A packed show tonight on paper with two big matches in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic on tap. Austin Aries and a mystery partner take on Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight. While the supremely entertaining paring of No Way Jose and Rich Swan oppose Tony Neese and Drew Gulak. On top of all that, NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura will conduct a “Champion’s Address” following his pull apart brawl with Samoa Joe last week. Let’s break it all down!
WWE NXT Review (10/19/16): Roderick Strong Debuts
A nice little video package to start, recapping Nakamura’s injury angle leading up to last week’s return.
Rich Swan and No Way Jose vs Tony Neese and Drew Gulak
Good decision to put this match in the opening slot. Not many can get the crowd going like Swan and Jose.
Nicely worked match with four guys who can go.It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but definitely solid. Swan and Jose are extremely over and can back it up in the ring. Neese and Gulak are all types of athletic and talented as well, so they definitely shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle. It was pretty safe to assume that the faces were going to go over. They’ve got the Authors of Pain up next in a matchup they’ll probably not win. However, the match might be a bit more competitive than what were used too with the AUP.
The injury bug continues to bite Hideo Itami. Seeing him tag with Ibushi, whose an absolute stud, would have been a real treat.
Roode vs Dillinger at Takeover Toronto is official, as the card begins to take shape. It pains me that we missed out on them as a team, but a one on one will have to do just fine. I can only hope this will be the last time we see Roode at a Takeover not fighting for a title. He’s more than ready.
Aries and his “power of potassium” are golden on the mic every single time. It was good idea that he brought up Itami, they don’t want people forgetting about the feud that would have been.
Bobby Roode vs Sean Maluta
Not much to say here as it was a glorified squash. Seeing the aggressive side of Roode is never a bad thing and his chops were VICIOUS.
So Dillinger fires the first shot in the build up to Toronto. The crowd chanting along with everything he did was so cool. Roode’s promo was typically excellent as well. It’s so refreshing to see a heel whose entire gimmick is built on just simply being better than everyone else. They’ve got 5 weeks to build up this thing, 1 segment in and I’m fully invested.
Billy Kay and Peyton Royce Assault Liv Morgan
FINNALLY! Something to make us care about this trio. The kick looked brutal and it was a nice touch to bring Morgan out to humiliate her in front of the live crowd. The promo was simple, but it got the message across. They’re calling out Asuka, presumably giving a pair of heels for her to run-through. As she’s pretty much a face anyway. But, the question is… where does Ember Moon fit into all this?
Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight vs Austin Aries and Roderick Strong
Good job by Tom Phillips doing his homework, listing all the marquee WWE stars Strong has been in the ring with. Another solid match, but I would have liked to see Strong showcased just a bit more in his debut. This most likely was not how he was going to debut originally, so he kind felt thrown in there a bit. Cant complain too much though. The match was entertaining and we now officially have Roderick Strong on the NXT roster!
I’m loving heel Almas. Great line about him taking off his mask to join NXT, but he has not gotten any respect in return. Referencing that taking off a Luchdor’s mask is a sign of respect in Mexico.
Nikki Cross vs Danielle Kamela
Cross looked absolutely INSANE here and it was great. This was her first match under the new character and I already want to see her against Asuka over anybody else in the division and that includes Ember Moon. Cross will definitely be a huge asset as time goes on. As for SAnity as a whole, their first segment after their debut and I’m intrigued. Eric Young smiling after getting hit in the face by his own stable mate is something you definitely don’t see everyday.
NXT Champion’s Address
Solid closing segment. Clark actually played his role well in this. Maybe the new gimmick has some steam after all. The segment as a whole was a creative way to advance the feud without another tedious brawl.
I quite enjoyed this show. The in-ring quality was way up, from the less than sub par performance last week. Two big players in Strong and Cross made their debuts. And there were plenty of above average segments and interviews.
The Classic continues next week with the dream team of Ibushi and WWE Cruiserweight Champion T.J. Perkins teaming up after the war they had in the CWC. Should be a fun one and of course I’ll be back for another NXT review.