Tom Dawson and William Regal are here to guide us through the follow-up to last week's phenomenal episode.
And they waste no time in their attempt to clear that bar - it's the triple threat to determine the #1 contender for Bo Dallas' NXT championship!
Leo Kruger defeats Sami Zayn and Antonio Cesaro
in approximately seven minutes when Kruger pinned Zayn
- AC is in full Colter-ite character, complete with flag and the pledge. He really should switch to Swagger's music and have that be the theme for the team/stable. The Euro beat doesn't fit the gimmick at all. Sami has what sounds like another new entrance theme. He teases the Generico apron run during his entrance but doesn't do it.
- Fast-paced opening sequence lets every man do what they do well. Zayn energetically lays out his opponents before trading blows with Cesaro wears him down. Kruger jumps Antonio from behind and hits a backhammer suplex on Sami. Antonio catches Leo while he's running the ropes and pulls him to the floor, allowing the Syrian-Canadian to launch a senton onto both of them to take us to commercial.
- The crowd is torn here - not a lot of love for the South African, but there are "We The People" chants mixed in with the adoration for SZ. Big pop for Cesaro catching Zayn mid-air when he attempts a crossbody and turning it into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
- But that's not the HOLY $#!+ moment of the match. That comes shortly after, when Kruger positions Sami for a fisherman's suplex in the corner, and the Swiss Superman comes from behind and Germans both of them. Zayn sells this like HBK sold for Hogan.
- Another sick spot comes after Leo interrupts a Neutralizer attempt; during the ensuing face-off, Sami charges and manages to DDT Cesaro on oneside while simultaneously facebusting the hunter on the other. That gets a two count on Kruger, and when Antonio attempts to hit Swiss Death, a roll-up reversal nets two on him as well.
- The finish sees the like-able one unable to decide who to engage. When he goes after his nemesis Cesaro, Kruger jumps him. Zayn is able to fight him off and dump him to the floor, but that provides the distraction Antonio needs to hit a neutralizer. Before he can cover though, Leo pulls him out and steals the pin.
I really thought that would be longer, but it was well-booked and featured some great spots. Kruger deserves the shot based on seniority and Antonio needs to be busy on the main shows (not that I'm complaining about getting to see him work as often and with as many opponents as possible).
Slightly uncomfortable and/or fanfic-inspiring backstage scene where a shirtless Corey Graves approaches a shirtless Adrian Neville. This one is all the Savior of Misbehavior, as he delivers a decent speech about how he doesn't want to be friends but needs his fix of NXT gold.
Bo Dallas defeats Scott Dawson
in approximately three minutes via pinfall
MegaNick first pointed it out, and I thought I had seen it, but this week it was impossible to miss. Large pockets of the NXTzone stand up and turn their back on the ring when Dallas appears. It becomes more pronounced than this, but here it is during his entrance:
I'm no Bo-liever, but this seems harsh. Boo him, sit on your hands, but the guy is trying...this seems like the kind of thing you should do, like, when Scott Hall shows up bombed and unable to perform. Continuing the weirdest response to a guy I've pretty much ever seen, there are sporadic "Let's Go Bo" chants from the audience, and commentary continues to put him over as an underdog babyface.
- This Slyvester Lefort, D² thing is a non-starter for me. First of all, Lefort does not look, dress or act French in any way that makes his performance. Second of all, everything else about the gimmick. At least Dawson mostly jobbing to the champ probably signals an end to it, or at least that they've hit their ceiling as jobbers.
- Dawson gets in more offense when he beats the steps with his flashlight during his entrance then he does in the match. He does manage a leg, elbow and knee drop sequence before Dallas hits his lariat, bulldog, belly-to-belly moves to end it. The belly-to-belly looks decent; he almost got Scott vertical and it really amps up the impact. I don't think he can get bigger guys up like that, though.
- Afterwards, the new #1 contender ambushes the champ during his spotlight and fog celebratory pose. He lays him out with a Kruger-End as the crowd chants "Thank you, Leo".
Promo vid for The Ascension where they talk about reducing heroes to ashes when they rise...again. I still want more capital "C" characters with capital "G" gimmicks, and Conor O'Brian definitely looks like a supernatural/alien invader. But the rhetoric here sounds awfully familiar...like it could have been said by Dean Ambrose or Bray Wyatt to better effect.
Charlotte defeats Bayley
in approximately three minutes via pinfall
- Bayley is out first to a decent pop. Charlotte's pops, Ric Flair, gets his own entrance and B clears the ring so that he can deliver a promo that puts over Orlando as a party town, NXT as a great promotion and his seed as the creator of the next great Diva (really, he talked about his daughter, but I like to pretend he was putting over his own sperm).
