By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Adrian Neville def. Wesley Blake
Blake wasn't your typical enhancement talent, as he appeared to have a cowboy gimmick. He was pretty generic aside from that, but at least he held his own against Neville. It was a basic showcase for Neville, who was extremely over with the Full Sail University crowd. His brief feud with Tyler Breeze already appears to be over and he now looks to reset his sights on the NXT Championship.
Alexander Rusev def. Xavier Woods
This was better than their first encounter from a few weeks ago (which was no more than a minute long), but not by much. Woods was able to score some offense on Rusev this time around, but the ending result was still never in doubt. It is such a shame that Woods is being saddled with Brodus Clay's old gimmick. Why not have him establish his own identity? Sin Cara received a mild reaction upon making the save for Woods, and I don't blame the live crowd at all. Fans have been given very little reason to care about Sin Cara as of late, but at least he can take a loss by Rusev and not be hurt by it (what damage is there left to be done?). What happened to Rusev's apparent feud with Kingston?
Antonio Cesaro def. CJ Parker
Backstage officials were really asking for Parker to get booed when they put him up against Cesaro. I mean, did they expect anything different? I said this during his feud with Tyler Breeze, but I will say it again: there is absolutely no way that Parker is going to get favored over a Full Sail University favorite. Then again, they favor most heels, so maybe there is no hope for Parker unless he turns heel because his gimmick is deplorable. The match was fine for what it was, but it was just another win for Cesaro. The intriguing part came after the match had already ended when Sami Zayn challenged Cesaro to a 2-out-3 Falls rematch. Cesaro refusing the challenge did more to garner him heat than anything else he could have done. I am sure the match will be set in stone at some point, but it is smart to slowly build towards it since it is expected to occur during the week of the launch of the WWE Network one month from now.
Natalya def. Summer Rae
It was a good match by Divas standards, but decent at best by NXT standards. Natayla has had great matches with both Paige and Emma in the last month, so this match was a bit of a letdown compared to both of those bouts. Had it been given more time, it might have been better, but they made the most out of the time they were allotted. Natalya has already been beaten clean by both Paige and Emma, so I am fine with her defeating Summer. Speaking of Paige and Emma, why hasn't the build for their eventual title match already begun?
Adrian Neville Interrupted NXT Champion Bo Dallas' Championship Celebration
I honestly never thought I would say this, but Dallas has become the single most entertaining act in all of NXT. He is very convincing in his role and has transformed his go-away heat into actual hatred heat. Neville has also struggled on the mic, but he cut an exceptional promo here and got his point across well. The segment was also a nice tie-in to their subsequent matchup. By the way, why was Triple H the one to make the announcement and not the NXT General Manager JBL? When was the last time JBL was on NXT anyway?
Adrian Neville Outlasted NXT Champion Bo Dallas in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match (Non-title)
I liked the concept of this match. Not only did it play off Neville's initial No. 1 contender's match from a few months back, but it was a nice preview of what to expect in their title rematch next month. Dallas didn't get beat by Neville, and he didn't need to be. I would have preferred this match to happen next week so it wouldn't make Dallas look sympathetic (he wasn't even in his regular attire), but that is just nitpicking things. I look forward to their rematch for the championship on February 27 and I have a feeling that it will be night that Neville finally captures the gold.
This show pretty much built towards the February 27 show on the WWE Network with the announcement of two big matches. For once, none of the matches were worth going out of your way to see, as none of them were given enough time to feel memorable. However, I am glad to see WWE hyping their live special on the WWE Network one month out and building up anticipation because it promises to be one of the biggest nights in the history of NXT.
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