NXT Review 2/14/18: No Arm, No Foul

NXT FEBRUARY 14TH 2018

WWE UNITED KINGDOM CHAMPIONSHIP
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Roderick Strong
This was obviously far from bad, but I had some issues. They kept the match even the entire way, which meant they never really built much in the way of drama. It also didn’t allow for Dunne to be as much of a jerk as he usually is, or Strong to be established as the underdog babyface like in his NXT Title matches last year. For most of the match, it was just two guys doing things. Good things, but not things that completely hooked me. Dunne did go after Strong’s hand, arm and wrist at points throughout the match and it eventually started to pay off a bit towards the end, as it slowed down Strong going for covers. They exchanged moves for some time in the closing stretch and it did feel grueling by the end of it. Dunne ended up winning with the Bitter End after snapping Strong’s fingers to avoid a submission. Solid and another strong defence for Dunne, but I just felt it was lacking something emotively that it could so easily have had as well to be truly memorable.

Hype video for Gargano and Almas’s rematch next week.

Dream was interviewed backstage by the random media, where he commented on facing No Way Jose next week, before he talked about a match with Tyler Bate. Now, I don’t know if this was a match that was already set up and I just missed something, or Dream just randomly challenged him here with no provocation, because it really wasn’t made clear. But I guess they’re doing Bate/Dream at some point. I love Dream, but they need to tighten up his promos a bit. Or, I need to be less confused. One of the two.

Aleister Black came out. They gave him an entrance from a different position in the building than the stage, which was a cool little thing. Black, in a very, very roundabout way that made someone in the crowd shout “what are you talking about!?” mid-promo, said that he was driven by the NXT Championship, before being interrupted by Killian Dain. Dain said the devil wasn’t on Black’s back, he was and he wouldn’t stop until the NXT Championship was around his waist. Dain went to leave and Black said that he crossed him, so now he must fade to black. This was a bit awkward, because the flowery dialogue clearly didn’t work on this crowd.

TM61 vs. Andrew Duckworth and Jon Skyler
Simple win for TM61. Their opponents did briefly try to target Thorne’s braced knee, but it didn’t really get them anywhere and Skyler was put away with Thunder Valley.

NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
Ember came out hot and overwhelmed Baszler, but when she teased going for the Eclipse Shayna rolled outside and when Ember hit a dive instead, they crashed into the announce table and Ember re-injured her arm. That allowed Baszler to take over and work the arm. They repeated the roll-up spot again but Baszler kicked out this time and went right back to the arm. She threw Ember into the post and used the barricade to further injure the arm, until Kairi Sane showed up and made the save, attacking Shayna for the DQ. I really thought Baszler was winning here and they were making good on the Takeover match people didn’t like, but I guess not. Sane cleared the ring of Baszler and caught her with a spear when she tried a sneak attack.

 

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Maybe I was just in a bit of an obtuse mood watching this, but I had some gripes with pretty much everything on the show and nothing really landed like it could or should have. Despite my misgivings, Strong and Dunne was worth watching though.

NXT WEEK: Almas versus Gargano II, title versus NXT career and Velveteen Dream against No Way Jose.

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