Between Royal Rumble fallout and that other little story that dropped yesterday, this week has been (Super)crazy, Cagesiders. I'm excited to watch and talk about some actual wrestling, but also a little pressed for time. So, FYI, this week's NXT post is going to be a hybrid of Rex's live blogging and Geno's instant reactions.
As if to immediately quell my enthusiasm, it's The Ascension!
The Ascension vs. These Guys
- I do like the tweaks to the gimmick we've been given. They're only being announced as Konnor and Viktor now, and the chainmail top the former is wearing shows off his size better. Now would you please provide some backstory!
- They're the longest reigning NXT tag champs in history. Faint praise, but those belts have been a bit of a curse. It's also weird that given the resurgence of team wrestling on the main shows, there's really only this one established team in developmental. Heal faster, Enzo!
- Mike Cuellari (?) and John Icarino (?) get the full jobber treatment. No entrance, no graphics. I think Mike has been in this role before.
- Viktor holds an armbar on a downed Cuellari and pumps the shoulder along with a chant that I think only he can hear. That leads to a single-arm suplex. It's an interesting bit of in-ring personality, but it seems more like something that Zack Ryder would do.
- Icarino gets in to an impressive-looking clothesline from Viktor, who then tags in Konnor for a diving clothesline. The crowd is now cheering the big man...not sure what that's about. A couple of quick tags leads to the Fall of Man and victory for the champs.
The Ascension defeats These Guys in approximately two and a half minutes via pinfall when Viktor pins That Guy
And the hits just keep on coming, as no one's favorite Sylvester Lefort is holding open auditions for his new "money-makers". He rejects a cat named Cal Bishop for cauliflower ear, despite the fact that he is a two time Pac-12 amateur wrestling champ.
William Regal's back! But so is Alex Riley. The things they're hyping for the show are a contract signing and The Miz vs. CJ Parker. Tryingtostaypositive, tryingtostaypositive, tryingtostaypositive...
Well, look who's back.
Corey Graves vs. Camacho
- Graves has been going shopping with Batista, but the skinny jeans look much more appropriate on the twenty-something Corey. He cuts a brief promo that confirms that he's still a heel, and hints that he may still be feuding with Adrian Neville.
- Hunico's partner arrives alone on his tricked-out Schwinn. The announce team tells us that Camacho is now a singles competitor, which is probably as close to an official announcement on the "Hunico is Sin Cara" story as we're likely to get.
- The Tongan hits a couple of impressive power maneuvers, but when he chased Graves to the floor after a roll-out, the Pittsburgher snaps his knee over the bottom rope. A few punches to the head and Camacho is limber enough to take Lucky 13. He taps in the middle of the ring.
- Not sure I would have used a guy who was taking the tag champs to the brink a few weeks ago to rebuild the Savior of Misbehavior, but there you go. Corey keeps the hold on after the bell because, like Regal, he's a villain.
Corey Graves defeats Camacho in approximately one minute via submission
Devin Taylor is with our hero, Antonio Cesaro. He doesn't understand why people can't take "no" for an answer. This is a great promo from the Swiss Superman, running down Sami Zayn, putting himself over and ending by wondering why he is bothering to explain himself. To her credit, Taylor almost uses her face to react to Antonio.
There's a WWE Shop spot that opens with CM Punk and makes me sad.
Lefort's talent parade continues with Sawyer Fulton...and I think they just tried for some humor about Fulton being a homosexual and hitting on Sylvester. In 2014.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
- Everybody gets accompanied by somebody: B with new NXT regular Natalya, The Boss by her BFFs Summer and Charlotte, and William Regal by Renee Young. Charlotte is either accompanied by new breasts or a push-up bra, because the girls are looking prominent in a tight tee-shirt.
- Bayley tries to go after her former friend a couple of times right at the bell, and that let's Sasha slap attack from behind. Banks does a cool spot that fits her character when she does a tantrum-y stomp to B's back while she's prone in the corner.
- I really am not into Renee as women's guest commentator. She ends up saying things that take the cause back several years by acting like a gossip columnist (telling us about Charlotte's world travels) or providing stereotypical insights about how women don't handle their emotions well.
- Back to the action, Bayley muscles out of a straight jacket hold and comes at Banks with her usual impressive offensive, including a cool corkscrew back elbow that really gets the crowd fired up.
- Charlotte jumps up on the apron to cause a distraction, but Natty yanks her off for a painful looking bump. When Summer Rae runs over to make it a two-on-one on the floor, Bayley goes to check on her mentor. That lets Banks try for a roll-up, but she only gets two.
