Leading up to this week’s NXT, it was heavily publicised that Finn Balor would be returning for the first time since losing the NXT Title. I was hopeful that this wouldn’t overshadow the whole show, and it certainly didn’t.
The show kicked off with Balor’s entrance which seemed lacking in the energy and showmanship he usually displays. The former champion was to be interrupted by Elias Samson, just a couple of minutes into his promo. Judging by the crowd reaction, The Drifter is very much hated, and he didn’t help himself by crashing Finn’s party. This set up the main event for the night – great way to start the show!
The first match of the night would see Corey Hollis and John Skyler take on the NXT Tag Team Champions American Alpha. Jordan and Gable seemed to enjoy their systematic demolition of the rookie team with ease. I wasn’t the biggest of the champs before TakeOver: London but they have won me over with their infectious energy and incredible ability. The contrast between the American Alpha and the former champions, The Revival, is a well worked piece of art in wrestling terms – the title rematch will definitely be something to look forward to.
Fan favourite, and absolute pleasure to watch, Shinsuke Nakamura faced Alex Riley next, and impressed as ever! It is abundantly clear that Nakamura will be a leading star in the brand for the foreseeable future, and I for one can’t wait to see him in the title picture. The King of Strong Style didn’t take long to add another victory to his tally at the expense Riley. Unfortunately, this is the last time we’ll see A-Ry on WWE TV after having his contract terminated a week ago. I thought the former FCW champion looked a good in-ring talent, but it seems to be a case of past injuries forcing the company’s hand.
The first Women’s match of the night saw Alexa Bliss take on debutant Rachel Ellering. Bliss defeated yet another second generation wrestler with little to no resistance. I believe Alexa is good wrestler, and even better at portraying a character. However, she sometimes looks a little clunky in the ring and this may be what is holding her down from reaching the top.
Before the main event, Finn Balor entered in his usual, if not intense, style – an intensity also shared by Elias Samson. Throughout the match Samson targeted the heavily strapped shoulder of Balor which may be an indication as to why he has been off our screens for so long. This, however, did not stop The Demon planting “1916” to gain the victory. The intensity of Finn’s victory shows a different side to his personality which proves how good a performer he is. Following the bout, we learned that the NXT Championship rematch will take place at NXT TakeOver on June 8th. With a call up for Balor imminent, we can only speculate that Samoa Joe will retain the belt and Finn will bow out.