The First Son of the Wyatt Family returns to mete out some punishment to Kassius Ohno on a show full of squashes and backstage segments. But at least those serve a purpose higher than replaying the Big Show saga from Monday night.
Before the credits roll, there's a brief scene with Slyvester Lefort looking for answers from the mysterious blonde who has entranced Alexander Rusev in the past few weeks. She dismisses him in what I presume is Bulgarian, and this is the first time I have experienced anything but boredom concerning the Frenchman. I actually feel bad for the guy.
Alexander Rusev defeats Slyvester Lefort
in approximately twenty seconds via submission
The Brute is billed as "w/Lana", the first time we have officially been given her name I believe. She introduces him in his native tongue. It sounds like she has a bad accent (being as she's from Florida), but I have no experience with the language to really be able to tell. Any Bulgarians out there want to clue us in?
Slyvester sheepishly offers Rusev a wad of cash at the outset, but he's not having it. Alexander whips him off the ropes into a body block worthy of Big E, and then locks in the Accolade such that he shoves Lefort's money into his mouth (which was pretty boss) for the quick submission win.
Backstage again, Charlotte presents Bayley with a taped up head band. They act as if the broken accessory is something we should know about, but if anything concerning it made the air, I missed it. B "wooo"s in response, and Naitch's daughter is explaining that she's not her dad when Summer Rae and Sasha Banks roll up. The Beautiful Fierce Females (BFFs) offer Bayley a brand new headband, which she gleefully accepts - throwing Charlotte's repair job to the floor.
Summer proceeds to regale them with tales of the WWE life that she has brought Banks to, and offers the same to Bayley. When Charlotte tries to rebuke them on B's behalf, the First Lady takes a dig at the young Flair's "personal issues". That draws the awesome, shoot-y response that she doesn't need "another step-mother", but it looks like the seed has been planted for one of the faces to turn heel (or maybe both of them in different ways?).
There was more character and angle development in that two minute NXT women's segment than there was for performers of both genders on the show that aired this past Monday night.
Leo Kruger defeats El Local
in approximately two and a half minutes via submission
Ricardo's luchador character gets in some early offense, but is quickly taken down by DAT SPINEBUSTER for a nearfall. The lift and elevation on Kruger's version of the move is what makes it a thing of beauty...similar to Roman Reigns' spear.
Our announce team this week is Tom Phillips with Alex Riley and Renee Young. RY and A-Ry make a much better color commentary pairing than Renee and William Regal. I'm beginning to think that Regal, great as he is, shouldn't be in three-person booths. Brad Maddox was much better on commentary without the Villain than he was with him, too. Anyway...they are putting over how the South African's mini-feud with Antonio Cesaro "changed him". His character and ring work seem the same to me, but it's an interesting story wrinkle.
I think Local gets one more kick in during the match. It ends with a nifty sequence of the Slice, three swinging leg snap suplexes and what Riley calls a "double underhook" choke for the submission finish.
A quick recap of the Frenemies saga between Women's champ Paige and Emma runs, leading into a WWE.com exclusive of the pair bickering backstage. The Brit refuses to listen to Emma's explanation for having struck her last week. After some threats, Paige storms off, leaving the Aussie to state that "there's something wrong with that one."
Put me on Team Emma, for that argument and the upcoming feud.
The Ascension defeats Travis Tyler and Troy McClain
in approximately three minutes via pinfall when Rick Victor pins Tyler
Squash week on NXT, as the "Let's Go These Guys" chants ring out for the challengers, who await the theatrical entrance of the tag champs in the ring when we come back from commercial. Could we get some kind of backstory on Conor O'Brian and Rick Victor now? Or are we just to assume that they're angry cosplayers?
They're working more tandem maneuvers into their repertoire during this little Ryback push they're getting. Nothing fancy, but it helps. I particularly liked when O'Brian flung Travis into a clothesline by his smaller partner.
Fall of Man wraps up another NXT tag match where one of the jobber never even gets into the action. They love that bit here.
