bill bodkin looks at the episode which crowns the tag champs…
This week’s edition of NXT was all about crowning the first-ever NXT Tag Team Champions, however the program did a really nice job of featuring two really nicely orchestrated feuds. It’s something that WWE should take a look at as they seem to be focus on one major angle and blow everything else happening on the show off.
Mike Dalton vs. Axl Keegan
For some reason after seeing both of these guys get squashed in previous weeks, I had a feeling we wouldn’t actually see them wrestle…and I was right. The two were used as a backdrop for the Paige/Summer Rae feud. What I didn’t like was the lovely and talented Paige, commanding the two much bigger and stronger wrestlers to leaver ‘her ring’ and they obliged. Kinda silly if you ask me.
Alex Riley vs. Corey Graves
I like both of these guys a lot as I think they both have future star written all over them. However, at this moment in time, A-Ri has more of classic WWE look as well as some big league name recognition due to his feud with The Miz. I think Riley also works better as a heel than as a face and I believe the WWE will be using him in more of a heel role once he returns to the main roster. Graves, on the other hand, is a little too much like CM Punk in terms of his punk rock look, so I wonder if something will happen where he’s repackaged. Anyways, this was a really solid match and the feud between these two could actually go a lot further if NXT wanted them to. They have the perfect chemistry and opposing personalities for an old school, violent feud blow-off (in a bunkhouse match or cage). Graves ends up capitalizing on a Riley miscue and slaps on the 13th Step 9 (a variation on the Figure Four) for the W.
Winner: Corey Graves
Summer Rae vs. Paige
Going into the match they played up that Paige had injured her should during the scrap she and SUmmer had at the beginning of the show. This was smart booking as this would give viewers a reason to believe the inexperienced Summer Rae could defeat Paige, who’s been pegged as the #1 Diva in NXT. Now, she may be inexperienced, by wow Summer Rae, knows some really good submission moves. It was really impressive and gives me some hope the Divas division in the future.
Winner: Summer Rae via submission
Things I Don’t Care About: Who Sasha Banks secret admirer is. The fact Big E. Langston and Conor O’Brian are going to have a match next week.
Main Event: Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erik Rowan) with Bray Wyatt
I had not been impressed with The Wyatt Family as a team until this week. Their work in the ring was a lot crispers, a lot more violent and more impactful. Meanwhile Grey and Neville remained very consistent with their strong in-ring work. Luke Harper is really showing he’s ready from prime time, it’s just his look which may betray him. If the WWE is smart, they’ll move him up and continue to have Bray Wyatt as his mouthpiece. Rowan is still rough around the edges and needs some seasoning. As for the Brits — Grey is getting better by the week and I like his amateur wrestling skills. Then there’s Neville — he’s like Evan Bourne with a more impressive frame in terms of his aerial ability. Then there’s his striking ability — the dude has power and his kicks and chops are beast. As a match, this told the classic David and Goliath storyline and it was executed very crisply. The Brits won, in their usual fashion with Neville’s twisting Shooting Star Press.
Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Oliver Grey and Adrian Neville
Closing Thoughts: I liked giving The Brits the titles. They have the most upside and can work well with any of the teams in NXT. They can match speed with The Colons, power with The Wyatts and McGilligutty/Dallas, technical skills with Ohno and Kruger. They also can work the sympathetic babyface team really well, so this was a smart booking move. Also, I think they want to give Adrian Neville as much airtime as possible, because he is not long for NXT and they want to start prepping their audiences for a future star.