The HuluPlus streamed (for now) program focused on developmental talent has a high bar to clear after the quality of last week's show. But NXT is bringing out a big gun to do just that. Six time world champion, the man who has held the Intercontinental title more times than anyone else, the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla, the host of Robot Combat League...
Tonight - NXT...IS...JERICHO
The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) defeats Adrian Neville & Bo Dallas and Epico & Primo
in approximately twelve minutes via pinfall when Harper pins Neville (Neville previously eliminated Primo)
- I'm not usually a big fan of triple threats, even less so with tag teams. I am a fan of five of the six men in this match - nothing personal, Bo - so I'll give it a shot. Dallas and his teammate, one half of the NXT tag team champions, take control early with their speed and several quick tags as they work on the Wyatt Family. Every early tag by the faces is executed as a top rope axe-handle or elbow, which is a little weird, but...
- Epico tags himself in, and the pace slows for a while. The Royal Rumble entrant works over the former WWE tag champ's arm before Rowan tags himself in on the wounded Colón and goes to town on Dallas. Rowan's offense looks brutal, in a good way; I wince when he throws Bo face first into the turnbuckle off a charge across the ring. He is still probably the least likely to succeed outside of the Wyatt Family gimmick, but he's proving to be more than just his epic beard.
- A couple of my pet peeves are in full effect on this week's show. The first is front and center here...why are Epico & Primo jobbers on internet shows? They're the only guys here who have tandem maneuvers. They sell like Puerto Rican Zigglers. They do old school cocky/under-handed heelin' like nobody else, but they could easily be tweaked to play técnicos given their aerial offense - or even tweeners in the mode of their kinsman Carlito Caribbean Cool. Blah, blah, blah, I miss tag teams in the WWE, ratta-tah-tah. A little thing that they do here that I love: when they execute a series of tags in the corner, they synchronize it so that the man coming in jumps in over the top rope as the man leaving does the same in the other direction.
- As triple threats are wont to do, things get hectic in the third act. Dallas "hulks out" of shoulder stretch from Primo and both men manage to tag their partners. Epico and Neville exhaustedly collide after running the ropes and dodging each other, then the corn-rowed wrestler reaches his cousin for a tag while the champ regroups. Primo is quickly leveled and hit with a standing shooting star press for a cover that is broken up by E.
- Dallas spears Epico from the ring for his interference, and Harper decks Bo from the apron. Adrian clears out the big man and goes after his partner. Primo uses the opportunity to attempt a roll-up that gets two. The jumpin' Geordie escapes that and does a beautiful if showy triple handspring escape across the ring, then levels the charging Primo with a head kick before going up top to hit the corkscrew shooting star press to eliminate the Colóns.
- No sooner has Neville stood up from his finisher then he's laid low by a lariat from hell by Luke, and that's all she wrote. They kept things remarkably easy to follow, each guy got a chance to show us something and it continues the issues between the champ, his partner and the Wyatt Family. Now if Epico and Primo could just get something more substantial to do...
We're treated to a summary of the issues between Paige and Fandango's new dance partner that for a while seems like it will be a montage of Summer Rae doing her spinning heel kick finisher (Summer's End). They also show the entire interview that Renee Young did with the Brit from two weeks ago, which is a very WWE thing to do.
Paige defeats Summer Rae
in approximately seven and a half minutes via pinfall
- Action starts before the bell when Summer attacks Paige from behind during her entrance. She's too proud of her handiwork though, and gets jumped entering the ring and whipped with the Anti-Diva's leather jacket.
- That open is a good example of what the NXT Divas do well: they have developed characters that each of the women understand and work into all aspects of their performance.
- Here comes an unpopular opinion - they're not very good workers. The length of the match especially exposes the fact that they execute one wrestling move each over it's run time. Other than that it's a cat fight that takes me back to Torrie Wilson versus Dawn Marie circa 2003. They slap each other, Paige throws Summer off the ropes (a lot), then they roll around and choke each other for a while in between slamming each other to the mat by the hair.
