By: Liam Barrett
DISCLAIMER: These will never go up in a timely fashion. I live in the UK, new NXT isn’t shown over here until way after Midnight, and frankly I can think of a million better things to do in the small hours than watch a weekly wrestling show that isn’t live in the first place. These NXT Report shall be good if not immediate..
MATCH ONE: CARMELLA Vs. PEYTON ROYCE
Peyton Royce is Lance Storm-trainee KC Cassidy who, according to Wikipedia, was once billed as being from Bitchville, Australia. I need to follow the indies in greater detail. They’re acting like this is her debut, but apparently she was fed to Sasha Banks under her old ringname back in May. This match is a good use of your Carmella. She’s still not at a point where she can mix with the upper levels of NXT’s Women’s Division, and probably won’t be for a while, but she’s improved to the point where you can start having her beat a bunch of no-names. At least she’s not being used to put over Eva Marie. That is not a good use of your Carmella.
They touch hands at the bell. WWE is determined Carmella is a Babyface even though it’s obvious she’s going to be a Heel eventually. Very basic headlocky/headscissory stuff to start. Carmella Moonwalks, which gets a response from the crowd, then hits Royce with a terrible Atomic Drop and an awkward one-legged dropkick. Somebody convince her to stop using the Atomic Drop. It’s the only part of her act that’s getting worse not better. Peyton Royce with a lovely Fisherman’s Suplex for a two. LONG headlock, so long that Rich Brennen and Corey Graves run out of things to say, leading to a very awkward pause.
Carmella’s turn to impress next with a nice middle-rope Hurricanrana, leading to another long headlock. She’s still learning her craft, so I’m okay with this, but I also would have been okay with a shorter match featuring one less headlock. Someone tries to start a Carmella chant during this, incidentally. I hope he was doing it ironically. Spinning kick into the corner from Peyton, followed by another kick where her foot goes between the first and second rope to nail Carmella in the back. That spot will become very impressive once she gains confidence. Then Carmella lands her Headscissors submission thing out of nowhere for the win. Nothing for either wrestler to be ashamed of here.
Samoa Joe asks Finn Balor if he’s ready backstage. Long story short he says he is, then goes to leave, before Joe stops him and hands him the NXT Title. I know why they did this, so Joe could get his hands on the belt and subtly, maybe TOO subtly, look at it longingly, but as Corey Graves says at the end of this, how can Balor say he’s ready when he almost forgot his title? It’s also worth asking where they’re going, their match isn’t for another forty minutes and it’s not even happening in this building. Either way, Balor/Joe seems to be on.
We then get results and low-quality footage of some Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic matches that have been taking place at non-televised NXT live events. Giving people matches that will lead to stuff playing out on television in order to get them to attend a house show. What a concept. Have I mentioned how much I love the fact that NXT is doing a tag team tournament just because? I know it’s not really “just because,” they’re doing it to honour Dusty, but they didn’t need to do a tag tournament to do that. They’re doing one because they felt like it and it’s great. Anyway: Enzo & Big Cass beat Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton; Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson with their Brainbusters jackets knocked off Tucker Knight and Elias Samson.
Eric Bischoff is going to provide commentary over the Monday Night Wars Volume 2 DVD set, which is basically just incentive for you to go out and buy something you can watch any time you want on The Network. TNA seemingly took revenge on him for going there and doing bugger all by ageing him fifteen years in four.
Nia Jax teaser. I like her already because her logo reminds me a bit of the one for Drive.
MATCH TWO: TYLER BREEZE & BULL DEMPSEY Vs. JOHNNY GARGANO & TOMMASO CIAMPA
DUSTY RHODES TAG CLASSIC ROUND ONE MATCH
Gargano and Ciampa’s tron is SO low rent, and nobody can decide if Tommaso’s last name is pronounced “Champ-A” or “Chomp-A.”
The story of the match is Tyler has a bad day at the office and has to keep tagging Bull in to save himself. Tommaso slaps Breeze REALLY FUCKING HARD at the very start. If this were 1989 and Breeze were Rick Martel, he’d have walked out on the match. Gargano is clearly trying to impress, nailing a Slingshot Spear through the middle rope to the inside and a roll-through kick to the face. That move’s a little too much like Kalisto’s, but I suppose it doesn’t count now he’s main roster. Beautiful jumping Neckbreaker. Definitely trying to turn heads.
Johnny tries a Crossbody on Dempsey and just bounces off. Bull has transitioned into his new comedy role well, his facial expressions are so good I can’t believe they asked him to scowl and nothing else for well over a year. Utterly GORGEOUS Inziguri from Gargano leads to a Tommaso tag, so he and Bull can be rugged with each other for a bit.
Commercial, during which we get a really weird supposed anti-bullying thing where the main focus seems to be showing people fawning all over Roman Reigns. It’s the sort of shameless they haven’t been in quite some time.
After that nonsense, back to the action. Gargano MURDERS Breeze with a Dropkick to the face when all he’s doing is standing around on the apron. No sooner does he pull himself back up than Bull knocks him down again, leading to Gargano and Ciampa nailing their honestly a bit too convoluted double roll-up finisher for the win to advance. Not the workrate spectacle many were probably hoping for, but the new guys were definitely booked to be the stars here, and won because they were a well-oiled team. Graves sarcastically laments that this is the end of Breeze and Bull as a team. He’s on something of a roll tonight.
