Welcome to NXT Future Five on Last Word On Sports, where each week we analyze the latest episode of World Wrestling Entertainment Network’s hottest program, NXT and rank the five performers who made the biggest impact.
Highlights of the Night
Opening Video Package: A great recap of Saturday’s event for anyone who might have missed one of the best shows of the year. The Jay Z facsimile worked well, and had a great mixture of action clips and quotes. Another fine job by the WWE production team.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass/The Hype Bros vs Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, Scott Dawson, and Dash Wilder: Enzo & Big Cass got a HUGE reaction from the crowd as was expected. Enzo wore a Notorious B.I.G jacket which was a real nice touch. The Hype Bros received a considerably less exciting reaction. In fact, I’m sure I heard some boos for the duo. Dash and Dawson couldn’t help but conjure up memories of the Brain Busters, which the announce team quickly mentioned after my thought. Jordan and Gable did get some cheers, but it was just a smattering. The Hype Bros dominated early on, but got caught by Dash and Dawson. Their advantage didn’t last long, and Ryder made a tag to Enzo Amore, who got a great crowd response. Very quickly all 8 men got into the ring but the four baby faces cleared house. From there, Dash Wilder attempted to sneak attack all four heroes, but got caught. After a spectacular launch of Enzo Amore by Big Cass onto the four heels on the outside, we cut to commercial. When we came back Jason Jordan was in control of Amore. Jordan wore him down with a rear chin lock, and then made a tag to Chad Gable, who worked over Enzo’s arm. A quick tag was made to Dawson and Dash, who double teamed Amore and continued to damage the limbs of the Certified G. That trend continued when Gable got tagged in. Enzo managed to find an opening by sending Gable into the turnbuckle, but but got cut off quickly by the heels again. Dash placed Amore on the top, which allowed him to deliver a huge second rope DDT. It wasn’t enough to make the tag though and the heels found themselves in control until moments later when Cass got the hot tag and cleared house with big boots and avalanche splashes. Things started breaking down with everyone running in and hitting their finishes, ending with Enzo and Cass performing the rocket launcher for the pin fall victory.
Divas Video Package: To build for the Fatal Four Way main event, NXT showed four separate video packages highlighting each contestant. Emma’s video documented her roots in NXT and her attitude change. With Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks leaving NXT, it’s good to see NXT giving the remaining women a little more attention, especially one who has so much talent. Short, sweet, and effective for those unfamiliar. Becky Lynch’s video used a combo of NXT clips and pictures from her past, this was another great package for anyone not familiar with the Lass Kicker. They included some of her history against the Bellas and her alliance with PCB. It was a very endearing package. If I was a first timer seeing this, it would make me want to cheer for her. Dana Brooke had the same video package we have seen before from NXT, but it’s a good one, especially if you don’t know who she is. The only issue I take is that there are very few heel elements to it, and you could easily get confused about how to feel about her. For Charlotte’s video, we first focused on her heritage and the pressure of living up to that dynasty. There was a larger focus on the Divas Revolution, which given her current place in the company, is important. She mentioned Rhonda Rousey as well, which I found interesting.
Bayley Post Match Promo: An incredibly emotional Bayley talked about what the win meant, and having the other women come out and celebrate with her. The tears in her eyes were very real and we got a beautiful moment when her mom came in to hug Bayley and talk about how proud she was of her daughter. Her whole family eventually filtered in and it was a very genuine, feel good moment.
Emma vs Dana Brooke vs Becky Lynch vs Charlotte: There was a lot of talk regarding Emma being better since teaming with Dana Brooke. Speaking of Brooke, she got a loud negative reaction, as expected. The crowd sang along to Becky Lynch’s theme, and gave the biggest cheers to Charlotte when she made her entrance. All four women started out in the ring, pairing off the heels and faces. Becky and Charlotte quickly cleared the ring and then focused on each other, only stopping to clear the ring whenever Brooke or Emma tried to get involved. Lynch and Charlotte did some chain wrestling as dueling chants of “Lets go Becky/Let’s go Charlotte” rang throughout the Barclay Center. Brooke and Emma got back in and double teamed the heroes, sending Charlotte to the outside and smashing her against the barricade. The double team assault continued inside the ring on Becky Lynch with lots of stomps and kicks being employed. When Brooke focused on Charlotte outside, Emma hit a butterfly suplex and went for the pin, causing Brooke to break up the attempt. This lead to an argument with Lynch rolling up a surprised Emma. She didn’t get the victory but it did lead to Dana turning on Emma. While celebrating her devious trick, Charlotte snuck back in and cleared house, dominating both heels. Lynch scaled the top rope and nailed a flying drop kick on Charlotte, allowing her a chance to take on both Emma and Dana. It wouldn’t last forever though and Emma would begin to take control with drop kicks and a bottom turnbuckle splash on Becky for the surprise victory. After the match, Charlotte speared Emma and gave her Natural Selection to pop the crowd. It didn’t last long though as Dana then attacked her from behind. Following suit, Becky attacked Brooke, and then she and Charlotte applied the Dis-armer and Figure 8 respectively.
The Future Five
5. Bayley: She might not have wrestled this week, but her post match promo certainly got her over. Bayley is a very likable character to begin with, but seeing her with her family made her even more endearing. It is a difficult balance to try and come off as charming without being perceived as phony. Nothing about Bayley feels fake or manufactured. You could really feel her emotion in this promo and it will only make her more popular with the NXT Universe during her reign as champion.
4. Eva Marie: Despite not having the skills of her contemporaries, Eva Marie still scored a big victory over Carmella this week. She also handled the pressure of a rowdy Brooklyn crowd with grace, not something that everyone can do. She could have shown a bit more intensity and she needs more work, but that is why she is there. She has a long way to go, but she has also come a long way. I think she ended up surprising some people, myself included.
3. Enzo Amore & Big Cass: While they were involved in an eight man tag team match, there is no question that Enzo and Cass were the stars. From the moment their music hit until the final bell rang, the Brooklyn crowd was going crazy for these two. They also carried the majority of the match for their team, with Enzo taking the heat, providing one of the most exciting moments of the match with his dive to the outside, and picking up the victory for the heroes. These two brought their A-game and the crowd recognized it, so I must do the same here.
2. Bull Dempsey: Talk about a comeback! I had some doubts that when Bull came back, he would just be the same guy facing heels instead of heroes. That was not the case here as the new Bullfit personality was a welcome change. The crowd seemed genuinely happy to see Dempsey and his offense was changed up to match his new baby face tendencies. Adding in the Balls Mahoney punches with the crowd chanting “BULL!” on every punch will be a great tool for him to use going forward.
1 Emma: There is no question that Emma went into this contest as the underdog, and only Aaron Wrotkowski was able to guess that she would leave Brooklyn victorious. This was an important win for Emma, not just because she surprised the NXT Universe, but because she defeated Becky Lynch, a former top contender, and did it clean, without the help of Dana Brooke. If NXT is building towards a match between Emma and NXT Women’s Champion Bayley, then we as fans have something great to look forward to.
This was a very good follow up to the Takeover special. The matches showcased would not have seemed out of place if they were a part of the live broadcast on Saturday. The post match promos gave those who enjoyed Saturday a really great follow up, and even build a bit for next week’s episode. It looks like the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament is going to be a big deal, and the importance they’re putting on it has me excited. This week’s extra 30 minutes just flew by, which goes to show how well paced this week’s show was. Overall I was impressed.