This review isn’t a general review on the actual matches. It’s a house show so the matches don’t really mean anything as many pro wrestling fans understand. Despite this it was hands down the best atmosphere at a pro wrestling event I’ve been at. It didn’t feel like ‘sports entertainment’. It had that ‘us against them’ atmosphere, the type of atmosphere that made ECW so popular in the 90’s and the reason ICW is growing in the UK.
On a talent standpoint the show was quality. It’s what you come to expect from WWE. Considering it was the so-called ‘development roster’, I only picked up on two botches, one being pretty obvious by Chester’s Hugo Knox in the opening match. All in all however the standard of wrestling was excellent.
The tag team of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable got the crowd going early on, not that it needed much encouragement. They faced a new tag team that I honestly can’t remember a name of. So new they aren’t actually listed on the WWE NXT’s online roster. The only criticism I have of the evening is the lower budget production of NXT was arguably showed at times, on this occasion by the ring announcer as I couldn’t understand a word the girl was saying!
Nevertheless the American Alpha match was a solid competitive match and it finished with a good promo with the current tag team champions the revival. I then decided to be a five-year old and hi five the wrestlers. The child in me definitely came out last night!
Bobby Roode made his third appearance on NXT as he faced off against No Way Jose. The match was fun, really good entertainment. The match wasn’t too serious but the crowd were entertained and that’s what they pay their money for so I was happy with it. Roode looked everything that pro wrestling fans crack him up to be. Entertaining and marvelous in the ring. Future NXT Champion and Raw/Smackdown superstar? Definitely.
The new era of WWE was on show in the evenings next contest. A tag team between two heels, one an ex ICW star against Carmella and Bayley. It shows how the Women’s division has changed as I think Bayley got the biggest pop of the night. The match was solid too, good quality. Quality that has lacked from WWE Women’s matches for years until recently. I assume Bayley will be called up during the Raw/Smackdown draft as he is so over with the fans it would be silly not too.
Andrade Almas repeated the perfect ten Tye Dillinger in a similar match to theirs at takeover. Dillinger cut a quality heel promo involving a Man United shirt, which he eventually stood on in a fun spot. ‘Cien’ Almas showed why he was such a hit in Mexico and definitely has potential to be a top star in the WWE. Dillinger has to be one of the most over ‘jobbers’ in recent times. He hides the fact he’s a jobber well and produces good quality matches. Hopefully he has a future in WWE.
After a solid triple threat match for the Women’s title involving Asuka, Nia Jaxx and Alexa Bliss which saw Asuka retain and look strong the main event was next which saw Ireland’s Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura face Austin Aries and Samoa Joe. Essentially it was Japan vs the indy’s in a match I never thought I’d see in WWE, house show or televised show.
Nakamura is the real deal, his entrance alone was like nothing I’ve ever seen. Balor is unbelievably over too. Maybe it’s down to the NXT fans having previous knowledge of him in Japan, or he has got himself over. I don’t know but whatever conclusion you draw from it, he’s doing something right. Aries and Joe were over as too which in my opinion show’s how good they are as heels. For me a heel has to be liked for being the bad guy to be a heel, not irritating. The Miz irritates me, there’s nothing unique or entertaining about his character. Joe and Aries can wrestle, they are quality on the mic; their persona and character is spot on. That’s what makes them good heels.
The match itself was entertaining with good back and forth action. Nakamura finished the match delivering his signiture ‘Kinshasa’ to Austin Aries. Joe looked strong throughout and so did Aries to be honest. I’m a little disappointed it’s took Aries this long to get to WWE. He had a good run in TNA but he reminds me so much of CM Punk in character. That type of character has been missing in WWE since Punk departed.
Balor cut a ‘shoot’ promo after the match thanking Liverpool’s Robbie Brookside for all his hard work at the WWE Performance Centre in Orlando in a tribute that was well received by the crowd. Watching Nakamura live is an experience in itself, something I’d recommend to anyone who is a fan of actual pro wrestling.
My go home thoughts were – that was a better event than seeing Raw and Smackdown in the Echo Arena four years ago. The place was mostly sold out. Many of you reading this post will know my love for boxing is well-known; however it still confuses me how WWE’s so-called development roster sells out the Echo Arena and big World title fights don’t. Maybe those at the hierarchy of boxing should invest some money into similar marketing (hype) ploys that the WWE use. That way the promoters may not have to force fighters into selling tickets, which is a job all of its own! Despite that being obvious some people will never listen so it’s probably not worth me writing anymore about it as I could go on all day. Muhammad Ali openly told people he used the wrestler Gorgeous George’s material when hyping fights. How many better self promoters have there been since Ali? Not many if any! My lasting comment on that topic is how many businessmen made money without investing? Not many I imagine but apparently boxing promoters no better. And that’s why the sport won’t grow like it should. Far too much greed in it. Rant over.
Back to the wrestling – I’ll definitely be present at the next NXT events and couldn’t recommend it more. If you love pro wrestling or ‘sports entertainment’ go to one. It was a great experience and one I’ll hope to repeat again. On that note I start a role writing wrestling for a British Independent Promotion this evening, a project I’m really looking forward too! Who know’s what it will lead too!