 24: What's Corey got written on his knuckles? I couldn't make it out. I'll just assume it's "stay hard" until I hear otherwise.Tweet 25: Stay down. I was close. And mine's funnier.
Tweet 26: Remember when ROH had a trophy for their number one contenders? Great days.
Tweet 27: I like the way Graves stole the championship and then gave it back a week later. He's a polite lad deep down.
Tweet 28: I wonder where Corey gets his jeans from. What's the US equivalent of Topman?
Tweet 29: Lights out! It's the Undertaker's return!!
Tweet 30: Oh. No. It's just The Shield.
Tweet 31: The crowd are chanting "Shield." I'd prefer "We believe, we believe!" But that's me.
Tweet 32: And here's Dean Ambrose, doing an impression of Sting doing an impression of the Joker.
Tweet 33: Mishmash of a show.
Tweet 34: The show goes off the air with Graves and O'Brian lollygagging at ringside.