NXT 346 Recap
NXT is what got me back into watching WWE 8 months ago. I had watched WWE as a teenager in the Late 90’s but by High School in the early 2000’s I had moved on to other things. Fast forward 15 years or so and while listening to a podcast called Analogue I was introduced to NXT. I had never heard of NXT before but Myke did such a great job of explaining why it was different from Raw or Smackdown, and why it was fun to watch, and who the superstars were that I figured I’d give it a look, just for kicks.
After about 20 minutes I was completely hooked. 20 minutes, that’s all it took for me to decide to jump back into the WWE as a serious fan. I haven’t missed an episode of NXT since and I’m happy to present my first ever NXT recap article, I hope you enjoy it!
Nakamura vs. "Wesley" Blake
Shinsuke Nakamura opens the show, with what is quite possibly the best ring entrance around.
Something of note, Corey Graves is on commentary, despite being moved up to Raw after the draft. I know NXT is pre-taped but they are usually pretty good at scheduling these things out. Unless of course he’s doing Raw and NXT, not sure.
Also, apparently Leslie Blake is now "Wesley Blake". Tom made sure to emphasize Wesley when referring to Blake throughout the match. It’s going to take more than a slight name change to get Blake back into any sort of important position.
This match was fun simply because Nakamura is a joy to watch. He’s playful, yet aggressive, crazy, yet precise. And for all of my dislike of Blake, he performed well in this match. He was technical and powerful, taking it to Nakamura for a good chunk of the middle stages. But he never had a chance to win this one.
Nakamura Wins. Quick, fun, but predictable.
After the match Regal came out and announced that the Main Event at Take Over will be Nakamure vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT championship. Which, in my estimation, means Joe’s reign as champ is over. Unless they repeat the storyline they used with Balor and Joe, though I hope not.
Billy Kay vs. Santana Garrett
I’ve seen both of these 2 ladies just a few times, so I didn’t know what to expect for this match. The women’s division in NXT definitely needs the newer ladies to step up with Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella all getting drafted. Plus, Bayley made her debut at Battleground, so she’s not going to be around NXT for much longer.
But back to the match, nothing too amazing, but solid work by both ladies. Billy Kay was the aggressor which seems to match the heel persona that Graves and Phillips were discussing on commentary.
Billy Kay wins with a huge boot to Garrett’s face. Ouch.
Bailey and Regal set the stage for Bayley vs. Asuka at Take Over in Brooklyn, where Bayley won the title for the first time. That match, which will definitely happen, should be incredible. Both of those women are high quality performers and deserve to be at the top of the card.
TM61 vs. Rob Reisen and Adrian Nails?
TM61 are high-flyers, though they aren’t my favorite. Too cocky for me without the nasty attitudes that make it believable.
Nails looked lost and Reisen looks like an angry middle schooler. This match was boring, except for TM61’s finisher “Thunder Valley”, which is spectacular.
Of note, Hideo Itami is returning next week. This will be the first time I’ve seen him in action as he’s been out since before I started watching NXT.
No Way Jose vs. Steve Cutler
Cutler has some serious Lash LeRoux like side burns. Wow. Not important but you know, why not make an obscure 90’s WCW reference?
The angle they are playing with No Way Jose is interesting. He’s a fun loving, goofy, dancing guy but the minute you disrespect him or piss him off he turns into a beast. I hope that eventually he just becomes Jose, losing the dancing gimmick, so that he can be taken more seriously by the bookers. He’s got the skills and personality to go far, I hope he gets the opportunity.
No Way Jose Wins
Kota Ibushi vs. Buddy Murphy
Ibushi is one of the favorites to win the Cruiser Weight Classic. But before I continue, Tom just called Wesley Blake, “Leslie Blake” twice, gosh, pointless name changes must be hard to remember.
Anyhow, Ibushi is a stud and as far as I know he’s either already signed with WWE or will be signing shortly. Really good signing. He’s SO quick and seems to be a move or two ahead at all times.
Murphy isn’t a slouch either but he’s been booked so poorly lately that its hard to see him as a legitimate winner of this match. Having said that, he did not disappoint in this match. He used his size to his advantage and slowed the match down with submissions.
Ibushi’s kick to Murphy’s head was incredible for 2 reasons: Ibushi makes it look like he makes full contact and Murphy sold it perfectly. This is the sort of stuff you love to see, 2 guys working precisely to sell the match to the fans.
Kota Ibushi Wins with a nice sit-out power bomb.
Samoa Joe is the worst, just, ugh. I don’t know what’s worse: him as Champ or him after he loses the title? It’s like the Wrestling version of Brexit, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But on a positive note, Bobby Roode makes his debut next week as well, thumbs up!
But back to Joe. He’s a moron. He said Nakamura is an undeserving opponent...more like Joe is a cowardly, stuck up, wanna be. This whole segment between Regal and Joe was a total waste. We get it, Joe’s mad, he’s always the victim, no one respects him, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. Sure Joe is very good in the ring, maybe even great, but his character is the WORST. At least Owens, Jericho, and The Miz are heels who have some personality. Joe is just an angry pet rock, no personality whatsoever.
Decent episode. A lot of non-top card players got some major ring time, which is always a plus in the long run. I’m interested to see how the newer women evolve as that division rebuilds. I’m also eager for NXT Take Over, I think it will be a very entertaining show.
As always, I’d love to know your thoughts, so share them in the comments and check back next week for recaps of Raw, Smackdown, and NXT.