So NXT rolled through my crappy home town on the last night of their UK tour and I managed to snap up a couple of tickets.
I'd put the crowd at about 3,500 or so. The show was officially sold out but there were a few scattered empty seats, including 4 immediately next to me at kinda ringside.
Beforehand, we waited around like a bunch of losers for everyone to arrive and when they did, I managed to get a picture (and hug) with Bayley. It was tremendous. She smelled terrific. Like hope and opportunity. Like America.
Once we were inside, they showed a video of the Top 10 catchphrases of the decade which I think they uploaded on YouTube recently. Roman Reigns is universally unpopular.
After Dasha Fuentes came out to pump up the crowd and introduce the first match, Hugo Knox vs (Wesley) Blake. Knox has got this weird breakdancing gimmick going and has muscles in places where other people don't have places. Despite this, the guy can sure move around the ring. I was pleasantly surprised. Blake played his part well. Knox won with a split-legged moonsault.
Up next was Alexander Wolfe (w/ Sawyer Fulton) vs Angelo Dawkins. Wolfe and Fulton have this post-apocalyptic Ascension/Mad Max look. Angelo Dawkins was over with the crowd, despite confusion over whether he was heel or face. He played face tonight. Fulton was ejected from ringside, but ran back down to distract the ref which led to Wolfe raking the eyes and rolling up Dawkins for the win.
Peyton Royce and Alexa Bliss vs Carmella and Bayley. Peyton Royce's personality seems to be extend to "I carry a flower to the ring" and that's it. Alexa is impossibly tiny in person. Carmella is the Princess of Plymouth, apparently. And Bayley is just OVER. Bayley wins with belly-to-Bayley.
Bobby Roode vs No Way Jose. Roode got a sizeable ovation coming out, despite his dreadful entrance music. It doesn't suit him at all, especially with the whole Flair-esqué robe thing he's doing at the moment. No Way Jose is a lot of fun. There was some comedy to begin with, then things got serious. Jose got a CLOSE two-count with that weird baseball punch of his, but when he went for the cobra clutch slam, Roode countered into a HUGE spinebuster for the win.
Tye Dillinger vs Andrade Alma. Dillinger cut a babyface promo before heeling it up big time. He still got cheered. Alma has some flashy offence, for sure, but they can't expect a new guy to work face against someone as over as Tye and get over. Good effort by both guys though. Alma won with the double moonsault thing he did at Takeover.
Intermission. Why not take this opportunity to get your official signed match card poster for £50? Because £50, that's why.
We return with a Tag Team Title match, The Revival defending against American Alpha. Huge Gable/Jordan chants, as you might expect. After they threw their shirts to the crowd, Dawson went to do the same thing to a small kid head to toe in Cena gear in the front row, but threw it behind him and told the kid "you can't see me". Always funny. Revival were dq'ed after Dash was hit with Grand Amplitude but Dawson crawled under the ring to pull the ref out before counting the three.
Asuka vs Nia Jax for the women's title. This was pretty much identical to their Takeover match, right down to the finish with Jax screaming at Asuka before eating a kick to the head.
The main event was Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura vs Austin Aries and Samoa Joe. Nakamura could walk into the ring with a basketful of puppies, kill them all one by one and STILL be the most popular and charismatic guy of the night. Aries ate a Kinshasa and Coup de Grace for the win.
After the match, Balor took the mic to thank everybody and he talked about their schedule for the last two weeks. Damn. Shinsuke got on the mic and led the crowd in a "Yeaoh" shout.
Hung around afterwards on the off chance of meeting some of the wrestlers. Nia Jax and Alexa are freaking BEAUTIFUL in person. Jose and Dillinger had a stare off that turned into a dance off. Joe gave us all some quality stink eye.
Good night, good fun. If NXT are rolling through your town, definitely go.