The pre-taped nature of the HuluPlus streaming show brings us an announce team of Tom Phillips and new Raw General Manager Brad Maddox!
Emma defeats Summer Rae
in approximately four and a half minutes via pinfall
- Yet another reason to hope that Fandango takes off is on display here. As bad a wrestler as Summer is, she is that good at everything else about her current character. I still love the pre-match top rope pose, and there's a fantastic bit during Emma's dancing entrance where she points to her pretend watch and yells at the opponent and the referee to move it along.
- But then that darn ring work starts. The efforts to make sure that the length of her legs is a component of 99% of her offense leads to her trying to straighten her leg in a completely nonsensical way during a pin attempt, and putting her leg on the top rope for leverage during a neck crank. The latter is so pointless that the production team changes the camera angle to try and hide it.
- A decent suplex (and maybe the only non-leg based offense the former lingerie footballer gets in) precedes my favorite part of the match: while yanking on the Aussie's arm in a rest hold, Summer taunts that she'll rip her opponent's arm off "so she'll never dance again" and then hits her perfect wicked witch laugh.
- Emma-lution runs wild when the crowd darling breaks that hold and gets a roll-up for two. The sequence that I enjoyed during her bout with Aksana is apparently going to be a regular part of her repertoire - she dodges a corner charge by sliding through the ropes and slips back in between Summer's legs for roll-up attempt. While SR sits in the corner to recover, Emma lands the low crossbody.
- The end comes via a series of reversals - Emma pushes off a hold and lowers for her dancing cover, Summer rolls her up for two but the babyface flips it around and holds on for the win.
After the bell, sore loser Summer jumps E during her victory dance. Paige runs in to make the save and the finals (scheduled for the 24 July broadcast) are set with the good girl staredown of mutual respect.
Then the greatest thing in the history of sports entertainment happens.
Well, that might be a tad hyperbolic, but I challenge you smarks to not even grin during the segment that introduces Charlotte (Ashley Fliehr).
Bayley is meeting with NXT Commissioner Dusty Rhodes (who she calls "Mr. American Dream"), when an old colleague of Rhodes' walks in with his daughter. Ric Flair (who B calls "Mr. Nature Boy") doesn't say much - allowing his daughter's debut match for next week against the quirky brunette to be made - but after he and Charlotte seem to shrug off a request from super-fan Bayley, Naitch sneaks back in to make the rookie's dreams come true.
Everybody's reactions here are great, especially Dusty's good-natured chagrin at being reminded about his old rival's schtick.
I can't emphasize enough how crucial it is that the women on NXT are allowed to develop characters. Sure, Bayley's a riff on face AJ, but everything is a riff on everything else, and the former Shimmer regular nails her glee seeing Flair and even gets in a few "WOO"s of her own.
Man, I love a good woo-off.
Leo Kruger defeats Sami Zayn
in approximately eleven minutes via submission
- Not sure if it's the same one he's been using or if this is the first time I paid attention, but I like Sami's entrance music. I don't know if it's super-iconic, but it's solid and fits his fun yet aggressive nature. Actually, a little youtube research seems to indicate that he's used several...this is the one from this episode, but I kind of like this one, too. Pick one and stick to it, y'all.
- I know this a touchy week for crowd and chanting conversations, but the "Olé" chants are starting to bug me. What he's doing now is great and "Sam-eee" is fun to chant, too. Let's move on.
- Early arm drag acrobatics as the faster Zayn frustrates the South African. Leo gets a headlock, but it doesn't last as Sami wriggles out and goes back on the offensive. He goes up on the ropes and delivers some punches, but Kruger lifts him out and drops him atomically. A drop kick leads to the hunter rolling out, and a cool spot where the Canadian goes for a dive through the ropes but gets met with an elbow to the head takes us to a break.
- There are a lot of reasons why I like Kruger. But first and foremost is the best spinebuster in wrestling today. (I tried for a few minutes to get a good capture of this one, but I couldn't, they're moving too fast...sorry) It's quick, he really gets his opponent elevated and the thud is impressive. Maddox does a great job selling the one in this match, too.
- Kruger works the arm while in control, which is a big part of the psychology of this match. Zayn gets in a few bursts such as drop kicks that lead to pin attempts, but he appears to be grounded and wounded until he lands the spinning sit-out powerbomb after escaping an arm hold that nearly made him tap. That gets a looong two count, and after the kick out, Sami heads up top looking to finish it.
