NXT Episode 304 Review

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            Hello everyone and welcome to the NXT Episode 304 review! As you can tell from my PWG review, I have been itching to break away from my usual review subjects and do something new. This is why I am reviewing this episode. I was convinced to watch it because of some rave reviews I had read, but really I just want a breath of fresh air writing about an hour of wrestling from a place I have not reviewed enough. To be honest, I haven’t kept up with NXT TV since February, and have only had time to watch the WWE Network specials. I wanted to rectify that to a certain degree, especially since I planned to do this when this site was first created, and I have improved so much since then. Overall, with the recent debut of James Storm in NXT and a pretty cool main event, I cannot wait to start this. Lets get the review underway!

We start with the normal NXT video package, and the crowd chanting NXT. We are welcomed and the two biggest matches are run down. Both are given a reason to exist, which is very novel in a company under the WWE umbrella. We go to our first match, which is…

Emma vs. Shazza

Emma (w/ Dana Brooke) vs. Shazza

            I find it interesting that Dana Brooke and Emma have been apart of two recent NXT Women’s Division debuts recently. I wonder if they (Emma in particular) are seen as gatekeepers, or it is just coincidence. As for the match, Emma did a great job being a bully, and the “Evil Emma” character suits her very well. The way she tossed around Shazza without a care was great, and she just comes off as pretty unlikeable. Shazza sold well, but that’s about all she did. It was essentially just a squash so Emma and Brooke can have some momentum after fighting Asuka. I will give this match bonus points, however, for Emma working over the hair, which is something I have never seen before. Other than that, though, this match is entirely forgettable.

Rating: *¼

James Storm Interview

The commentators, Rich Brennan, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxon, kind of introduce themselves and recap James Storm’s NXT debut. Seeing James Storm in WWE is one of the most surreal things I have seen in wrestling. James Storm’s interview after his first NXT match is shown, and he seems legitimately excited, and cuts a great promo establishing his personality.

Finn Bálor is hyped, and a great video package recapping his career and hyping him. What a great job by the WWE’s editing team. It is so good. Next week is main evented by Finn Bálor vs. Apollo Crews. Expect that in a RMR in the future, because I am HYPED. Next up is…

Gable & Jordan vs. Ciampa & Gargano

Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa

            This was as good as a TV tag team match gets. It was the old cliché formula done a thousand times, but it was done especially well here. All these four added something to this match, and are vital to how it played out. Gable got beaten down during the heat and got the crowd so invested in the match. Gargano pulled incredibly crisp spots and sequences with both Jordan and Gable, which made the match that much better. Ciampa played sort of a bruiser, and used some beefy shots to stand out from the crowd. Jordan made the comeback and ran wild with lots of fire and intensity. Everything, from the opening knuckle lock sequence, to Gargano’s incredibly fun spots, to the heat segment was done well. The only thing missing that keeps this from going any higher is the lack of a real dramatic finishing sequence to put a bow on the match. This is still worth watching, however, and everyone should go out of their way to see this.

Rating: ***½

Bayley Interview

Next we find Bayley backstage for an interview, and she responds to Alexa Bliss by saying that she is a role model and has stayed the same. Not a bad promo, but nothing earth shattering. Nia Jax’s second match in NXT is hyped, and, soon after is…

Kay Lee Ray vs. Nia Jax

Kay Lee Ray vs. Nia Jax

            This was a nothing match that had no impact on me. I mean, Nia dominated, Kay Lee got a surprising amount of offense, and then the match ended. Kay Lee was far and away the better wrestler, though, and it seems Nia is still very green. She never did anything remotely advanced, and was never all that good, while Ray did her best to bump around Jax and try to do something. Jax kinda just stood around for a bit while Ray did stuff, which is not a comforting sign. Also, Jax’s finisher looks awful. Overall nothing match, where Nia Jax does the exact opposite of impress.

Rating: *

They then recap last week when Enzo and Cass beat Dash and Dawson, and the 21st Cetury Brainbusters attack them post bell. Next is…

Dash & Dawson vs. Enzo & Cassidy

Colin Cassidy & Enzo Amore (w/ Carmella) vs. Dash & Dawson

            Dash & Dawson attack Amore & Cassidy pre-bell, and assault Cassidy’s leg. Referees and doctors check on Cassidy. Dash & Dawson mock Cassidy as they exit the arena. This was a decent enough segment to advance the feud, and I have no qualms with it. As the bell never rung and the match never occurred, I cannot rate it, even though it was good.

Rating: N/A

Alexa Bliss Interview

            Alexa Bliss is backstage with Blake & Murphy, and Bliss challenges Bayley to a six man tag match with her, Blake, & Murphy. Her guys, however, just giggle like complete goons in the background. Next week’s main event is again hyped, and Apollo Crews’ journey is recapped in a similar way to Finn earlier. Crews is just the most charming guy, and he could seriously be a main eventer in WWE in the future. He has the charisma, the mic skills, the look, and the in ring. Give him the world. Finally, its time for the MAIN EVENT!

Samoa Joe vs. Tyler Breeze

Tyler Breeze vs. Samoa Joe

This was an overall a good match, and the perfect main event to a very solid. Breeze was a very good cowardly heel, and tried to avoid Joe’s devastating offense early, but Joe’s elbow suicida turned the tables. Other than that, this match was the basic heat, comeback, finish match executed very well. Since Joe is one of the best of the 21st century and Breeze is a very solid hand, it was nearly impossible for this match to be poorly executed. The action was all solid with no botches, the heat had constant action, Breeze only resorted to one very brief rest hold, and the finishing sequence was fun as hell. As this may be Tyler’s final match in NXT before going to the main roster full-time, this was a good sendoff and a good goodbye. While this was a pretty standard match in its structure, the execution made it very fun, and a breeze (pun intended) to watch.

Rating: ***¼

Finn Bálor Interview

            Backstage, Finn Bálor is interviewed and hypes his match with Crews next week. He says he respects Apollo, but he will win. Close curtain.

Overall:

            This show was a hell of a lot of fun! NXT this week built well to next week, forwarded all the current feuds, and gave enough quality wrestling to satisfy. The tag match was clearly the MOTN, but the main event wasn’t too far behind. Overall, this was a solid hour of wrestling that is surely worth a watch.

Rating: ***

That was the NXT Episode 304 review. This was a fun show, so if you have the WWE Network, watch it now. As for this site, I want to review Hell in a Cell under a week after it occurred, so I will watch it today, and into Saturday. After that, I will return to PWG and try to watch BOLA Stage 2 if my schedule allows it. Once I return from my excursion to PWG, I will return to NWA & WCW for the Starrcade 1990 review. A RMR may come out soon as well. Other than that, my contacts are here or at the sidebar to the left, and I do writing for Free Pro Wrestling if you want to check it out. My first review is here, and I plan to do many more in the future. Other than that, thank you for reading, and I hope to see you next time!

-Terrance Smith

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