- Naitch-ette arrives. She's pretty in an All-American kind of way, but at the risk of sounding sexist, she's got a weird look. There are no angles or curves to her body other than her bust; she does have cut arms and looks like she's pretty strong. The announcers put over her gymnastics background, and she cartwheels on the floor during her intro.
- She doesn't suffer from Michael McGillicutty's desire to not be identified as a legacy, either. She "Woo"s early and often.
- Bayley's exemplary ring and character work are on display throughout. She nicely works the opening lock-up, several suplex variations and a cool bit where she sets up for a Killswitch/Unprettier and turns that into a backslide pin attempt. She also keeps up here fawning over the Nature Boy, complimenting him on "his girl" after the opening stalemate and apologizing to him after most of her attacks.
- Most of Charlotte's offense is gymnastics-based. She does something that Dawson calls Charlotte's Web (get it!?!?) where she does a split to dodge a clothesline and then, when her opponent falls, bridges back over Bayley's legs for a pin attempt. Like a lot of her moves, it looks kind of cool but requires a substantial suspension of disbelief to make it seem like something that would work in a real fight and/or actually hurt.
- A handspring over the ropes dodges a charge, and then Charlotte slams B's face into the turnbuckle. After a sloppy-looking clothesline, she somersaults into a snapmare driver and that earns her the pin. She and her old man strut and WOO in celebration.
Dawson interviews a visiting Celtic Warrior. Sheamus hypes the show and his scheduled match next week, but is assaulted from behind. No, it's not Mark Henry, it's The Wyatt Family! Bray tells him that it "only takes one stone to fell a giant".
Teaser for Tyler Breeze - Mike Dalton's model gimmick. Next week, we will "witness gorgeous". Alrightee then...
Adrian Neville & Corey Graves defeat Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions
in approximately eleven and a half minutes via pinfall when Neville pins Rowan
- No frills entrances for both teams. Regal responds to his storyline issues with the Family by saying, "they beat me badly...what do you want me to day?" Love you, Sir Steven.
- Graves stars early on - he turns Harper around in the corner by his beard in order to put him in a standing reverse triangle over the ropes, and also nails the big man with an impressive dragonscrew leg whip for an early pin attempt that is broken up by Rowan. Luke uses that distraction to hit Corey with a kick to the face and tries a cover of his own.
- We go to a break around this spot and, if you'll allow a little recapper-talk, I like that WWE has been going to commercial at different points in matches. Nobody likes when ads break up a match, but for the longest time you could easily pick out when the break was coming due to how the action in the ring was going - usually when the action went to the floor. For those of us that watch A LOT of wrestling, it keeps us on our toes.
- One more thing, somewhere mid-match, Regal responds to another inane question from Dawson by telling him that he'd like to punch him in the face. See the last sentence in the first bullet point for this match.
- I feel like I've spent large chunks of the last several week's worth of shows watching the leader of the Filth Parade get beaten down by the Wyatts. He's great at it, but, yeah... Harper gets a 2.89 count from a loud side slam and Bray Wyatt is shocked out of his rocker. After Luke misses a big boot in the corner, Corey gets a dramatic tag.
- The Jumpin' Geordie frankensteiners Harper on the floor before dumping Rowan down there as well so he can leap onto both of them. He gets the redbeard back in for a corkscrew shooting star press, aka Red Arrow, but Luke breaks up the pin. Neville manages to get up for it again after fighting off the first son, only to have Wyatt himself push him off the top rope.
- That prompts a run-in from the Great White, who takes out Bray at ringside. In the ensuing confusion, Graves chops Rowan's knee and the Man that Gravity Forgot connects again with Red Arrow to become the first man to hold NXT gold twice.
Sheamus celebrates with the new champs while Regal expounds on how this is a victory for all that is good and righteous in the world of pro wrestling. It would have made a lot more sense for Regal to have been the one to run down and take out the Eater of Worlds.
And so, The Wyatt Family is free of NXT commitments. As for this show, there was nothing wrong with it, per se. But it felt like a let down after last week, and how pumped I was for the opener and the main event. Neither was as good as their counterparts on the July 11th show.
And they really, really need to let Kruger beat Dallas so they can get him off screen and figure out what the h-e-double hockey sticks they want to do with him. Allowing him to be die out there, pushing him as one thing while the crowd sees him as another, just seems cruel.
I'll give this week a B, but it's only saved from a minus or lower by William Regal.
What did you, Cageside Seats' NXT-perts, think of this week's show? Let's hear from you!