Breeze predictably turns on Dempsey at the end. I think he might have been properly pissed off, because he legitimately kicks the FUCK out of poor Bull. This doesn’t look fun to take. So I guess we’re getting these two going forward. Bit of a downgrade for Tyler, honestly.
Lucha Dragons promo hyping the main event. Kalisto translates for HuniCara. Fire-breathing is mentioned, Dusty Rhodes is invoked. I’m always sad HuniCara doesn’t roll his mask halfway up his face like Spider-Man when he talks. I also think he goes to do their air-pointing thing early before Kalisto stops him. He nearly botched a to-camera segment. The curse continues.
Dana Brooke interview. She says something about not going to the Arnold Classic so she could become the best female wrestler in the world. This woman’s voice cuts right through me.
WWE ’16 Ad. Stone Cold digs his old Smoking Skull WWF Title belt up in the middle of a corn field. He then throws it over his shoulder and glares at the viewer. This was way too cool just to advertise a video game.
Video package hyping Tye Dillinger and his Perfect 10 gimmick. Somebody noticed how much they loved him in Brooklyn.
MATCH THREE: BILLY KAY Vs. DANA BROOKE
Billy Kay is another Aussie. Lots of Australian women on this show right now. Maybe they’re going to put them with Emma. If this were Raw or Smackdown I’d say that was too obvious, but NXT isn’t afraid to be obvious if they think it’ll be good. Rich Brennen makes note of how long Kay’s legs are, Graves compliments Dana’s hair. It’s becoming fairly obvious that he really likes women’s hair.
Dana Brooke looks impressive, and she’s got talent in the ring, but this went on far too long for her to come across as anything special, and in the opposite of the Carmella match at the start the crowd get quieter the longer it goes. The commentary is also partially focused on OTHER PEOPLE they think deserve a shot at Bayley, which seems to hint that Brooke might be in for a wait.
There’s some good stuff on show in this. Billy Kay nails a really nice big boot, and Dana an impressive Headscissors move where she uses her upper body strength to slam the back of her opponent’s head into the mat. That should be her finisher, were it not for the fact that Carmella uses a Headscissors as hers. As it stands, she ends things with her over-the-shoulders slam, and that’s it. This was the definition of alright.
Apollo Crews interview. He grins a lot and dubs his fans the Apollo Nation. Top quality pandering there.
Trailer for 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown, starring Dean Ambrose. Standard straight-to-video bilge, but if nothing else Dean doesn’t look embarrassing in the footage we see him in. The twelve rounds in the title seems to be in reference to how many bullets Ambrose’s character has to spare, incidentally.
Segment where Bayley meets her biggest fan, Izzie. There’s hugging. The kid is cute. Bayley is cute. This is cute. Bayley is back next week.
And then, just like that, we’re thrown over to Rhode Island, with Todd Phillips and An Uso on commentary. It wasn’t like this was just thrust upon us, but to say going from watching NXT to what now felt like just another WWE C show was jarring would be an understatement.
MAIN EVENT: THE LUCHA DRAGONS Vs. SAMOA JOE AND FINN BALOR
DUSTY RHODES TAG CLASSIC FIRST ROUND
I don’t know how I feel about the leather jacket Balor comes out in when not painted up. It straddles the line between cool and lame.
We get a “THIS IS AWESOME” chant during one of the first moves of the match, which is an Arm-Wringer. Fucking hell these tapings must have been bad up to this point. Smooth chain wrestling to start between Finn and HuniCara, before Balor nails him with a nice Dropkick and a Slingblade, thwarting a Kalisto run-in between them for good measure. Tonight’s been a night for superior Dropkicks, Carmella excepted. Balor dives over the top onto both Dragons. He’s getting his stuff in unusually early. He also from this point forward appears to be bleeding from the neck and I don’t know how. It looks like a vampire bit him. Maybe he really is a demon now.
Promo for NXT’s UK tour during the “commercial break.” I love how it’s Hunter doing these and not, say, an actual NXT performer. “Please keep associating me with The Good Thing.”
We come back and Joe unceremoniously rams HuniCara’s head into the turnbuckle as if to say, “The flashy shit is over for a bit.” The Dragons finally get a look in when HuniCara hits Finn with a Tiltawhirl Backbreaker. Crowd are a bit dead for the Dragons’ offence. This probably would have felt a slightly bigger deal at Full Sail. They wouldn’t have believed The Dragons stood any more of a chance than these people do, but they’d have fun and play along.
They do their spot where HuniCara Monkey Flips Kalisto onto their opponent for a pin attempt, which isn’t their finisher for reasons I can’t explain. Balor rallies and gets the hot tag to Joe, who goes apeshit. He’s clearly the next NXT Title contender, they’re keeping him SO strong. HuniCara botches a Tornado DDT. THE CURSE. He redeems himself with a beautiful Lionsault onto Balor, but then seemingly screws up a Sunset Flip on Joe. It’s all delaying the inevitable though, as Joe kills Kalisto with an STO and Muscle Busters him, setting him up for Balor’s Gumba Stomp for the three. Good match.
Then the show ends without so much as a goodbye.
This was a slightly average NXT. The wrestling was largely nothing special, but we had a solid debut of a new team, and a fun main event. I though maybe Joe and Balor would have issues leading to a title match at the next Takeover, but give recent announcements that I won’t spoil here until it’s relevant, I now think they might go all the way to the final, hopefully taking on Jordan and Gable. And in an era where Raw last three hours and coasts for at least ninety minutes, I’ll take a slowburn show with decent wrestling and good booking.
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