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.
Moving forward, we’re taking the Future Five in a different direction. With NXT superstars and divas now making an impact outside of just their weekly Wednesday battles, I have decided that the Future Five will now expand to a larger universe – the WWE Universe. Some weeks, that influence will be felt more than in others, but it will still play a part in deciding the weekly Future Five.
The NXT Future Five
- Asuka – Look, Finn Balor, Apollo Crews, Samoa Joe, and Baron Corbin might have closed out this week’s episode of NXT, but all anyone could talk about was the opening match. Asuka and her impressive Armbar from out of nowhere was shared through every social media outlet I could see. She was the break out star this week, and that is really saying something considering who she was up against.
- Samoa Joe – Fans have been waiting weeks for Samoa Joe to finally turn on his Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic partner and NXT Champion Finn Balor. This week, all of the speculation finally paid off when Joe came down and put a beating on the Irish Demon. With both Kevin Owens and Tyler Breeze leaving for the main roster, NXT needs some top villains to battle our heroes. Joe obviously saw an opportunity and grabbed the proverbial brass ring. Fans who have yet to see what Joe can do when he’s powered by the dark side are in for a shock, and those of us that do, already know that the fan favourites of NXT are in for a nasty surprise.
- Apollo Crews – Ok, so Crews didn’t walk out of this week’s NXT with the championship, but technically he did win the match. A win over the NXT Champion is still a feather in the cap of any competitor, even if it is under less than desirable circumstances. Not only that, but Crews proved that he can hang with Balor, and had it not been for the interference of Baron Corbin, we might be talking about a new NXT Champion in this article.
- Baron Corbin – Like it or not, Baron Corbin is a major player for NXT. He has been hovering near the top of the card for months now and it looks like after Wednesday he has chosen to insert himself there y force. Don’t believe for one second that Corbin attacking Apollo Crews was a simple act of vengeance for taking him out of the Battle Royal last week and costing him a shot at the title. This was also a message to Finn Balor that the Lone Wolf was ready to come after the championship. It looks like he might have opened a can of worms with Apollo Crews that he may regret later, but by the end of Wednesday’s broadcast, people knew that sooner or later, Baron Corbin is going to be in the title hunt.
- Finn Balor – A successful title retention for the NXT Champion would usually get him the top spot, but this week there were just too many people making a bigger impact. I’m not trying to say Finn couldn’t cut the mustard this week. After all, he did manage to turn back the challenge of NXT’s popular rookie sensation. Some people might not realize this, but by going the distance with Crews, Finn may have learned a valuable weakness, or a strategy he can use next time they lock up, and despite being beaten down by both Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe, Balor now knows who is coming after him, and can train his razor sharp focus on the nation of violence.
Honorable Mentions & Final Thoughts
It was nice to see Cameron wrestling on TV again, and she definitely has improved since we last saw her…Bull Dempsey really needed a win this week, and he got it, even if it was against an enhancement talent like Angelo Dawkins…Speaking of Dawkins, what will happen to him and his former partner Sawyer Fulton now that it seems like they have gone their separate ways. Last time we saw a break up like this was between Jason Jordan and Tye Dillinger, I’ll leave it up to you to decide who got the better end of that split, and which part is being played by which performer.
This week’s episode of NXT was like eating a spoiled meat sandwich. The bread is delicious but there was nothing good between the buns. I’m usually quick to defend NXT talent who are trying to improve their skills and having to do so in front of a world wide audience, but even I have to admit that the progression of Eva Marie has been hard to watch. I’m not a hater who wants to see her fired, but if WWE is going to treat NXT like a third brand as Triple H has been quoted saying in the past, then they need to second guess putting some of their not ready for prime time players on the show.