WWE NXT – April 15th, 2015
The men and women in development at Full Sail University went back to their regular program format after last week’s WrestleMania retrospective. Many performers, including the respective champions Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks, took the night off television.
This episode focused on pushing a new talent, feeding the tag team division’s main feud, introducing a new diva, and welcoming back Sami Zayn with a main event match against juggernaut Rhyno.
- CJ Parker vs Solomon Crowe: Parker takes a more aggressive approach, harkening a character change. Crowe wins by submission.
- Baron Corbin vs Steve Cutler: Corbin wins with End of Days.
- Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton: Blake and Murphy give flowers to Carmella during match. Enzo gets the pin after hitting the rocket launcher splash.
- Alex Riley cuts promo from locker room on Kevin Owens.
- Dana Brooke vs Blue Pants: Brooke wins by pinfall after hitting a sit-out Attitude Adjustment.
- Sami Zayn vs Rhyno: After getting punished for the majority of the match, Zayn comes back and hits Helluvah Kick to get the pin and victory.
- CJ Parker has left the ranks of NXT, but you would not have gotten that from this match. There was no send-off or farewell speech. Instead, Parker teased an attitude change but put over the new guy as usual despite controlling much of the action. Crowe gave a solid performance, selling quite well for Parker. The odd-ball hacker gimmick of Crowe’s is a bit lost on viewers. The brief spots of interference which were supposed to build up his entrance were lost on the audience and would have benefited from images and sound-bites from the character himself.
- Baron Corbin, I am now convinced, cannot wrestle. His squash matches are not entertaining. If he does not become involved in a feud that will challenge him as a performer, he will stagnate very quickly.
- Amore and Cassidy gave an entertaining match in their usual style. I worry sometimes they are too dependent on their gimmick, and it would be interesting to see them try a change. One criticism of this match: when Blake and Murphy came down to ringside to talk to Carmella, there was no reaction from her teammates. I am not convinced they simply were too busy with their opponents to notice the champs at all. The show of anger and jealousy after the action ended was much less effective than to have it play a distraction factor in the match.
- Alex Riley is gunning for Kevin Owens.
- Dana Brooke’s debut was tepid, but it got over her character and her strengths. Physically, she is a gifted athlete, and she will get heat as an arrogant, bully heel. There was some awkwardness at times, no doubt a result of nerves and inexperience. Her finisher was well executed, but would be more effective if it transitioned seamlessly into a pin. One other note from the match: KICK TO THE CROTCH! Everyone saw it, the crowd reacted, the announcers didn’t touch it. I feel conflicted about this…
- Sami Zayn proved once again his emotional connection with the crowd. More than any other superstar he resonates with the people on a human level, and he works that sympathy into his matches to create compelling stories. Rhyno is a beneficial opponent for Zayn at this time in his career. For starters, he fights in the stiff and physical style shared by Kevin Owens, and a win here builds Zayn for a future rematch with his former friend. Also, Rhyno is a veteran of ECW and WWE, and puts Zayn over as a potential main roster talent.