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WWE NXT results, recap, reactions from September 18, 2014: A flat circle

In a small sample of post-live event shows, the follow-up episode doesn't have a great track record.  Can the debut of Hideo Itami break the mold?  We'll find out after a looong recap of everything that happened last week (that didn't include Mojo Rawley or CJ Parker).

Segment One


  • The Fatal 4Way Post-Show tweets were all part of a story - Titus O'Neil is at Full Sail Live and he's pissed that the NXT stars "stole" his time on Raw.
  • Sami Zayn watches Raw, and knows to rib O'Neil about feuding with his old tag partner Adam Rose's bunny.  Adrian Neville tells Zayn to step back, because defending NXT is his job.  Tyson Kidd thinks they're both losers.
  • General Manager William Regal correctly points out that NXT is a fighting show, not a whining show, before taking a page from the Teddy Long playbook and booking a tag main event with the four men in the ring.
  • Rich Brennan, Renee Young and Alex Riley are excited about Hideo Itami's debut, which will come against Justin Gabriel later tonight.
  • Emma returns to Florida and gets more ring time than she's had in months, but still ends up looking at the lights when the Women's champ puts her down.


  • Trying not to freak out, but the last time a big man who can't work came down to Florida from the main shows, we got one of the worst month's worth of shows in NXT history.  His promo here was fine, though, and continued the issues for Sami, Adrian and Tyson perfectly.  I have a sad about him replacing Tyler Breeze in this feud, even if only for an episode, and it stayed with me throughout.
  • Neville seems to have tapped into whatever charima juice Kidd found when he turned heel on this show.  The cocky edge he's taken on since booking himself into a match where he didn't have to be beaten to lose his title really suits him.  It also makes his character unique, where before he was about as generic as it comes.  His retort to Zayn's questioning the morality of his actions last week nailed the sweet spot of being a dick without being a full-on heel much better than John Cena and his Photoshopped Powerpoints ever have.
  • Natty's husband is now delivering his catchphrase under his breath between topics, and I love it.  That he says it after things that aren't things you'd normally characterize as "facts", like I feel your pain, is even better.
  • Was just muttering to myself about how this was a Raw or Impact-length talking segment to open the show when Regal came out to say it for me.  Thanks, you old villain.
  • Emma's back!  Poor Emma.  Maybe she'll get a chance to re-establish herself down here.  Maybe she'll continue to be punished on her old show.  She looked kind of not good here tonight.  Hopefully it was nerves, or lack of chemistry with Charlotte, and not a mental block-related to everything going wrong that could have possibly gone wrong since her call-up.
  • The champ is taking it to the next level, at least in the ring.  Her selling and counters were as good as her offense tonight, and she's getting comfortable enough with her finisher that it feels much more "she can hit it from anywhere" and less "that's really contrived".
Segment Two


  • ITAMI TIME!  Hideo debuts in a pretty balanced match against the former Nexus member, pulling out a win with his array of kicks and one of Fergal Devitt's finishers.
  • The deposed tag champs crash Hideo's celebration, and after a brief comeback by the newcomer, lay him out with Fall of Man.
  • Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker II looks a lot like Baron Corbin vs. CJ Parker I from last week.
  • Pre-tape of Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady getting ready for their tag match with Les Legionnaires at the Performance Center and getting interrupted by Carmela from their last pre-tape.  She wants to join the NXT roster and she's counting on Enzo & Cass' help...since they cost her her old job by Nair-ing a customer's poodle.


