6/10/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Wrestler of the Week – Samoa Joe
Joe entered NXT in the same malaise with which he left TNA. It was not that he wrestled poorly or that his skills had deteriorated. Instead, he had been just another guy in TNA that he had lost some of the special attraction viability that once made him so compelling. Through a lengthy program with Finn Balor, Joe has regained his reputation as a monster who can do amazing things. When he finished the rivalry with Balor with a Muscle Buster off of the cage, it felt like a conclusive moment that firmly entrenched him as the top guy in NXT at the moment. After a few non-distinct months, I wondered whether it would be possible for him to recapture his main event aura. Now, he is close to the level of his star-making feuds with CM Punk and Kurt Angle.
Match of the Week – The Revival vs. American Alpha
The top two tag teams in NXT have been working together consistently in house shows across the country and the resulting chemistry was obvious at Takeover: The End. In fact, parts of the match felt overly predictable and choreographed, but it got better as the match went on. The finish was exciting and very unpredictable. The Revival became the first repeat champions of any kind in NXT, which helps legitimize the promotion as a stand-alone entity and more than just a stepping-stone to the WWE main roster.
Must See Wrestling
- Lucha Underground Challengers Survive
Only Lucha Underground would take a 12-wrestler main event tag match and somehow imbue it with both excitement and high stakes. Dario Cueto set up the match with the stipulation that the winning team would enter a six-person survival match next week to become #1 Contender. The highlight of the match was Pentagon Jr’s return from a broken back. If the fan reaction is any indication, the believers are fully on board with his narrative arc toward the title picture.
- Rollins and Reigns Excel in Absence
I was not a fan of Rollins repeatedly threatening Reigns last week and backing away. The video packages that stood in for them this week were far superior. Reigns was much more charismatic in the pre-taped interview. Meanwhile, the Rollins video reminded fans of how big of a star he became.
- Nakamura def. Aries
The third prong of NXT’s three-part main event also lived up to its dream match expectations. Aries has a very traditional pro wrestling style, which provided a fun contrast with Nakamura’s MMA-influenced Strong Style. It’s not a surprise that Nakamura came away with the victory, though they managed to create suspense and excitement.