The Jobber Run-Down: “This Week in Pro Wrestling” part two, NXT 04/03/2015
Full Sail University is still coasting off the buzz around February’s TakeOver: Rival as it goes to television Wednesday night.
The show opens with a vignette in which Kevin Owens tells us to forget about the past (by which he means Sami Zayn) and look to the future (“and that’s Finn Balor”). Cut to Finn as he says that he will face Kevin Owens “any place, any time,” – I suppose, as long as there’s also time to put on lots of make-up and do a five-minute ramp entrance first. Anyway, the drama involving Alex Riley is re-capped and I get stuck wondering whether or not I should care about Alex Riley.
GM William Regal puts the tough choice to Riley, who’s looking a bit like Eric Bischoff: be a wrestler or be a commentator, but you can’t do both. Riley makes a small noise with his mouth and leaves the room.
ADAM ROSE versus TYLER BREEZE
Holy shit, Adam Rose is in NXT again. He is met with a warm ovation and gets more love than he’s probably used to getting about now. The announcers get over how much fun Adam Rose is, and there doesn’t seem to be any beef with the Rosebuds. Good, I didn’t really like that angle.
Adam Rose’s opponent is (gasp) it’s Tyler! Tyler Breeze comes down with his new selfie sticks as the announcers begin playing the “who’s the old guy in this group?” game.
The match was brief, basic, but nonetheless entertaining. Rose worked the crowd and appeared relaxed, but also a bit sluggish. Breeze sold like a boss for a few of the veteran’s fancy moves, before Breeze pinned him with a spinning heel kick.
Is that a finishing move? Owen Hart used to perform those like dropkicks… Ok, maybe not as many as dropkicks…
Anyway, breeze ultimately gets put over as he no doubt on his way up to the big leagues very soon.
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS versus THE STEINER BROTHERS V2.0
These guys looked like jobbers but actually ended up schooling Blake and Murphy for most of the match with amateur wrestling takedowns, armbars and headlocks. It was a pretty interesting match to watch, actually, but I began to feel like the crowd just wanted the tag champs to bounce around and do flips and stuff. Young people these days, I tell you.
The champs looked good, but not very strong. They looked good because they really did a job for the nameless rookies, made them look great, and showed that they can take a hit for another guy. The match could have been really terrible if the amateur wrestlers were in there with a lesser team.
Blake and Murphy are becoming the Rockers of their time, with high energy, tandem moves and super face appeal.
But speaking of tandem moves, the match tonight ended with a devastating finisher: a suplex followed by a frog splash. This doesn’t seem impressive, but then I have to remember how many guys use the frog splash alone as a finisher.
The champs seem to be headed for a showdown with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady.
Back in the locker room, Emma and Bayley have a little chat. Bayley is perky and positive as always, and Emma completely tears her apart. She cautions Bayley, imparting to her that nice girls finish last in the WWE, or something along those lines. Burn.
Rhyno vignette, re-introducing us to the maniac animal that is Rhyno. I love seeing some good old fashioned, shouting and growling promos along with footage of tables smashing and sets being torn down. It makes you think that kind of thing might happen in NXT now that Rhyno’s here, and you get excited.
BARON CORBIN: The Next Big Thing?
Wow, Baron Corbin is popular. Especially with the ladies in the NXT audience. People are going crazy for this guy, and he does so very little. Amazing.
The match is bullshit. Absolute shit. It was nothing, there was no match. The crowd started counting because they were expecting the match to last only a few seconds. As it turned out, they stalled for about a minute, just paced in front of each other, before Corbin hit the jobber with a punch off the ropes and then his finisher for the win. Shit. Corbin doesn’t look strong here, he looks like a terrible man who beat up a handicapped person, because he wasn’t in the ring with a real wrestler.
The whole match was just filler to facilitate a heated exchange between Kevin Owens and Alex Riley. Owens plays the massive dick that he plays so well and dumps water all over the fuming announcer. Owens does a gradual Brock Lesnar-style exit that leaves an awkward coldness in the room.
Sami Zayn cuts a promo via face-time or skype or something, all the way from the backyard of his buddy’s place in a Montreal sub-urban neighbourhood, probably just before another smoke and a beer. He talks about the landscape of NXT changing. He talks about thirteen years in the business and feeling like he’s not mentally prepared for it. It’s basically a Shawn Michaels losing his smile speech. He puts over new talent and vows eventual revenge on Kevin Owens.
BULL DEMPSEY versus SOLOMON CROWE
I’m not sure if Bull got the memo that he was maybe supposed to be putting over Crowe. Crowe spent the first leg of the match eating punches and kicks from the 300 pounder, before sitting out for a while in a rear chinlock while the crowd went dead silent except for the occasional bird call.
While Bull dominated the match, the announcers kept going on about the unorthodox style of Solomon Crowe, of his ingenuity and uniqueness. After Bull missed a top rope dive, Crowe delivered a CM Punk running knee in the corner. He then rallied for his finisher, and waved Bull to lay still while he performed a slingshot splash off the ropes.
Crowe seems like he has Chris Jericho fever, and his promo style and entrance drum quite the hype, but I just didn’t see him deliver in this match. It was flat.
The Main Event:
CHARLOTTE versus SASHA BANKS (NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION)
Holy shit, the main event of the night is for the Women’s Title! Take that, WWE. Seriously, with Raw and Smackdown getting slaughtered on social media for being unfair to it’s Divas, this is a big statement by the development league. It seems like Triple H is really trying to make a point.
The crowd is on board for this match, and the two competitors are top form.
Charlotte applies a figure four leglock way too early and the announcers don’t put it over as a good move.
Sasha wears down the back of Chalotte with submissions including a beautiful tilt-a-whirl variation of the black widow that Charlotte ends up reversing using brute strength. Very nice exchange. These two work so well together, it’s always a joy to watch. The action goes high drama when Sasha applies her submission hold and begins to scream at Charlotte about “Daddy”.
Charlotte is dead of charisma in the ring sometimes. Her blank face just takes me out of it sometimes. Sasha has such an abundance of personality, an excess of personality you might say, that you don’t notice it as much, but Charlotte is a bit bland at times. It’s the Bret Hart condition.
In the end, Sash knocks the challenger off the top rope, hooks in a porno-grade pin combination and uses the ropes illegally for leverage. This is the second time Sasha has picked up the win by means of dirty deeds. She is a consummate heel, and wears the championship well.
Overall, NXT was above average. A couple of winners, a couple of stinkers, some filler and Alex Riley taking the place of Finn Balor for a little bit, but an awesome main event to cap it off.
Adam Rose put over Tyler Breeze and it was fun. Corbin, Dempsey, Crowe, and the tag champs Blake and Murphy all were falling a bit flat and there were some awkward spots. You get a sense that a some of these guys put more thought and effort into their gimmick and not enough into their mat work. Lessons to be learned, kids.