Hey, it’s WWE NXT! It’s that little show that’s better than The Big Show!

The show started with the whole roster assembled on the ramp. HHH spoke about Dusty Rhodes, who died the other week, and then led the crowd in silence for a ten-bell salute. Rhodes was a pretty big part of NXT and his death will/has hit the show pretty hard.

After the opening credits had run, Hideo Itami came out to speak to “Greg” in the ring. “Greg” said the doctors have said it will be three-to-four months before Itami can return, and Itami said he couldn’t wait. Itami talks about a promotional tour of Japan to hype The Beast Is In The East, live on the WWE Network (and actually live on Japanese TV, too) on July 4th, and said he will challenge the winner of the Kevin Owens versus Finn Bálor NXT title match.

This brought Kevin Owens out to the top of the ramp, who said it was great that Itami went to Japan to see his wife and children. He said it was too bad that Itami wasn’t competing in Tokyo, but at least he would be able to witness Owens putting Bálor out for good. Owens stumbled over his words a little but made the save by saying he sounded like Itami, whose English is rudimentary.

Owens re-stated that he had nothing to do with Itami’s injury, because if he had done Itami would have ended up like Sami Zayn, and he wanted an apology for being called a bad person.

Itami said Owens was a great champion but a terrible human being, which made Owens say that, if he was being blamed for Itami’s injury, he may as well do it. He headed down to the ring but Finn Bálor cut him off. Bálor threw him off the ramp and was going to dive on top of him but Rhyno appeared and took Bálor out. Good segment.

Hey, it’s Enzo & Big Cass! They came out with Carmella, and Enzo did his usual schpiel, which never disappoints. Cass then cut a talky on their opponents, Jason Jordan and Sylvester LeFort, using the titles of current movies, which didn’t go so well.

So this was short but pretty good. Jordan was protected, with LeFort – making his first appearance in months – taking most of the offense from the good guys. Enzo got the pin, with a surprise schoolboy, on Jordan. Once again Jason Jordan’s partner disappoints him…

They showed a re-cap of last week’s Kevin Owens-Samoa Joe brawl, and then Samoa Joe spoke to WWE.com, and said that they should have let them fight, instead of a ton of goons pulling them apart. “I want Kevin Owens! Let me fight!”

Hey, it’s Dana Brooke! She came down to the ring, accompanied by evil Emma, for a match with Cassie. She armbarred Cassie early doors and then patted her on the head, but Cassie escaped and returned the favour. Cute. Then they had a decent enough match, considering Brooke’s greenness, with Cassie looking good in what little she did. Brooke got the win with the fireman’s carry sit-out slam. She needs to stop posing so much.

Backstage, Devin Taylor spoke to Charlotte. She cut a talky on Dana Brooke, specifically Brooke’s accusations of nepotism against her. She was fiery and better than in recent talkies.

They showed part 2 of the “Who Is Finn Bálor?” video. This week was all about New Japan Pro-Wrestling – with a ton of footage used – and his friendships with other wrestlers, particularly Sami Zayn (who he discussed his love of Lego with) and Jason Albert, who was there in Japan when he first arrived and took him under his wing. More good stuff, fleshing out the slight Bálor personality.

The announcers discussed photos of Bull Dempsey on Instagram where he was asleep, often covered in food. It’s a living, I guess.

Hey, it’s Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley! They are the HYPE BROS! They came out to fight Angelo Sawkins & Sawyer Fulton, who were being primed for an amateur wrestling stable but now who knows what they are.

This was a short, fun match, with Ryder & Rawley looking good as a team. Oh, as a note, the Bálor video had a very unhyped Mojo Rawley in the background of one shot. What a blooper! Anyway, Rawley got the pin after Ryder hit a top-rope Rough Ryder on Fulton.

Backstage, William Regal was in his office, looking at his ‘phone, presumably at pictures of Bull Dempsey. Eva Marie walked in and aaked for a match on the show but he said that, although he knew she’d been putting in a lot of hard work, she had to prove she deserved a place in NXT.

They showed an extended version of the Finn Bálor Demon video, hyping the Tokyo show on July 4th.

Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Finn Bálor versus Rhyno! BUT! instead of Rhyno, Kevin Owens came out. However, he turned left rather than going down to the ring and joined the commentary team, and then Rhyno came out for the match. Owens was a hoot on commentary, bullying Byron Saxton & Rich Brennan, while Corey Graves sucked up to him.

So Bálor and Rhyno had a match, and it was an okay match, with Rhyno taking Bálor apart early doors. Bálor made his comeback and went up top to hit the Coup de Grace but Owens walked down the ramp and got up on the apron. Bálor dropkicked him to the floor and then turned round into a belly-to-belly from Rhyno.

Rhyno went to hit the Gore but Bálor kicked him in the face, hit a slingblade, and then the Coup de Grace for the win. After the match, Owens got in the ring and he & Rhyno put the boots to Bálor. Suddenly, Samoa Joe ran down to break up the beating and he stood over Bálor as Owens & Rhyno took a powder. And that’s your show!

This was a Decent Show. It wasn’t outstanding but had some good in-ring and furthered the storylines well. The “Who Is Finn Bálor?” segment is great and, given they have a whole network for this kind of thing, there’s no excuse for not doing more of it to flesh out the minor players.

By Alan Boon

Alan Boon is stranded in provincial suburbia. He escapes by watching men in small pants pretend to fight, and motorbikes racing four laps around a small oval track. He has child- and cat-related insomnia.

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