Mojo Rawley defeats Ty Dillinger
in approximately three and a half minutes via pinfall
I'll give Rawley and Creative this - they have learned from the Daniel Bryan and the "Yes" chants that crowds just like to chant something catchy. The Hype-man's enthusiastic entrance is infectious.
Dillinger seems to have some polish, even though I don't recognize him. He heels it up, including a little pec wiggle after some strikes in the corner. I'm wondering if he's not someone we'll see more of later, as he gets in a fair amount of offense. Kind of reminds me of Aiden English's early jobs.
Mojo's matches are structured so that he takes a beating for a few minutes and then mounts a quick comeback, I guess because he needs to catch his breath after his entrance? Mostly due to how little we get to see him do in the ring, I remain dubious of his potential. But stranger things have won me over in the past.
He stalks Dillinger with a series of three point football stances before a couple of splashes and his ass-based offense - a Rear View and seated senton - for the victory.
Mother-pumpin' Raw Rebound. Shorter than last week's, but &@*$ @(*#$@ *#!$$*@(!
Next week, the four women from the headband segment will do battle, while Corey Graves and Adrian Neville will look to settle their issues with a two out of three falls match. I should probably be more excited about the latter contest than I am.
Luke Harper defeats Kassius Ohno
in approximately thirteen minutes minutes via pinfall
The crowd goes nuts for The Wyatt Family trinatron, swaying to the music and showing no signs of disappointment that Harper is here by himself. They also make a lot of noise for Ohno, who looks trim in solid black trunks and boots. The announce team mentions that he is in great shape a couple of times, for anyone trying to divine the truth of his recent absence.
On the subject of build, I never really thought about it, but Harper has added some bulk in WWE. He's no longer the beanpole that was Brodie Lee.
KO comes out of the gate with a drop kick and gets the upperhand after they trade strikes. After about a minute, Luke catches and drops him, setting up the bulk of the match - Harper abusing and toying with Ohno, with little to no regard given to finishing the match. It's a sight to behold to, because the big guy has so many mannerisms and tweaks that make it interesting. The chanting "yeah"s, poking Kassius with little kicks when he's down, rolling him around with his head like a dog. So good. Provided he stays healthy, Harper has a long career ahead of him.
The First Son gets a little cocky and tries to intimidate the referee a bit. That provides KO with an opening, and he reverse a whip to hit a rolling elbow. Harper heads out of the ring but stays on his feet, and Ohno dives feet first through the ropes to knock him down and give the match a commercial break.
Blows are traded when we return, and the face even gets a two count out of a big senton. Harper throws Ohno over the ropes though, and even though he manages to hang on, he only gets a BIG boot for his efforts. Just sliding back in at the ref's count of ten keeps the match going, but the beating is back on.
A nasty-looking slingshot throat first into the second rope seems to signal the end, but the fighting spirit that Philips and company have been talking about kicks in and a drop kick puts KO back into action. A flurry of strikes, including a little lowdown beard-pulling, finishes up with a noice somersault neckbreaker. But Luke manages to kick out at two.
It's all trading big moves and nearfalls from here on out. Harper almost ends it with a Big Bossman-esque side slam and a big boot. Kassius pulls out an elbow smash that sounds great when it catches a charging hillbilly, but can't quite end it. A few kicks to his grounded opponent sets KO up to try a charge of his own, but he runs into a STIFF lariat (I tried to get screen shots, but it happened too fast. It looked like he buried his forearm in Ohno's face) that finally earns a three count.
Harper wins, as the main roster guy should, and hopefully Ohno's penance ends with a loss that makes him look strong.
Here's the show:
This is my favorite kind of episode of NXT. Lots of character and angle development, with a slobberknocker at the end. Now if we could figure out what the heck is going on with the tag scene and replace the freaking Raw recap with women's matches, I think they'll be firing on all cylinders when Bo Dallas and Sami Zayn make it back.