This week in WWE for NXT 8/3/2016, there’s a ton to talk about! Read what I think about Hideo Itami’s return, the interesting feud between Asuka and Bayley, the fantastic tag-team division in NXT, and the debut of Bobby Roode!
Hideo Itami broke into NXT around the same time as Finn Balor and both had a tremendous amount of hype. Hideo started getting some momentum behind him and then all of a sudden, he got injured. Hideo ended up being out for over a year which is usually the death knell for WWE Superstars, but he made his return on last night’s edition of NXT. He was embraced by the crowd like he never left like I thought he would be. If you’re a big enough star, the crowd doesn’t forget you. Itami had a great opponent in Cruiserweight Classic competitor, Sean Maluta. Maluta really impressed me in this match even with the losing effort. Both men managed to get some offense in and look strong. I’m interested to see where Hideo goes from here, I would have liked to see a program started with him being attacked or something. I think that question will be answered sooner than later though.
This feud has me pulled in and I don’t really know why. Asuka has such an aura to her and exudes confidence in everything she does. On the other hand, you have Bayley who is equally as confident and never backs down from a challenge. It’s a nice change to have a high-profile women’s feud between two fan-favourites. Asuka ended up destroying Aliyah who is still relatively new and learning. The match was a squash and it was good to get Aliyah some TV time in the middle of this feud. Regardless of that, Asuka made a statement to Bayley who was out at ringside and Bayley made the save for Aliyah.
The contract-signing for the NXT Women’s Title match at Takeover will be next week on NXT and should be a fairly volatile affair. I’m hoping Asuka retains the title paving the way for Bayley to be called up to the main roster. Bayley has done it all in NXT and I think everyone is ready for her to get her chance on Raw or SmackDown. I would also be happy if Bayley won the title back and then lost it back at the next Takeover. I think that would create some unpredictability in NXT, but it might not be what’s best for the title. We’ll see how things go.
Bayley is NXT
I love Bayley so it’s hard to not want her to take back the championship and carry NXT once again. In many ways, Bayley is the heart and soul of NXT and when she does leave, it will be a huge hole to fill. There isn’t a woman or man out there that I’ve seen connect with fans the way she does. It’s an energy, it’s special and that’s something you can’t replace. Bayley worked her way up through the ranks in NXT and became a character that resonates with everyone. It’s easy to see that that character is a lot like the person. The best characters on TV always are. Just go back to Takeover: Dallas when she lost the title, it felt like we all lost. I liken this feeling to that of Daniel Bryan who was another person no one could hate. When he won at Wrestlemania 30, it felt like we all did.. Bayley has that type of importance to NXT, she has been the person that gives everyone hope that, no matter the obstacle, you can do anything. Bayley is NXT. I’ll certainly write more about her in a stand-alone article in the coming days.
The Debut of Bobby Roode
Finally! Can I say it again? Finally!!! Bobby Roode made his debut to NXT tonight (with possibly the greatest theme song ever). It made me wonder though, what happened to Eric Young? Who knows, but let’s talk about Bobby. Roode started his promo acting like he was so happy to be in NXT and that he was there for the fans before doing a complete 180 and telling everyone that he wants Presidents and CEOs to fill the seats in NXT and not the people “with oversized t-shirts”. This promo was classic and I liken this character to the Robert Roode character in TNA when he was with Ms. Brooks. I think Roode is going to be a big star in NXT and if I could put my money on it, I’d bet he won’t be there more than 6 months to a year. I’m really excited to see his in-ring debut which I’m betting will be at Takeover. The lists of possible opponents is endless, he is certainly one of the best NXT signings yet.
Samoa Joe ended up breaking up a match between Chris Atkins and Mojo Rawley because…well because he’s the champion and he does what he wants. The idea is that he’s mad at William Regal and Shinsuke Nakamura for having to defend his title at Takeover. Joe choked out Mojo and left him lying on the ramp. I like the intensity and relentless attitude of Joe, what I don’t like is the cowardice which seems to be a trend with WWE heels. Not every heel has to be cowardly and not want to defend the title. Joe has always been a guy who takes care of business, heel or face, and now we’re seeing that fear or defending the title against Nakamura. Granted, Joe is still destroying people all over so it’s not a big difference and we’re seeing a bit of a different side of him. I guess I appreciate the story aspect of it, but I feel it makes him look weaker than he should look. That being said, I love what Joe has done in NXT and I hope the end isn’t quite near for him yet.
We got a promo for Ember Moon’s NXT TV debut at Takeover on August 20th. It looks like the former Athena will be getting a big debut push at one of NXT’s biggest shows of the year. I’ve never seen her before, so I’m pretty excited to see what she can do!
The Tag-Team Division
Is there a better tag-team division in all of wrestling than in NXT? I don’t think so. NXT keeps churning our unique teams with many different styles. Last night we had TM61, The Revival, and Gargano and Ciampa all featured prominently. I’ve already spoken about how great I think TM61 are and they’ll be a future team to watch, but Gargano and Ciampa are just as good. The whole story revolved around The Revival claiming to be the greatest team on the planet, but trying to get out of defending their titles by saying they’ve beaten everyone. TM61 ended up facing them in a non-title match in a losing effort which prompted Gargano and Ciampa to come out and make their case. Gargano ended up listing Pikachu and Charmander as a tag-team The Revival has defeated prompting the crowd to chant, “Pokémon, Pokémon”. The thing I realized with all of this is, I don’t care who holds the titles. It doesn’t even matter. All of these teams are so good with their promos and in-ring work that any segment between any of these teams is going to be great. Add in The Authors of Pain and this division is getting very interesting. I love that NXT is a breeding ground for true tag-team wrestling and that it’s translating to WWE now. I would love to see a 3-team ladder match or something like that at Takeover for the NXT Tag Titles, all these teams deserve to be showcased.
One hour a week almost isn’t enough for NXT. I enjoy watching this show more than any other WWE produced program. There’s just something different about NXT. You don’t get the same stars every week, you get new characters introduced all the time while former stars pop up here and there. Even as a taped show, I avoid the spoilers to watch it every week and legitimately enjoy the entire show. With only 2 more weeks until Takeover, things are certain to get kicked up a notch starting with next week’s show!