A lot of story progression with occasional short matches mixed in - that's this week's NXT. And if you haven't had enough of HHH in the ring with a microphone, you're in luck. So how did that list of ingredients turn into a pretty satisfying stew? Read on.
Raw General Manager Brad Maddox is fiddling with his phone when a beautiful model breezes onto the scene. Tyler wants to know why he's not a part of the Turmoil set to take place amongst tag teams in order to determine the #1 contenders for the NXT tag titles. As Maddox reasonably explains, it's because Breeze doesn't have a partner.
In comes TB's recent nemesis, CJ Parker. The Moonchild has the same question, and when Brad offers up the same answer, the wrestlers offer up a barrage of solutions. My favorite was CJP's "government funding". But there's a reason the regime trusts Maddox, and he decided to pair the two up for the night. Neither are pleased - Breeze even tries again to get over his idea to clone himself. Brad shuts that down by deadpanning my other favorite line of a great opening segment: "doesn't exist".
Did I miss when the Raw GM got match-making powers in developmental? Not complaining if it gives us comedy gold like that (the best work I've seen from Parker in-ring or out, by the way), but...
TAG TEAM TURMOIL!!!
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady defeat Tyler Breeze & CJ Parker
in approximately one and a half minutes via pinfall when Cassady pins Parker
The New Yorkers are out first, and of course that means they run their mouths all the way to the ring. Pretty good stuff; Enzo's line about their having "winning streaks in their drawers" earned a smile, and Big Cas is getting more time to talk. And not embarrassing himself in the process.
Cassady's trunks now say "Volare" on the front. I didn't know Cassady was an Italian name. But as a guy with one set of grandparents born in Italia and a German-ish last name, I guess I shouldn't talk.
Enzo and CJP start off, with the hippie quickly getting the better of things. He uses an airplane spin, which fits the character (everybody get dizzy now!) and has Amore on the ropes after hitting him with running high knees in the corner.
But Tyler wants in, and the moment it takes Parker to decide where or not to tag him gets Colin in for a big side slam and a pinfall.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady defeat Scott Dawson & Alexander Rusev
in approximately two minutes via pinfall when Amore pins Dawson
Just the fact that Sylvester Lefort introduces them as his "Fighting Legionnaires" earns a ton of goodwill from me. I still don't really enjoy much about them, but a team name gets them in the door, so to speak.
Cassady and Dawson brawl it out at the bell. There's a quick tag to bring in the big Bulgarian, but he runs right into a big boot for Big Cas. Enzo charges in...right into Rusev for a thunderous Samoan drop.
I guess Scott Dawson does the spinebuster in order to play up the Arn Anderson connection the announcers are always trying to make. And it's a decent enough version of the move. But on this very show, Leo Kruger's is ten times more impressive, so I don't think it's working the way they want it to.
Anyway, he hits one on Amore, but the little chihuahua rolls him up and the babyfaces are on to the last match in Turmoil.
Not before the Legionnaires beat the crap out of both of them for a minute or so, though.
The Ascension defeat Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
in approximately two and a half minutes via pinfall when Rick Victor pins Amore
Well, at least each match is a little bit longer. And it's a good think they didn't announce the field in advance, or what little suspense there was about the outcome would have been blown.
Cassady starts off against Conor O'Brian. His being skinny helps, in that he doesn't look like a monster big man, but I'm still surprised at how well he sells the beat down. For his part, Amore is incapacitated in the corner - just holding on to the bottom rope with one arm.
The Ascension work Colin over until he gets an elbow up on a charge from Victor. After being flattened by Conor, he manages to get a boot to O'Brian's face and make a tag. Enzo gets immediately flapjacked, and after a tag, the heels hit their version of The Fall of Man tandem finisher to resume their feud with Corey Graves and Adrian Neville.
Not before the Legionnaires beat the crap out of both of them for a minute or so, though.
Sasha Banks defeats Bayley
in approximately four minutes via pinfall
B gets a good pop, as she comes out first. The recently turned Banks is escorted to the ring by her new mentor Summer Rae - so my dreams of "the corruption of Sasha" being a prolonged story are officially dead. Being evil means wearing a lot more make-up, apparently.
I apologize if this section of your recap gets incoherent. Not only is Bayley in the ring, but Renee Young has joined Tom Phillips and William Regal on commentary. The angle of the Brit macking on RY continues from way back, too. It's okay because it's pretty hilarious.
One slap from the babyface, and Banks goes straight to street mode and responds with a flurry of her own. The psychology here is that Sasha is focusing on Bayley's nose. I can't tell if that was planned (it would fit the new, more vindictive version of the Bostoninan) or an audible, but it worked well. A few facebusters and plants lead us in to a body scissor/chin lock rest hold.
