Usual weekly disclaimer that I’m just a casual fan talking about what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy on a wrestling show I watched. Feel free to disagree and tell me I’m wrong in the comments.
NXT 9/9/15, wherein we continue the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament.
You can watch this episode on the WWE Network if you are a subscriber.
3 Things I Liked About NXT 9/9/15
1. Dana Brooke Continues To Build Steam
I initially wasn’t super big on Dana Brooke when they first started to build her up, but she’s slowly starting to win me over. She’s still a bit rocky on the mic, but I have to imagine that’ll get better as she gains more experience. In ring, she’s probably the best so far of the next wave of female talent for NXT to build up. It’s still too early to tell with a lot of the women who have debuted in the previous weeks, so Dana has to be the odds on favorite for the next run at Bayley’s Women’s title. Besides Emma, they’re pretty light on women heels so I have to imagine Dana will be Bayley’s first major program with the belt.
Dana beats Billie Kay here in a squash match and it’s not bad. Matches like these need to happen for them to continue to build Dana’s character and get newcomers like Billie Kay TV time.
2. The Influx of Australian Ladies
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce both lose in squash matches this week, but it got me thinking of a possible usage for them down the line. Considering WWE loves to faction up the talent, especially the women talent, I’d be down for a Australian women’s faction led by heel Emma with Peyton and Billie as her seconds. That’d allow Dana to break away from teaming with Emma, which is something that seems to be happening with the way Dana was featured this week.
3. The Main Event
The main event is part of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament and featured The Lucha Dragons vs. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. I half expected Joe to turn heel in this match, but even though they’re being heavy-handed with the “respect” thing towards Finn, I’m glad they waited to pull the trigger. It seems obvious the plan is to have Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor at the next TakeOver event and logic would dictate that a heel turn that costs the team the Tournament victory will likely be the impetus that gets us there.
The match itself was pretty solid, and clearly took place before a SmackDown – which is something I’ll get to in the next section. Finn and Joe go over strong in a competitive match that could have gone a bit longer.
3 Things I Didn’t Like About NXT 9/9/15
1. Tyler Breeze & Bull Dempsey
I really like this potential combination on paper, but in execution it didn’t really work well. The match between Breeze / Dempsey and the debuting Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa basically felt like a house show comedy match. Of course, Bull running into Breeze a few times isolated him in the ring to take the finish and lose the match. Not only did it seem to sell short the “odd couple” potential of the Dempsey / Breeze team, but it seemed a strange way to debut Gargano & Ciampa on TV.
All in all, a kind of awkward match that leaves me waiting for the next round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to see what Gargano & Ciampa can really do.
2. From Full Sail, Some House Shows, & A SmackDown Taping
This episode felt really disjointed since it was spliced together from a bunch of different sources. Some of the matches were from a taping at the NXT Arena at Full Sail that happened just before TakeOver Brooklyn. They then showed clips from random house shows where apparently first round matches in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic took place – that I suppose we’ll never get to see in their entirety. Then we wrap things up with a main event that clearly was a dark match before the SmackDown taping after SummerSlam. The awkwardness is even hammered home when we switch announce teams to Jimmy Uso and Tom Phillips for the final match.
I honestly believe that WWE has the best intention for a tag team tournament to honor Dusty Rhodes, but it so far feels really thrown together. Like they had a great idea, but just not enough time to pull it all off so they’re really skimping on the first round of matches and making for a really inconsistent fan experience.
3. Which Matches They’ve Decided to Show in Full from the Tournament
So, we get the full comedy match with Bull Dempsey but apparently a rematch from TakeOver Brooklyn between The Vaudevillains and Blake & Murphy happened at a house show and I literally only found out by doing this recap and visiting the WWE YouTube channel looking for clips to link in this review. I’m not sure why we didn’t get to see that match, or the Enzo & Cass match they showed 20 seconds of footage from before going to break.
A few weeks back they had an episode that almost ran 90 minutes that had no matches with any stakes, but now with an almost entire roster tag team tournament going on, matches are happening and if you’re not following the WWE YouTube channel you’d have no idea they even existed. Again, this whole tournament feels very hastily planned and I hope the final rounds end up being a bit better than what we’ve seen so far. I can only speculate that the surprise addition of the TakeOver Brooklyn event screwed up the scheduling somewhat because it seems strange that something on NXT would be so thrown together.