The NXT championship scene has been a bit of a mess since Big E Langston became the second man to hold the title earlier this year.
His only defense was a squash of Camacho, and his only other match ended with a double disqualification and his belt being stolen. The man he was DQ'd with, Conor O'Brian, faced off with the guy who stole his belt, Corey Graves, in what was supposed to be a triple threat to determine the number one contender. But The Shield took those two out along with the scheduled third participant, Bo Dallas.
NXT Commissioner Dusty Rhodes hits the stage to address all that and offer his plan to rectify the situation, if you will. The Dream stumbles though his announcement (he confuses the taping schedule with the broadcast schedule a couple of times) that he has re-booked the three way dance for tonight and spent his own money to hire additional security to keep The Shield out of Full Sail Live.
Adrian Neville's trinatron starts up as the top NXT tag team is announced for their first appearance since winning the tournament to crown the inaugural champs a few weeks back. There are a couple of boys already in the ring, so I'm guessing squash, but where is Neville's partner?
The Brit asks for a microphone to answer that very question. William Regal informs us that he speaks Geordie, so he'll translate. The Man that Gravity Forgot cuts a decent promo about not being sure where Oliver Grey is - they arrived and warmed up together, but he hasn't seen him since. He's concerned, but he's got a job to do even if it means a handicap match.
Adrian Neville defeats Scott Dawson and
Chase Judas Devlin
in approximately three minutes via pinfall
- Regal and Tony Dawson don't identify the challengers by name until about halfway through the match, and then mumble their names once each. I had to consult the interwebs to confirm - but I was pretty proud of my notetaking skills in getting their names down mostly right. Scott D is as generic as jobbers come; Devlin has a bunch of tattoos.
- Neville shows off some flips and drop kicks early, but the enhancement talent do get some offense in via quick tags and the numbers game.
- The Wyatt Family drag Oliver Grey's unconcious body out to the top of the ramp. They've done a nice job of make-up on him as it looks like he has a black eye and a bloody mouth. They drape his title across his chest and walk off.
- His partner tries to get out of the ring to check on him, but gets pulled back in and beat on by his opponents. Not-tattooed guy makes the bone-headed decision to set the aerial wonder on the top rope, which of course leads to the always impressive corkscrew shooting star press.
Adrian runs to check on his countryman as the announcers wonder about the depths Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are willing to sink to. Me too. The methodical, no comment way this was handled definitely added to the Family's mystique.
Kassius Ohno is backstage on his smart phone, when he's interrupted by interviewer Renee Young. He corrects her on the pronunciation of his first name (in a cool, non-Fandango way) and then puts over his match with Derek Bateman next week in the midst of a promo on Regal. Interesting that he drops in that Bateman "loves America"; maybe we'll finally see USA Guy? Anyway, this is a dynamite interview building Ohno's feud with Regal, or as he calls him, a great villain masquerading as a hero.
Blue-lit video for Conor O'Brian hyping the main event. Tonight there will be nothing to "Shield" Corey Graves and Bo Dallas from their demise - the Ascension will rise. Still not as good as a single's gimmick as it was with teammate, but I do love the old school, over-the-top flavor he brings to the character.
Promo-mania rolls on, as Corey Graves comes to us from inside some sort of light box/barn set-up. Workman-like speech about putting his opponents down. If he can get his overall intensity to match the way he delivers his catch phrase ("Stay Down"), he'll have a nice interview style.
Leo Kruger defeats Yoshi Tatsu
in approximately three and a half minutes via submission
- You've heard of jobbers to the stars (or, as WWE likes to call it, the Intercontinental Champion)? Yoshi is the jobber to the future stars.
- Kruger's music fits him well. It's like an 80's hard rock instrumental and he's another throwback character. Would a big game hunter really decide to come to WWE? Probably not, but maybe an insane one would. And I can't be the only comic book nerd who thinks he looks like Sergei Kravinoff. He's cut way back on the hair twirling, which was pretty much the only character tic I didn't like.
- Tatsu starts fast, even hitting a couple of atomic drops that only serve to piss the South African off. Leo bounces him off of the turnbuckles multiple times while wrenching his shoulder. A sick lariat lays him out for an arm submission.
After getting his arm raised, the hunter re-applies the hold on his prey. Justin Gabriel rushes out to make the save, kicking Kruger out of the ring and keeping their feud alive.
