Thursday, March 12, 2015

NXT Report: March 11th 2015

There has been a lot of talk about NXT this week and for once, it is not as much about what is happening in the ring. Bill Demott stepping down as the head trainer at the WWE Performance Center dominated the headlines last week. He has been replaced by Matt Bloom (Jason Albert) in the role. This is likely a positive to have the WWE try to distance the NXT brand from Demott. While almost all of the allegations against Demott pre-date NXT his presence there currently would only serve as hindrance for the brand moving forward.

This is another thing that is being talked about quite a fair bit is what exact the future for NXT will be as it grows. Is it still a developmental system or is it growing into its own unique promotion. Is it now growing into a brand that is some kind of super independent promotion? Obviously having the backing and money of the WWE behind it gives it an advantage over any promotion including TNA and ROH. The NXT show took to the road last weekend in Columbus Ohio and it was promoted on last night’s episode of the show that we would see some of the events from that road trip next week.

Samoa Joe has stated he is in talks with WWE and he would be another huge name born on the independent scene that could be added to the mix in NXT. Joe may need some conditioning not unlike a Kevin Owens, but as far as his work in the ring, he has proven to be at an elite level when motivated to be. Add him to the mix with Finn Balor, Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Hideo Itami and Owens it is top 6 that would make any independent promoter drool.

It all leads to the question of is NXT still a developmental program or it becoming a brand geared to attract the hardcore wrestling audience that has been under whelmed with the current WWE product. Can it be a mix of both at the end of the day?

If we put a label on last night’s show it was leaning more to the developmental side than the creating a brand side.

The night started with Big Cass and Enzo going against the Lucha Dragons for the number one contender spot for the NXT Tag Team Championship. The expected happened with Enzo and Cass winning as the angle between them and Blake and Murphy was already teased. No question Cass and Enzo are over and have been for some time in NXT. I have always stated if this act goes to the next level, I see Colin Cassidy as the big star and Enzo more as a manger than his partner in a tag team. One thing that Big Cass has is his size and to steal one of their catch phrases…You Can’t Teach That!  Enzo is entertaining but more so for his personality and work on the microphone as opposed to anything he does in the ring.

Alexa Bliss returned to action after being sidelined for two months with a broken nose. She took on the third member of that crew Carmella. This match was a step below what we have come to expect from the women in NXT. I still think Bliss has a bright future and like Bayley could get over huge with kids. Unlike Bayley she is looks wise a miniature version of Trish Stratus. If she can learn and develop as Trish did, she can be a big hit on the next level. Lots of work to do though but I really like Alexa and think she has an “it factor” to her that can work well on the next level. That cross between Diva and Women’s Wrestler that ideally fans want.

Alex Riley returned to the ring after over 2 years away from it. It took about 2 minutes to realize why he was placed in commentary and not wrestling. His promo prior to his match with C.J Parker was little over the top but great. In ring, Riley is average at best and just doesn’t hold a candle to the talent even here in NXT. Owens came out and promised to end Alex Riley’s wrestling career and move on to ending the rise of Finn Balor. After watching Riley this week, Kevin Owens would be doing us a favor he delivered on his promise about Riley. Kevin will be able to get a good match out of Riley despite his lack of skills in the ring. Kevin is just that talented that he can. In addition the build verbally and storyline wise has been outstanding.

Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze seem to be paired together based on having nothing else for either. It has been a good re-establishing of Tyler Breeze and with his new selfie stick; it adds a new layer to the gimmick. Hideo Itami on the other hand while clearly talented also seems clearly lost in some ways. I will say this that his selling is amazing. Problem might be he is selling too much and we have not got to see the offensive capabilities of this man.  The have teased is use of the GTS which fans at NXT now are determined to see. If he ever hit the main roster with that move not sure if that would be received with welcoming arms as it will be at NXT. While he did invent the move, even C.M Punk admits that, the move is forever tied to Punk for WWE fans. Itami lost the match to Breeze and that seemed the right outcome for me. Tyler Breeze while not the big name that Itami was as Kenta prior to the WWE, He is much more comfortable in the WWE setting and NXT environment

This was one of those rare NXT shows that I would say there wasn‘t anything that you need to go out of your way to see. Not that it was a bad show or anything close to the 3-hour snooze feast that was Raw. It just wasn‘t up to the standards that NXT is known for as being very high and over performing that leaves us wanting more.  .