Gutteridge's WWE NXT Hit List: Bo Dallas vs. Colin Cassady, NXT Women's Champion Paige vs. Sasha Banks, yet another Ascension squash match, a few changes to commentary
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT Hits
Paige vs. Sasha Banks: I want people to watch the opening match on NXT, but not for the typical reason I recommend matches. This wasn't a great Divas match (at least by NXT standards). This was an average match. But it was a cut above anything seen on the main roster in every single detail. You can tell someone as talented as Sara Del Ray is working night and day with these women, because everything they do is just that much better.
The girls actually show personality at all times, not just when they have a mic in hand. This is backed up by movesets that match their characters – Banks isn't a violent type, but she is catty, so she utilises slaps and little digging kicks, whereas rage filled Paige (or “Rage-Paige”, to riff on Tenacious D) uses more measured, hard hitting strikes. And the match just flowed much better than anything seen on RAW and SD recently. Seriously, WWE should fly in another fantastic women's wrestler to coach NXT, and send Del Ray on the road as an agent. Sweeping reform is needed to salvage the division, and she is the woman to deliver it.
Commentary Changes: A small hit, but two good shake-ups happened on the show. Firstly, Tensai dropped his nonsensical Japanese handle, and instead became Jason Albert, which is another solid step forward on his route to being a respectable colour commentator. Also, I'm happy that Renee Young got to sit in on a non-Divas match. Her talent, not her gender, should dictate her role on commentary. I'm also more than ready for the commentators to drop their whole 'fawning over the pretty lady' routine every time Young is out there. I know I am prone to gushing over her beauty at times, but I respect her tremendous skills, and if the guys at the booth start taking her seriously as well, the audience will follow suit.
WWE NXT Misses
The Ascension vs. Travis Tyler and Cal Bishop: This match may have been the worst case yet of the Cult of Full Sail's ironic cheering. I don't believe for a second that anybody could enjoy the Ascension act, so the guys doing the “Sha!” chants are, in my mind at least, doing so just to cause mischief. I'm sure these ironic cheers will go the same the ones for Aiden English did.
Bo Dallas vs. Colin Cassady: I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't apply my criticisms of Charlotte to the also green Colin Cassady. He isn't anywhere near as bad as Flair's baby girl, but he is still in need of protection, as seen here with Dallas' utilisation of stalling tactics throughout the match. But the thing is, being green isn't necessarily a bad thing on NXT. The entire show is meant to be a testing ground, and an opportunity to learn on the job, but being thrown out for a 10 minute main event your not ready for isn't going to help that learning process. Cassady should be working 5 minutes max until he is ready to move up. It's also not a great way to re-establish Dallas, since Cassady has been beaten by the likes of Aiden English in less than 5 minutes.
Overall Show A dull main event topped off a forgettable show. The roster is starting to look quite thin on the ground. A quick head count had me putting the amount of regular competitors to around 20, which isn't a bad number for a one hour show, but that roster has been the same since Aiden English's debut in September last year. A shake-up is needed, or things will rapidly start to stagnate.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out the Dot Net NXT podcast with Zack Zimmerman and myself, available exclusively for members of the site! If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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