- Getting caught with another elbow to the head dazes the likeable one, though, and LK climbs, sets up for and hits a SUPERPLEX! Leo's up first, and stalks his prey. He goes back to the arm, drops Zayn face first to the mat and then finishes applying the GC3.
- That match was dope.
Three of the six men scheduled for tonight's main event are interviewed by Renee Young. Workmanlike stuff from Adrian Neville, who sets up next week's tag title match for he and his partner, Corey Graves, against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
William Regal steals the scene by macking on Young and then delivering a better Newcastle accent than Neville and Graves' knuckle tattoo catch phrase better than Corey does.
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady defeat Mason Ryan
in approximately two minutes via pinfall
- Maybe it's the afterglow of Kruger-Zayn and the Bayley/Naitch pre-tape, but Enzo is growing on me. Ryan's sucker punching him last week was "pure man-ure" and tonight's two-on-one handicap match will teach the Cardiff Colossus that "1 + 1 =3.14...time to eat your pi".
- The crowd loves the SAWFT catchphrase, too. And it is pretty fun to say.
- Not much to this (and there doesn't seem to be much to Cassady, either, but that's a discussion for another time - it seems he's also from the NY/NJ area and is bigger than Amore, so it works well enough for this) - Ryan dominates, but catches a boot from Big Cas when he goes to slam Enzo. The smaller man can't finish the pin, but a second later Colin finishes the job when he lands on Mason following a chop block by the certified G.
- The heels hightail it out of there while the Welshman fumes in the ring.
Commissioner Rhodes is back to announce a three-way dance to determine the #1 contender to Bo Dallas' NXT title. Next week, it's Zayn versus Kruger versus Antonio Cesaro!
The Wyatt Family defeats Corey Graves, Adrian Neville & William Regal
in approximately eleven and a half minutes via pinfall when Bray Wyatt pins Regal
- Rowan has on his sheep mask for the first time on this program, I believe. Bray spits fire about how they tried to be merciful to their opponents, but their pride drives them on so tonight the Wyatts will end them. Some idiot screams "Husky Harris" a few times during the promo, too. My biggest fear about that catching on is that it does have a great cadence for a chant.
- I can't find any news on it, but Maddox and Phillips continue to push the story that Kassius Ohno was injured in the last Wyatts versus the forces of good six-man. As much as I love Regal's involvement, I hope that's a work.
- The faces all get a shot at Rowan to start, but big red eventually levels Graves and drags him to the Family's corner. Harper comes in, but the Savior of Misbehavior gets back in it with a drop kick and then his rope-assisted head scissor in the corner. That brings on the Villain of Blackpool, and he jaws with the ref while back-kicking Luke in the chest and face. Neville tags himself in to do it some more while Regal continues to distract the official, and the first son is forced to roll out and consult with his kin as we take a break.
- Some gymnastics from the Man that Gravity Forgot almost ground Harper, but Bray grabs a leg and sends the Geordie down to the apron. That brings Wyatt in for the first time, and he proceeds to brutalize Neville. Harper comes in to for a slam and a "YeahYeahYeahYeah" taunt to Adrian's teammates. AN plays face-in-peril for the bulk of the match.
- Love, love, love Rowan's pumphandle backbreaker...it needs a name. He's not overly demonstrative about anything, but he's really growing on me. If pressed, my sound bite on the redbeard would be "more intimidating Luke Gallows". He also works a sick hold here where he pins Neville's head to the mat with a boot while pulling his leg up in the air.
- After some serial offense fails to finish off the high flier, Harper gets him up for a delayed vertical suplex, but Neville delivers knees to the big man's head while upside down to get out of it. He tries a couple of roll-ups in between more kicks to the head, but can't finish off Luke. The tag champ misses an elbow drop, and that provides the opportunity to make the tag to Regal.
- Vicious strikes and an exploder suplex preceed some knees to the head that look to finish Harper. But Rowan breaks up the pin with a double axehandle that stuns Regal. Corey connects via crossbody, sending he and Erick out of the ring. Neville lands a corkscrew onto the two of them on the floor, but that clears the ring for Luke to get to the Eater of Worlds for a tag.
- Sister Abigail. Donesville.