The NXT Report Card (8/23/17): Like a Box of Chocolates

Well TakeOver: Brooklyn has finally come and gone and it’s now time to, reluctantly, move forward. However, before we do that we still have a little more New York fun to come. If Almas and Johnny was our sumptuous starter and Ember vs. Asuka our sizzling steak, this week is our dessert….or hopefully anyway. Yes, that’s right it’s that weird episode of NXT which is taped before TakeOver but airs afterwards and often has minimal impact on the product’s general direction. How on earth is that a dessert you ask? Well, it’s simple really: NXT, similar to life in general, is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

Considering that information, let’s hope that tonight’s episode is the wrestling equivalent of a tiramisu or an equally delightful treat of your choice. Is it likely? No, but let’s get on with this before I get hungry.

Rob Van Dam Reveals Jimmy Del Ray Got Him To Smoke Weed For The First Time

DISCLAIMER: any wild predictions I make that you disagree with will likely be proven completely wrong in the coming weeks, months and years anyway so don’t worry too much. Basically, take everything you read from this point forward with a grain of salt as its credibility is preposterously low.

After a pretty lengthy recap of Saturday’s TakeOver event, it’s time for some action and here comes No Way Jose! We all know how much I love No Way and he’s even doing that cool entrance where he gets big brothers wearing merchandise shirts to da…OH MY LORD IT’S LARS. 1981 heel Lars Sullivan is here and he’s destroying Jose. This is wrong, this is immoral and this is foul. I was a Lars fan before this but never again, what a fun-hating bully.

Alexa Bliss No Mercy Ad

Hi, guys, this wasn't intended to be included for the Report Card but as is later exposed, this show is nothingness and my report of it even worse. For that reason, I thought I'd grade something else and this incredible Alexa Bliss PPV ad seemed to fit the bill. Let's hope that I don't have to return to this soul-crushing well ever again. Thank you for your patience.

Grade: A*

Johnny Gargano/Andrade ‘Cien Almas Match Recap

Up next came a recap of Almas’ absolute show-stealer with Gargano. You guys get the deal by now.

Grade: A* (Mandatory)

Johnny Wrestling now cut a pretty generic babyface promo. Nothing too noteworthy but it was fine. A recap of Asuka vs. Moon followed which meant that it was time for me to cry. This is very emotional for me thus far. Asuka then did some kind of press conference thingy and I’ll leave it at that.

Another super bland backstage interview is up next with Wolfgang and Pete Dunne talking. Dunne seems to be holding some kind of belt and he keeps talking about it. Not sure of its meaning.

Peyton Royce

Finally time for an actual wrestling match now as Peyton takes on Sarah Logan. There were some kind of flimsy looking grappling exchanges early but as things progressed this became pretty fun. Royce had a neat moment in there when she used her elbow to improve position and whilst that was a minor spot, it’s an aspect that has to be a focus of hers in the future. When you’re playing a character as silly and over the top as Petyon and Billie are, you need real in-ring aggressiveness to maintain any status as a legitimate threat.

This is something I’ve noticed more from Royce recently anyway and it showed in flashes here especially with her always awesome spinning heel kick and a less flashy punch to the spine. She eventually got the win with a fisherman suplex. Decent match and a good showing for Peyton. She really belongs on the main roster at this point unless there are title plans for her in NXT. Time will tell. Great reaction for the Iconic Duo here too by the way.

Grade: B

Sarah Logan

I’ve reviewed a Sarah match at least once before and though she sold for much of this one, my takeaway is still basically the same: I’m a fan and look forward to seeing more. Her selling is strong both physically but also facially and she seems to have a generally good understanding of babyface facial expressions overall too. When she did get on offense she had an awesome German suplex and threw some really good looking strikes. Just an overall energy to Logan makes her fun to watch.

Grade: C+

Time for two more recaps now as we look back at Saturday’s tag title match as well as the main event. This was then followed up on with clips of Roode’s SmackDown debut. In an interview with Kayla Braxton, Roode then made it clear that he still plans to reclaim his NXT title but only after embarrassing Roderick Strong one more time. Then came an Itami – Black recap and footage of Black ignoring questions from the press.

Tyler Bate and Trent Seven 

‘Main event’ time now folks as four British blokes fight. On one team is Bate and Seven, the other Wolfgang and Dunne. There were some great grappling exchanges between Bate and Dunne early, just really sharp, crisp stuff from both. Trent then came in, hit a move and tagged out which led to some wacky tandem offense that I still don’t really understand. Seven was soon back in and hit an absolutely awesome DDT which made for a great false fin…oh wait no never mind, Trent didn't even go for a cover, what a slap in the face to legends like Jake, Arn and Alexa. Sad.

There was then some heat on Trent which he sold really well before nailing Wolfgang with a dragon suplex and making the tag. Bate immediately launched Dunne just an instant into his hot tag and that looked super cool but also organic which was pretty awesome. A great exchange between the pair followed before Bate did his airplane spin gimmick. It all broke down and some dope strikes were thrown by everyone before Wolfgang made a blind tag and pinned Bate with hit big senton. Fun stuff.

Grade: B

Wolfgang and Pete Dunne

This was a good main event and the heel side, or closest thing to it, certainly played a major part in that. Dunne seems to get better every time he steps through the curtain and I always love the way his face makes the grappling exchanges matter. He also nailed a forearm like prime 2015 Nikki Bella. Wolfgang was pretty great here too and did this move where he seemed to just rugby tackle Trent…love it. Dunne then came back in and started isolating Trent’s arm with the viciousness of 1987 Arn Anderson in Crockett Promotions.

I always enjoy this part of Dunne’s offense and that was no different here as he did the dope finger bending spot. He then began to just kick Trent in the face before bringing Wolfgang back in to throw him around a little more. As I’ve already said, things got quite exciting down the stretch and Wolfgang winning was a nice surprise. An enjoyable main event even if a little short.

Grade: B+

Final Thoughts

Well then, I sense that I have some apologizing to do. I promised a lot here but in reality, this was no tiramisu. In many ways, this was the wrestling equivalent of a pack of Haribo’s, fun and somewhat tasty but quite sickly and underwhelming after a wonderful main course like TakeOver. In all seriousness, I think we all know the situation as far as these episodes go and it’s obviously not a big deal that they are always like this. The recaps are tiresome but I get it and at least the two matches we got were neat, especially the main event which was actually quite good. Unsurprisingly unimportant episode overall though.

Grade: C+

Please comment your thoughts on desserts below or just tweet me abuse @JoeHulbert5 like many others already do. See you at Full Sail next week.

Get exclusive combat sports content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.
From The Web