  • We'll probably get some tweaks to it, or a couple of whole other tunes, but Itami's theme works for me.  The chimes are evocative without being offensive, and I dig the Black Sabbath-esque chords driving the beat after them.
  • The Darewolf was a good choice for Hideo's first WWE match.  Just the right mix of  kayfabe credibility and real world in-ring experience.  I would have rather it been Cesaro to set-up a long feud like Sami got, but it was a fun match that allowed us to see the world famous newcomer both taking and delivering offense.
  • Kind of rough - they didn't get into a rhythm until the end, and there was dicey springboard drop kick that almost hit Gabriel in the crotch .  A lot to love, too, though - the back drop upkick early on that seemed to put him in control, and the taunting little foot taps to the face before the finish.
  • A little worried that folks are going to see him as a knock-off Daniel Bryan.  The finishing sequence he used tonight is something the WWE Universe associates with the beard.  And it's really weird that he used the top rope double foot stomp as his finisher...since WWE guys took his finishing moves, he's taking one of Devitt's signature spots before the Irishman debuts?
  • Either we got piped in crowd noise, or Full Sail Live is all-in on the name change, because that was a loud Ha-Day-O chant.  They also really wanted Kalisto & Sin Cara to make a save, and it was a bit of a downer that they at least didn't chase Konnor & Viktor off after they hit their finisher.
  • Going from almost a year without being challenged to I assume two losses in three weeks (it was announced that The Ascension will rematch Lucha Dragons for the tag belts on next week's episode) has to be humbling, and that's without getting into this feud they seem to be engaged in with a 180 pound Asian fellow.  I do not know what they're doing with the Yah-Yah brotherhood.
  • Speaking of folks I don't know what they're doing with, CJ Parker went down just as quickly as he did at Takeover.  Not sure these matches have helped Corbin, either.  But at least he got an entrance, and the crowd loves him because they have the Eco-Warrior.  Okay, I love him too, but more for the finisher (End of Days is a good name, but without anything more to go on character-wise beyond some motorcycle sounds at the start of his music and an open road on his video, it might fit The Ascension more than the former football player), and even more for the stalking out of the ring immediately after getting his hand raised gimmick.
  • So, here's what we know about Carmella.  She's a former Los Angeles Laker and New England Patriot dancer/cheerleader.  Her dad was a WWF jobber in the late 80s through mid 90s named Paul Van Dale.  In the spring, she managed Cass on house shows as "the Princess of Staten Island" and this summer she had some matches against Devin Taylor.  She's got a good look and has this character down pretty well, based on a couple of vignettes.  I hope she can keep it up and/or go in the ring, seeing as how she lost her job at "Hair" and all.
  • The powers-that-be at NXT clearly know that Enzo and Cass' gifts are on the microphone.  It'll be interesting to see if they're working on developing them as workers, or just planning to hide their issues behind lots of plot.  So far, it's the latter.
  • Guess I'm just a sucker for a good straight man (in the comedy sense, you perverts), because as funny as Amore is ("shutup uppercut"), it's Cassady that tends to get me.  "Down goes 'Zo" and the bit where he turns the camera around at the end to deadpan the last word and promise his buddy not to post the video were my favorite parts of this bit.
Segment Three / Main Event
  • All four men get their full entrance, and some early one upmanship leads to Sami Zayn getting worked over by Tyson Kidd & Titus O'Neil.
  • Adrian Neville & Zayn seem to have each other's backs at the right time, but heeling thwarts the Red Arrow a couple of different ways, and Kidd gets another pin on the champ in a tag match.
  • Sami is supportive of his partner, but the babyfaces obviously have some issues to work out.


  • My pet peeve about taking up time for four entrances before the main event on a fifty-or-so minute program (but we couldn't get Breeze's on a three hour Raw, you bastards!?!?) draws my attention to the fact that this show is relying a lot on these "four singles guys in a tag match" main events these days.  Don't get in a rut, booker people.
  • Zayn & Neville's blind tags, Sami doing the champ's standing moonsault only to be answered with that bonkers standing corkscrew moonsault and the Likeable One blocking a dive by Neville in a callback to the live bout from last week were excellent storytelling.  Sometimes I wonder how long they can keep the friendly rivalry feud alive before paying if off.  Then I watch these guys work and I forget to worry about anything for a while.
  • I wonder if Kidd is getting tired of carrying more than his share of these matches.  O'Neil was limited to strikes and slams, because O'Neil's repertoire is limited to strikes and slams.  His character is fun, but let him exercise that in an odd couple comedy pairing with Heath Slater and not on NXT.

I realize that NXT spoils us, and that you need to book the occasional reset show like this one.  I sure would have liked to see any or all of the new tag champs, Sasha Banks, Bayley or, you know, that good looking guy, on this episode instead of the cast of Superstars (sorry Emma).

There was nothing wrong with the show, but outside of the novelty of Itami's in-ring debut, nothing to write home about, either.

Grade: B

Let me have it, Cagesiders.

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