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*Sami Zayn vs. El Local. Easily the best thing on the show from an in-ring standpoint, Zayn is a great pure babyface. I actually love him a hell of a lot more now than I ever did as El Generico. Ricardo Rodriguez, in his masked persona that pops up on WWE TV from time to time, did a nice job here.
*Colin Cassidy on the mic. "Big Cas" showed a lot more charisma and looked a lot more comfortable in his skin this week than I've ever seen. He and Enzo Amore are certainly an acquired taste as characters, but they are doing a great job in being completely ridiculous Jersey-esque goons.
*Tyler Breeze. He didn't even tag into the Tag Turmoil match and he was awesome. The way his entrance is shot, focusing on his boots walking like a model would be focused on, followed by the cameras hitting a fast, sharp close-up of his face is damn perfect. His presentation comes off like a star and I can see him making it to the main roster with this persona and style intact. He's become one of my favorite NXT performers to watch.
*Bo Dallas. The NXT champion's mic work and facial reactions as the heel who acts as if he's the righteous hero has been a stark improvement for Dallas compared to where he was a few months ago, much less when he had his Royal Rumble cameo. His knocks on Sami Zayn were great, because they were ridiculous and obviously BS. I'm looking forward to the moment where Dallas actually gets in the ring with Zayn and even a month ago, I was rolling my eyes when Dallas came to the ring. Big jump in credibility with the new direction, one that seems at least partially inspired by the personality Johnny Gargano perfected in DGUSA.
*Sasha Banks as a heel. Man, she just pulverized poor Bayley at one point during the match. She showed a lot of aggression here, where most of the women in the company (main roster and beyond) don't. I felt like she was still trying to get comfortable in her new role, but that's what NXT is for and she showed some real flourishes of a great heel personality here.
*Bayley. As usual, her naive, almost one-track simple mind personality works because it's a stark difference from every female in the company since, well, Molly Holly was working for WWE! I always enjoy her work and I'm curious to see what additional tricks she can learn on how to best accentuate the character from Nick "Eugene" Dinsmore now that he's training down in Orlando.
*Aiden English vs. Bull Dempsey. First of all, for a guy who got NOTHING in the match, Dempsey took some great bumps and made English look like a million bucks. He looked better than most in that role do these days. English, in his second week of TV, looked much stronger in the ring and more confident in his role as the show-tunes singing wrestler. I never thought I'd see my former world of Broadway and this world mesh, and I didn't care for it the first week, but English's presentation, facial expressions and his encore at the end really clicked this week. He may be onto something.
*William Regal and Renee Young on commentary. Regal is awesome with anyone but when he started hitting on Young in an obvious "gentlemanly way", it was hilarious.
*Brad Maddox. Even with the weak opening vignette where he forces CJ Parker and Tyler Breeze to team up, he showed good poise and personality as the slimy guy with power.
*The Tag Team Turmoil. While the match was fine as a way to get The Ascension officially into the top contenders spot for the NXT Tag titles, the segments were pretty short and the match never seemed to get going. Had they been given some time, it may have been memorable. Instead it was the backdrop to shove a lot of storylines being furthered - CJ Parker and Tyler Breeze having issues, Enzo & Cassidy's continued issues with The Legionnares and finally The Ascension looking like monsters. That aspect was fine but you want a little meat to go with the potatoes. Plus, how does Scott Dawson get small packaged 3 seconds after he nails a spinebuster on Enzo Amore? That made no sense. I did pop for the old Total Elimination finisher executed by The Ascension.
*Summer Rae's mic work. She's hot and she has a great heel aura when she's out in the ring playing to the crowd, but she needs a lot of work on the mic for sure. It almost feels like she's trying to find the right voice for the personality based on the last few weeks, which is fine, but she hasn't hit it yet. I hope she does because when she nails it, she's going to be the next franchise heel personality for the division, but there is still work to be done for sure.
What We Learned:
WWE Main Roster Stories will bleed into NXT. The show closing promo featuring Triple H announcing that he had given Dusty Rhodes "time off" so his emotions over what is going down on Raw don't cause him to make bad judgments was a great idea as a way to make sure that what fans are watching in developmental doesn't conflict with the storylines on Raw and Smackdown. It also got a great heel reaction for HHH, right down to fans chanting "No" at him. JBL did his usual fine job on the mic as the "interim" GM. I know this won't happen, but a guy can hope for JBL vs. Dusty in a Bunkhouse match, right?
*Kassius Ohno is back. During a good backstage segment, Ohno basically threatened to beat his way through Brad Maddox's head if he wasn't put back in the ring. The segment even featured a quasi-shoot discussion where it was noted that "they" kept Ohno out of the ring these past few months because it's what he loves to do the most and "they" weren't happy with him. Ohno vs. The McMahons? Probably not, but the promos would be good! Good to see someone who earned his place in developmental more than most back on TV.
*Big names next week! Fandango and The Wyatt Family will be in action.
Credit: Mike Johnson Of Pwinsider.com
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