- The frustrated BFF stands right up into a Belly-to-Bayley Hugplex and the pinfall victory for the Smark's Sweetheart.
Bayley defeats Sasha Banks in approximately three minutes via pinfall
Tyler Breeze vs. Colin Cassady
- The build-up is longer than the match, and that's pretty much fine. Tyler doesn't like being called "sawft" and spends a bunch of time getting himself together. Big Cas borrows a fan's phone to strut around himself and snap a few selfies. After Breeze announces "I'm not soft, I'm gorgeous", we're ready to go.
- The Captain of Cutesville gets a couple of kicks to the gut, but after that, it's mostly Cassady punching Breeze right in the mush. A big drop elbow isn't enough to keep the model down, but he stands up into a big boot that look like it might.
- But then Aiden English appears on the big screen, and sings to Colin about how everyone is a certified G until an actor walks in the room. He then steps into the break room where Enzo is chilling in his leopard scooter.
- Cas is stares at the screen and moves toward backstage, allowing Breeze to connect with the Beauty Shop and pick up another cheap win.
Tyler Breeze defeats Colin Cassady in approximately two and a half minutes via pinfall
After a break, Cas barges into the break room, but finds Amore unharmed and no sign of English. The scene that follows has to be seen to be believed. I would honestly watch a non-wrestling sitcom of Enzo and Big Cas doing their routine. In a nutshell, if The Artiste wants to play games, Cas can play games - and he ain't talking chess. I hope these guys start stacking W's soon.
CJ Parker vs. The Miz
- Regal is truly our avatar in the WWE Universe. He says that there's something about Miz that makes him want to punch him in the face every time he sees him.
- Miz with some chops that are well received by the audience, but CJP turns the table. Something goes weird with an atomic drop, and The Awesome One stands right back up out of it and hits a drop kick. A baseball slide gives the former WWE champ to high-five some fans, but he comes back into a big heel kick that put Parker in control again.
- The way they're talking about CJ from the booth, I guess they are going with him as a heel from here on. Seems like he will be an egotistical hippie the way Daniel Bryan was a vegan heel and Punk was a straight-edge one.
- Miz works the thigh to try and set up the Figure Four, but Parker reverses it out of it a couple of times. Eventually though, the main roster star catches a boot attempt in the corner and whips CJ down for the submission.
Miz defeats CJ Parker in approximately four and a half minutes via submission
Sami Zayn answers a question about Cesaro in a "previously backstage", saying that if Antonio want to turn down his challenge, he can do it face-to-face in the ring next week.
Another Lefort segment has Mason Ryan come in and agree to work for the Frenchman one one condition - Sylvester has to beat him next week.
Then, it's contract signing time. Renee Young is our emcee, and her black leather pants make me forget about any criticisms I had of her earlier. I guess I'm just a sexist bastard, too.
Adrian Neville rolls out in warm-up pants and a pink polo shirt. When Bo's music play, he's a no show, so the Geordie signs and tells Renee to have Dallas do the same next time she sees him.
The champ does show up then, saying that he's not scared of Neville, but he is tired of him. This is an intense side of Dallas that we haven't seen in a long while. He tells Adrian to take his girl and grab a seat, because he has something to show him.
Bo Dallas (c) vs. Danny Burch
- Pretty much what you would expect, as the champ pulls Burch into back elbows while glowering at the #1 contender. He also levels him with a big clothesline, but the British brawler does manage to kick out of each pinfall attempt.
- Burch mounts a tiny comeback with some strikes, but then Bo pulls him into what I hope is his new finisher, a double underhook STO (that's my best call - feel free to chime in in the comments, especially you, official technical consultant to TMB's favorite recapper of internet-only shows).
Bo Dallas defeats Danny Burch in approximately two and a half minutes via pinfall
The champ tells Neville to bring him his little contact and he'll sign it right now. I have to say, I'm getting flashed of big brother's demeanor in this version of Bo. He says he'll see Adrian on the 27th and walks off, but not before elbowing him in the back of the head. The Man that Gravity Forgot leaps on his back as he's heading up the ramp, and we fade to black on the pair brawling there.
The whole was not greater than the sum of its parts. The only match that I loved was the women's contest, and there was some great mic and character work from Cesaro and especially Enzo & Cas. But the other bouts felt like filler, and the running bits with Lefort ranged from bad to offensive.
What did you all think?