This week in NXT (10/26/2016), Asuka’s Takeover: Toronto opponent is revealed while Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa return to NXT!
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tian Bing & HoHo Lun
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in action and they get to face off against the great pairing of Bing and Lun. I always enjoy watching Gargano and Ciampa because they’re a true tag-team. They utilize each other for everything and have incredible chemistry. It’s hard to not enjoy a Gargano/Ciampa match.
It was interesting to see Tian Bing, apparently the first Chinese signee in WWE history. He’s a pretty big guy at 6′ 3″ and 220lbs and he definitely made his presence known right away. The Dusty Rhodes Classic was the perfect place to get him familiarized with NXT and HoHo Lun was a great partner to pair with him due to the size difference. These two won’t get another chance in the tournament, but they got their faces out there and that’s what counts.
Billie Kay/Peyton Royce/Aliyah/Liv Morgan
Billie Kay took a loss to Aliyah after interference from Liv Morgan. After the match, Billie and Peyton Royce made a statement by leaving both lying in the middle of the ring. These two have been incredibly dominant lately, but where’s Asuka in all of this?
I really think Aliyah is improving a lot in the ring. I still think she has some work to do as far as hitting the ropes better and connecting on her punches in a more effective manner, but she’s getting there. I think that being a part of this feud could help her gain even more valuable experience. She will certainly be a big part of the NXT Women’s Division going forward and the more TV time she gets, the better.
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are really getting a lot of time to show the NXT fans that they’re ready to be the faces of the Women’s Division in NXT. I really like the charisma and confidence of both women. They have a natural common ground with both being from Australia and they have a common goal of taking over NXT. Sometimes it’s that simple. The side-effect of all of this is that Liv Morgan has really fallen by the wayside. I’m sure she’ll get her payback, but her momentum has really stalled over the past month.
All 4 of these women have unique qualities to offer and I think that NXT has a good core group of females coming up. It’ll be impossible to replace Bayley, Alexa, Carmella, and Dana, but the future still looks bright.
Tye Dillinger picked up a dominant win on NXT and was then attacked by Bobby Roode in a post-match interview. It looks like Roode isn’t as scared as he looked last week. I really feel like this feud could be the launching pad for Tye. Dillinger has been around so long and has proven himself over and over again only to be overlooked. There’s no reason to overlook him anymore. He has become one of the best workers in NXT and has built his character into one of the most beloved characters on the entire brand. Tye Dillinger has everything to gain from a strong showing in Toronto.
Asuka vs. Thea Trinidad
You never know what you’re going to see in NXT. If the main roster had that many guest appearances, I think more people would be inclined to watch the shows. Thea didn’t throw up much of a fight and was beaten fairly quickly. For those of you who don’t know, Thea was Rosita in TNA and is a former TNA Knockouts Tag-Team Champion with NXT trainer Sarah Stock (Sarita). I really think she’d be a great person to have in NXT full-time, maybe this will open the door?
Asuka hasn’t had a whole lot of competition and apparently William Regal felt the same because he “scoured the world” for Asuka’s next opponent. A pre-taped video from Mickie James then appeared on the screen revealing Mickie as Asuka’s opponent at NXT Takeover: Toronto. I’m really excited to see Mickie back in a WWE ring. It’s been 6 years since we saw the former Women’s Champion and she will be the perfect opponent for Asuka. Takeover: Toronto can’t come soon enough!
The main event of Kota Ibushi & TJ Perkins vs. Mustafa Ali & Lince Dorado was another classic Cruiserweight match. Having these four men main event NXT for the Dusty Rhodes Classic was a great idea. These four are some of the best Cruiserweights around and it was great to see how well they matched up.
Samoa Joe talked about the profound impact he had on Shinsuke Nakamura. I think if Nakamura were to show some fear, it would be the first crack in his armor. This feud has been pretty interesting as far as psychology goes.
NXT continues mixing in talent from elsewhere with home-grown stars to a very positive effect. With as many stars as NXT lost to the WWE Draft, they’re building even more right now. People like Billie Kay, Tye Dillinger, Liv Morgan, Ember Moon, etc. It’s crazy to think about how, just a few short years ago, developmental was bare and had barely any quality prospects. Times have certainly changed for the better.