A nice snap suplex gets the heel a two count. She then executes a top rope somersault arm drag. Banks looks great here - better than Bayley, for this match at least - and has impressed more with each outing. She's taken well to the Summer Rae, Jr. character, too and she and the First Lady of NXT loudly taunt the crowd and the babyface throughout.
There's a short-lived comeback where Bayley hits the hugplex for a nearfall, but Sasha catches her on a reverse crossbody attempt and drops her nose first on the top rope. That's all the opening she needs for the handcuff neckbreaker (which needs a name) and a victory.
Summer cuts a promo after the match. It's not one of her best, but she gets her points across. (1) Fandango will be here next week. (2) She and "The Boss" Sasha Banks have taken out Paige and Emma and are now running NXT. Cue Emma for the run-in to chase the heels from the ring and dance for her fans.
Aiden English defeats Bull Dempsey
in approximately two minutes via pinfall
Very similar to his entrance last week, but this week he's outfitted with a beret, scarf and tinted glasses for his song. No lines stood out to me this week. I wonder if he'll have at least some new lyrics for each appearance?
Dempsey gets the full jobber treatment - no name graphic, but at least his name is a lot easier to discern than last weeks. He's a wide body, and gets in a tad more offense that Cuellari did.
Right before his finishing sequence, English blasts out, "YES - the day is mine!" Leg drop, take a bow and exit stage left.
Not before granting us an encore, though. The crowd chants for it and sings along. Would it kill you to boo a heel, NXTzone?
Young catches up with Summer Rae on her way out of the arena to get her reaction to Emma's return. More of the same, if improved by Renee's reactions. When her "baby boopsie" gets here next week, they'll dance all over Emma and a partner of her choosing. The First Lady than shoos RY off to inform the Aussie of her challenge.
Sami Zayn defeats El Local
in approximately three minutes via pinfall
During Sami's usual arm drag sequence to start the match, Tom Phillips plays up his appearing at the house show in Montreal the other week. They know he's ready, but he should ascend the ladder in developmental first, I guess.
As GreyedOut pointed out last week in the comments, Phillips and Regal are the best announce team. Their usual strength is (gasp) actually calling matches, but they are beginning to develop a good back and forth routine as well. Earlier, Regal had accidentally called him Tony (pour one out for the announcer of the JBL and Cole Talent Search). During this one, he asks for Renee to come back.
The masked man has a moment in the sun where he hits a stiff locking neckbreaker that is set up by catching his opponent after a clothesline. He mockingly starts his own Olé chant before locking on a side stretch rest hold.
Sami strikes back to his feet, drops the luchador over his back and Yakuza kicks (can we still call it that?) him into a loss.
The NXT champ is here to congratulate Zayn on his latest victory. And the crowd actually cheers for him at first...smh. Continuing to settle in to his new delivery nicely, he forgives Sami for injuring him at SummerSlam Axxess and announces that he will resume being a fighting champion.
Next week will bring the "Bo Dallas Invitational", where any NXT Superstar can face the champ. If the beat him 1 - 2 - 3, they will earn a title shot. SZ wants his invitation for RIGHT NOW, but Dallas removes the Syrian-Canadian's name from the guest list. He interrupted the NXT champion, and this business is all about respect. To teach Sami some respect, he has to keep trying to earn a title match some other way.
Maddox is working the phones in an office when a tall man wearing a warm-up walks into frame. He looks familiar, like maybe a slightly more toned version of...it is! Kassius Ohno! KO wants to know why he's been out of action when he's been medically cleared for weeks. Brad Mad channels his boss when he tells Ohno that he's a D+ player and they haven't needed him. After being threatened, beautiful Brad does agree to give Kassius a revenge match against one of The Wyatt Family next week. Because "it's best for business".
You know what that means!
HHH is in the ring and with a microphone to end a show for a change. He's walking the heel/face tightrope, putting over NXT as the future and encouraging the fans to chant the show's name.
Continuity prevails though, as The Rhodes family drama is the addressed. The COO is removing Dusty Rhodes from his position as GM of NXT due to the "highly emotional situation" going on in the big leagues involving his sons. In his place, Trips introduces us to the new interim GM...
John Bradshaw Layfield.
Not gonna lie, I was really hoping it would be Maddox. He delivered in his segments tonight, and I tend to like JBL more the less I get of him, if you know what I mean. But his talents for playing a big old baddie shone through in his couple of minuted tonight, shutting down the crowd by telling them that "this isn't sing along with The Wrestling God".
The Best for Business story has come to developmental. Should be interesting...
I enjoyed this show more than the last few, but it was still really light on meaningful wrestling. As a fan of serialized shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it reminded me of an episode that was important to the ongoing story but not one I'd go back and rewatch. The opening vignette and the dueling Zayn - Dallas promos were by far the highlights.
Agree? Disagree? Let's hear from you!