NXT kicks off with Tony Luftman interviewing Jinder Mahal backstage. They are discussing his place as No. 1 Contender for the NXT Championship when Bo Dallas interrupts. He coaxes Mahal into putting up his No. 1 Contender spot in a match later in the evening.
Back in the NXT arena, Tony Luftman and Tom Hannafin are on commentary and we're ready for our opening bout.
The Ascension vs. Yoshi Tatsu and Percy Watson (match length 2:56)
If I remember correctly, this is the first time The Ascension have actually had a match since I started covering NXT. They sure do have a lot of hype; hopefully they can live up to that on this week's NXT. I'm not completely sure about Percy Watson, but Tatsu is a solid worker that should only serve to make The Ascension look even better.
As expected, Conor O'Brian and Kenneth Cameron dominate almost the entire match. While Tatsu gets in about 20 seconds' worth of offense, The Ascension came off looking incredibly strong. They have power, athleticism and great tag team chemistry. They win the match with the Fall of Man.
Backstage, Layla and Aksana try to talk trash in front of a vanity mirror, announcing that they have a match later in the show.
When we return from commercial break, Jim Ross has replaced Tony Luftman on commentary, and we're ready for our next match.
Corey Graves vs. Oliver Gray (match length 4:13)
The heavily tattooed Graves dominates the opening minutes of the match, as Hannafin informs us that Graves is big into underground music and body modification. He looks a lot like Jeff Hardy, if you ask me. Gray, a British grappler in the same tradition as greats like William Regal, doesn't stand much of a chance. Looking like Jack Swagger's mini-me, Graves makes short work of him and forces him to tap.
After a Big E. Langston video package, he is interviewed by Tony Luftman on the ramp in the NXT arena. They are discussing the bounty that Vickie Guerrero put on Langston's head. He needs something of a makeover before coming to WWE, as his promos are still flat and his attire screams "Nation of Domination."
Camacho comes out in an attempt to collect Vickie's $5000 reward, but Langston easily fends him off. With that, we head to another commercial break.
Layla vs. Aksana (match length 5:22)
I'm not a huge fan of the WWE Divas division as of late, so it seems appropriate to me that two of the four women involved with the WWE Divas Championship storyline are competing on a show that is generally reserved for those who aren't getting over and/or aren't getting things done in the ring.
Truth be told, this match was better than anything I remember seeing on Raw or SmackDown, as far as the Divas are concerned. It seems like NXT Divas matches are always better than those on Raw or SmackDown.
Although Aksana actually had the upper hand for most of the match, Layla lands a kick to the back of Aksana's head that was good enough to score a pinfall.
After the match, we are treated to a pre-recorded segment featuring Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. They appear to be in a field somewhere, with Wyatt preaching as if he is literally God. The entire time, Wyatt is looking at an empty space, talking as if an entire congregation is hanging on his every word. Harper sits off to the side—Wyatt never acknowledges him.
Roman Reigns vs. Chase Donovan (match length 2:41)
Reigns returns after making his debut last week, as Luftman claims that people have been calling him the "LeBron James of professional wrestling." I know some people are impressed, but it's much too early to make a call like that.
Donovan never really had a chance, as Reigns dominated this brief match. Reigns forced Byron Saxton to re-announce him as the winner with "The Thoroughbred" preceding his name. Reigns made him repeat it one more time, claiming that Saxton wasn't enthusiastic enough.
No. 1 Contender's Match
Jinder Mahal vs. Bo Dallas (televised match length 13:25-)
When Jinder Mahal won the Fatal Four-Way match last week, I was under the impression that his title match would take place this week. Clearly, I was wrong. The first few minutes are filled with the standard ebb-and-flow that a main event match starts with, both men feeling each other out, looking for a chance to take the advantage.
Of course, with good ol' JR on commentary, the match barely starts before we hear a Blackjack Mulligan reference with an I.R.S. afterthought. Mahal leaves the ring to regroup as we head to the commercial break.
Less than a minute after we return from the break, JR makes another Blackjack Mulligan comment. After several minutes of solid wrestling, Mahal gets the clean victory with the Camel Clutch. He starts to abuse Dallas post-match, but Seth Rollins makes the save. They give no date for the future title match.
Prediction: Byron Saxton will be the next Michael Cole/Josh Matthews/Matt Striker. In other words, as soon as they need a utility man to fill in for commentary and interviews, Scott will get the call up.
Question: Paige was mentioned twice in this week's episode (once during the Divas match, and once again during the main event). Why did we not at least get to see a vignette for Paige, if not a match? Why not bring her out during the Layla/Aksana match to help show her dominance among the NXT women?