- While I'm writing unpopular things, here's pet peeve number two - Brad Maddox is with us on commentary again this week, and this is not the role for him. I get the in-story reason for it, and he does make a point to mention his scouting for Raw several times during each match. But William Regal and his play-by-play partners have done an excellent job of setting a tone on NXT that focuses on the wrestling and the importance of everything that goes on here for the young talents the show features. Having someone who is, even when entertaining, understandably more interested in getting himself over is a distraction.
- The best thing about Maddox in the booth this week is that Regal seems to legitimately want to kill him. Brad goes off about how William's call of Paige's Indian Death Lock is insensitive and should be called a Native American Death Lock. Which is funny, but then he proceeds to keep talking about it for the next couple of minutes. The former King of the Ring reaches a point where he says he is going to call Vince McMahon and ask why Maddox is on Raw every Monday while he's at home doing nothing (I tried that myself, but Mr McMahon doesn't take my calls). But, yeah, Brad is fine on Team Brickie...I just wish they'd keep him there.
- Oh yeah, Diva's match...Summer threatens to leave again after a few kicks to the neck don't win the match for her. Hell in Boots isn't having that, and throws the blonde back first into the ring apron before rolling her into the ring. Rae tries a heel kick, but Paige catches it and transitions it into a Paige Turner for the win. Much screaming is done.
Breaking news! NXT Commissioner Dusty Rhodes has announced that he allowed Adrian Neville to pick a new official partner, and Bo Dallas is now a tag team champion. And, by virtue of their win in tonight's triple threat, The Wyatt Family are the #1 contenders, and will face Neville & Dallas next week for the belts.
Bray strolls out with a microphone and his boys in tow. He drops some of his usual cryptically excellent knowledge on us...the world deserves a hero like him, one that will stand up to a champion like Jericho. Tonight, he will "break the wall down". I love that he gets that putting over his competition is a way of hyping himself.
And now, the moment we've all been waiting for...
Chris Jericho defeats Bray Wyatt
in approximately ten and a half minutes via submission
- I'm a little bummed that we didn't get any verbal interaction between the two this week, especially given how awesome they were together last week, but that's just me getting greedy, I guess.
- We do get big league referee Mike Chioda for this one, though. That should please all you ref marks out there (you know who you are).
- Lock-ups to start. On one break, Bray laughes in Jericho's face and gets slapped in his for his arrogance. Y2J gets a springboard drop kick and sets up shop. The beginning of the match is quite similar to his match with Fandango at WrestleMania - the story being that the rookie is not in the same league as the veteran. Lionheart continues to dominate until Erick Rowan grabs a leg to slow his roll. Chioda sees this and throws the redbeard out as we head to commercial.
- There's some confusion with the announce team as to whether Luke Harper has also been ejected, but he's clearly not as he floors Jericho with a boot while Wyatt distracts the official. That allows Bray to take the lead, which he uses to inflict punishment via restholds and generally do some malevolent showboating.
- The man of 1004 holds doesn't use any of them at this point, but he does power out with elbows and kicks, and after a running bulldog to his opponent, helps Harper from the apron with another drop kick. His follower again gives Bray an opportunity, though, as a clothesline gets him a nearfall.
- Jericho hits his usual flawless enziguri for a two-count of his own, but is obviously still weary. Wyatt flattens him in the corner with a running crossbody, but the big man is noticeably flustered when that doesn't finish the Fozzy front man. A codebreaker gives Y2J some momentum, but it throws Bray from the ring, eliminating any chance for a quick follow-up.
- Not wanting to win by count-out, the first undisputed champion in WWE history heads to the floor. Harper grabs him and hurls him into the ringpost, but as Regal says, they don't call him Corazón de León for nothing. He kicks out of the pin attempt. An enraged Wyatt executes the sequence that leads to Sister Abigail, but Chris counters to the Walls of Jericho. When Harper jumps on the apron to try to interfere, Jericho slingshots the Family's leader into his acolyte. He finishes by fully locking in the Walls to get the submission victory.
The Dancing with the Stars contestant celebrates a really good match in the stands of Full Sail Live with a euphoric NXT Universe.
This didn't match the consistent quality of last week's show, but was still better than most televised pro wrestling. It certainly earns a B grade from me; your rating may vary depending on your feelings about Maddox or the workrate of the Divas.
Well, Cagesiders? Let's hash and/or hug it out in the comments!