WWE NXT Review - January 20, 2016
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sami Zayn def. Adam Rose
As I said in my review of NXT about a month ago upon Zayn's return to the ring, he is showing zero signs of ring rust despite being out of action for seven months. Like the match with Tye Dillinger from London, I fully expected this to be a total squash, and while it was to an extent, they ended up having a nice back-and-forth bout that saw Rose score more offense than I would have expected him to. Bad gimmick aside, he's still a competent worker and he had an average opening match with Zayn here. By the way, remember when Rose was one of the most over acts in NXT? Me either. Poor guy.
Apollo Crews def. Tye Dillinger
I was wondering what was next for Crews coming off his loss to Baron Corbin at NXT TakeOver: London. Thus, it's cool to see they're tying up loose ends by having him go back after Finn Balor. I liked how he said he didn't do anything to deserve an NXT Championship shot and only wanted a non-title match. As for his match with Dillinger, it was a fun match while it lasted and Dillinger sold well for Crews' offense.
Baron Corbin def. Rich Swann
It's weird that three enhancement matches were put back-to-back-to-back and I enjoyed all of them in different ways. Although Swann isn't established in NXT compared to Rose and Dillinger, he certainly scored the biggest reaction of them all. I'm not too familiar with his work on the independent scene, but what I do know is that he's a promising star and he showed potential in his impressive outing versus Corbin. I was surprised he wasn't just another guy fed to Corbin and instead was allowed to shine. This was the perfect combination of properly introducing Swann to the NXT fans while also giving Corbin a dominant victory en route to next week's huge Triple Threat No. 1 Contender's match.
NXT Women's Champion Bayley and Carmella def. Emma and Alexa Bliss
Emma and Bliss have next to no history together, so while it was random for them to team up on paper, I liked that their pre-match backstage segment made sense of it. The same can be said about Bayley and Carmella. While I'm aware of their friendship beyond the ring based off what we've seen on Breaking Ground and on social media, the casual viewer might not have since they have never been together on TV prior to this point. Then again, is there such thing as a casual NXT fan since most viewers of the show are hardcore fans? At any rate, this was a solid tag team match that showcased Carmella's skills nicely going into the title match and she was well-protected. She's been limited in her recent matches, but I imagine Bayley will carry her to a good match when they go one-on-one.
Samoa Joe def. Johnny Gargano
I figured this match wouldn't be all that it could have been because of how brief it was, but they made the most of the time they were allotted and its main purpose was Joe building momentum for the Triple Threat match. He's been firing on all cylinders as of late and it's great to see him on such a roll right now. Take nothing away from Gargano, however, who showed nice fire in this match. Along with Tomasso Ciampa, I'd love to see him offered a full-time contract with NXT sometime soon.
With next week's episode featuring the Triple Threat No. 1 Contender's match, it was logical for this to be a transitional show and to give everyone involved in that match some steam going into it. The women's tag team match served a similar purpose, so while we had five enhancement matches on one show, it was still an enjoyable hour of TV with entertaining wrestling and even better storyline progression with the NXT Championship and NXT Women's Championship pictures. Even the NXT Tag Team Champions Dash and Dawson made an appearance. I'm highly anticipating that Triple Threat match next week as well as what else is in store for NXT in the weeks to come.
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