A new name inserted himself into the discussion of which WWE NXT prospects are most on the rise.
Fans are used to hearing Aiden English and Tyler Breeze's names in this context, but Jason Jordan took a step toward those two. Jordan made the most upward movement in the week following NXT Takeover.
After that spectacular event, NXT returned to old rivalries and hinted at a change to the top of the tag team division.
English faced Mojo Rawley once more. Breeze called out the NXT champ. Bayley found herself under Charlotte's foot again.
In the process, several prospects displayed improved talents, while others made little progress. In the race to be the next NXT-to-WWE success story, the following wrestlers either sped up, slowed down or ran in place.
Aiden English: Stock Up
English has found an ally in Simon Gotch. NXT paired the two in tag team action at house shows over the week, dubbing them "The Vaudevillains."
The new partnership will definitely elevate Gotch's profile as he hasn't even appeared on NXT yet. It's an upward move for English as well.
With as thin as NXT's tag team division is, it will take little time to climb to its top tier.
That will lead to added opportunities. Teaming with "The Gentleman Bruiser" will also afford him a chance to do more backstage skits as NXT showcases the duo's old-timey aura.
English helped himself further with a strong showing against Mojo Rawley on Thursday's NXT.
Their previous battle saw nothing new from "The Artiste." Rawley was the bigger star in that bout, but the reverse was true here.
Rawley picked up the win, but before that, English exuded confidence in the ring. His showmanship was even more impressive than his grappling. His facial expressions added a welcome element to the match.
He trash-talked Rawley mid-bout and sold even better than he usually does.
It's these subtleties where English can surpass his peers thanks to his acting background. WWE officials will want to see more of this without him going to the point of being over the top.
Mojo Rawley: Stock Down
The hyped one reminded us just how raw he is.
While his opponent on Thursday's NXT looked sharper than he did in their last collision, Rawley took a small step backward. That's mostly due to his handle on how much to sell.
At times, he overreacted to lesser moves and seemed unsure of himself as he wobbled dramatically in the corner. It's clear that he's learning the craft and looking to implement this part of the game, but he's far from elite at it right now.
He offered a well-executed clothesline but little else in the way of highlights. There wasn't the usual spark in his match—something he relies heavily on.
His limited move set is holding him back. It's going to take varying his in-ring arsenal to allow him to better tell a story in the ring.
He's trying to paint a landscape with a single color right now.
Jason Jordan: Stock Up
Tye Dillinger's tag team partner compelled fans and WWE officials to pay attention to him on Thursday's NXT.
Dillinger and Jordan took on two unknowns in Phillip Gooljar and Stewart Cumberland. Jordan was far and away the best athlete in the ring. Dillinger had strong moments, but Jordan was more magnetic.
He was aggressive on the mat, armed with plenty of swagger, and his offense had a snap to it.
This match was clearly meant to be a showcase of this rising tag team, as NXT hopes to build up contenders for The Ascension. William Regal did well in selling Jordan and Dillinger's chances of dethroning the champs. That's a good sign for "JJ" and Dillinger, as the company seems to be intent on making them the new No. 1 contenders.
Jordan hasn't been one of the most talked-about prospects, but with more performances like this one, he forces that to change.
Bayley: Stock Even
In a bout against the newly crowned women's champ, Bayley had as many highs as she did lows.
It was her strikes that dragged down her performance opposite Charlotte. She threw weak punches atop her foe and later was too soft with a back elbow. Her character isn't one of an ass-kicker like Paige, but she needs to work on how realistic these blows look.
Balancing that out, Bayley impressed with good selling and emoting.
When trapped in Charlotte's figure-four headlock, she writhed in desperation. It made the hold look powerful and added drama to her attempt to escape. Later in the match, she became frustrated when she failed to get a three-count.
That emotion felt plenty real.
This part of the wrestling craft is harder to teach. Getting her to pop her opponents a touch harder is an easy fix.
Tyler Breeze: Stock Up
"Prince Pretty" improves on the mic each time it's offered to him.
Before debuting his music video, Breeze showed off good timing and presence when addressing the crowd. He mentioned Sami Zayn, and fans began to chant "Ole!" He then gave them just enough time to have their moment before stepping back into his speech.
He called Adrian Neville "The Man That Maybelline Forgot" in what was an amusing performance.
Breeze could have used more oomph in his voice at times, though. Of course, his gimmick asks him to speak softly, but he can still speak with more confidence and further emphasize parts of his promo.
The video itself was entertainingly ridiculous. He seems to be having more fun with the character each week and continues to refine it.
His fake crying afterward was an excellent touch.
As NXT builds toward the eventual Breeze vs. Neville matchup, "The Gorgeous One" will get more shots like this one to seduce the audience via his words. That skill is advancing, just as his in-ring skills are.
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