Cameron, Naomi & Sasha Banks defeat Alicia Fox, Aksana & Audrey Marie
in approximately five minutes via pinfall when Naomi pins Audrey
- Ummm, so this is a match that they made. Sasha and Audrey have an issue dealing with Audrey being jealous of Snoop Lion's cousin and then sort of catfishing her. Fox lost to Sasha in her debut. None of this is recapped and, here we go, I guess.
- Banks starts off against the former Diva's champion. She shows off her speed with drop kicks and a hurricanrana before Aksana and Cameron are tagged in. The funkadactyl gets control, but spends too much time dancing and then gets to spend the bulk of the match playing face-in-peril. And that's probably the role that she's best suited for, since it seems like screaming is the thing she's best at after dancing.
- Mai gurl Audrey doesn't have a very good showing. Some rest holds, what looks like a botched slam and, after Cameron uses a failed roll-up to tag her cheer partner, the victim of Naomi's posterior-centric offense.
- Naomi does look pretty great in the ring. She's everywhere, has a great energy and hits some innovative if ass-fetishized moves. Aksana gets an enziguri for breaking up a pin before Ms Marie is hit with a Matrix-y looking elevated side scissor kick for the victory.
Tom Phillips is speaking with Bo Dallas. They run down his hot streak since winning the Royal Rumble tournament in the usual good guy spiel when here comes Bray Wyatt. If Bo had accepted his real-life brother's invitation to join his kayfabe-Family, he would have had protection against The Shield. Dallas says he wants nothing to do with Wyatt's family. I guess they're just messing with those of us who know these guys are actually brothers.
More mic time, as Renee Young is back speaking with Summer Rae. Rae demands to be referred to as the first lady of NXT (in a less-cool, more-Fandango way) and reminds us that she is the one who took Paige out. I think she's talking about us when she says that lonely losers only like the Anti-Diva because we think she's attainable, unlike Summer. Next week, the blonde will face Emma.
And here's my problem with how they book the women on NXT. Emma was a heel last week against a face Aksana. The Lithuanian was a heel this week. Will Emma be a face against Summer Rae on the next show? I love the time the divas get on this show, but they've got to let them build consistent characters.
Shaky cam video from The Shield's secret hideout. The usual awesomeness we've come to expect from Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. They've been distracted by business on Raw and Smackdown, but they haven't forgotten the injustice that caused Rollins to lose the NXT title. They'll be back for it. Believe that.
Conor O'Brian defeats Bo Dallas & Corey Graves
to become the #1 contender to the NXT Championship in approximately thirteen minutes via pinfall when he pins Dallas
- The heels...well, I guess Graves is a heel...beat down Dallas at the start, but eventually the two smaller men team to throw O'Brian from the ring. Those two go at it for a while with Bo getting the upper hand. But a recuperated Ascension catches him climbing back into the ring to take control.
- Conor has a nice set of power moves, and in this match he uses them on both men in rapid succession. A vicious whip into the corner for Graves, then one for Dallas. A different looking spot where he twists his opponent's neck while holding it between his thighs - one for Bo, one for Corey.
- The savior of misbehavior teams with the younger Rotunda to level O'Brian with a back suplex. Bray Wyatt saunters onto the stage, distracting Dallas and allowing Graves to get into his submission-based offense. That doesn't work so well for him in a triple-threat, though, as the Ascension is back before Bo will tap.
- Best series of the match sees Bo execute a drop-toe hold to send O'Brian into the corner, then run up the big man's back to land a bulldog on Graves. There's also a spot where Graves has Dallas in his 13th step sub finisher, but Conor locks an armbar on him to force him to break the hold.
- The end comes after Dallas has landed his armdrag, crossbody finishing move on Graves, but goes to jaw with Wyatt, who has walked down to ringside, instead of going for the cover. O'Brian hits a full nelson slam on him while he's not looking and takes home the win.
HOSS FIGHT coming for the NXT title! The Rotundas have beef! Not sure where Corey Graves goes from here, but he's got reason to chase The Shield. And I'd be interested to see how that goes, especially since they seem unsure if they want CG to be a heel, a tweener, or an anti-hero face.
Lots of talking this week, but most of it is leading us somewhere and the triple threat was a lot of fun. I'll call it a B: better than most WWE television, but not the best that NXT can do.
What say you, dear readers? Everybody ready for them to just get on with the glory that will be Ohno-Regal? Who on the developmental roster do you want to see more of or from? Let's hear from you!