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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights from May 13, 2015: Not coming back this time

Opening with an extended look at Sami Zayn's United States title challenge sets an ominous tone, but also provides your daily reminder that WWE can produce bad-ass, chill-inducing video packages in their sleep.


  • A few gimmick tweaks don't help Solomon Crowe from becoming the latest victim of End of Days.
  • Accepting Baron Corbin's challenge for Unstoppable ends with Rhyno Gore-ing some extras during a pull apart brawl between the two monsters.
  • Each wrestler in next week's #1 contender Triple Threat gets a sitdown interview spot with Corey Graves. Finn Bálor and Tyler Breeze are up first, and both think they'll win.
  • Women's champ Sasha Banks cuts a promo on her challenger at TakeOver, Becky Lynch, and then welcomes Cassie McIntosh to NXT by making her tapout to a Bank Statement.
  • Bayley & Charlotte do their odd couple routine to call out Emma & Dana Brooke for next week's live special.


  • Let's the plus column, Crowe's new haircut and the announce team's explanation that his character is here to stand up for freaks & nerds. Big minus for the music change. Modified singlet is a push.
  • And, hey, although I initially feared he was going to get the Dempsey/Parker treatment, he got in a lot of offense on The Lone Wolf. I remain less than optimistic about his long-term WWE prospects, however. The long delay in getting to television followed by how he's been treated since do not strike me as someone for whom they have big plans.
  • Working heel suits Corbin nicely. The vicious streak he's displayed since the end of his program with Bull gives him something to do while working slowly, and synches with his mannerisms. As a face, he came off as bored. Now he seems sadistic. There's a lot of work to be done, but it's a promising development.
  • Rhyno is Rhyno. Never been my cup of tea, but he's done a lot of the work to make this seem like a hot feud in only a couple of weeks. The brawl was spirited, and is another good sign. Now they need to make sure they turn it up a notch next Wednesday. Another tepid excuse for a hoss fight like Baron's last TakeOver match and he might not recover.
  • Wasn't terribly impressed with either Finn or Tyler's talking head spot. Breeze has done better, and Bálor on the mic doesn't do much for me. Liked that he developed the "bringing the demon" aspect of his character a little more, and thought he leaned a little rudo in his delivery.
  • The Boss is my everything. I'm with Graves in that the drop double knees spot is my favorite thing in the business.
  • Much like Rhyno, Full Sail is Full Sail. They've never been my ideal of a wrestling crowd, but a lot of people like them and they have their moments. Tonight, between the way they've turned on Corbin, to the unoriginal "Black Shorts" chant for the newcomer here and especially whoever the hell started a "This is Awesome" chant after Finn's entrance in the tag match...grrrr.
  • The Hugster and the Nature Girl are never going to set the world on fire with their verbal skills, but glad we're seeing a little more awareness from Bayley. Maybe it's just that I've been chronicling this show long enough to remember Charlotte's debut vignettes with B and her pops, but I'll always have a soft spot for their weird brand of chemistry.


  • Uhaa Nation is getting a big rollout, but no debut date beyond "Coming Soon".
  • Blake & Murphy tell Carmella she picked the wrong team by distracting her to allow Alexa Bliss get a win over Enzo & Cass' girl, but the Princess of Staten Island tells the tag champs they won't be tag champs after next week (howudoin).
  • Breaking the pattern, Hideo Itami does have a preference of who he'll face if he wins the #1 contender's match.
  • Emma & Dana accept.
  • Finn & Hideo don't address the hard feelings that resulted from Itami kicking Bálor through the barricade last week, and it costs them a win in a match against the surprisingly cohesive team of Breeze & Adam Rose.
  • That cohesion ends when forgets his place and ends up Supermodel Kicked out of Cutesville along with those other two Uggos.


  • Somehow, I have no concerns about Uhaa's pre-debut rollout compared to, say, Dana Brooke's.
  • Looks like they've succeeded in keeping (turning) Carm babyface, and hopefully someone in power recognizes that they did so by having her stand-up for herself to friend and foe alike, refusing to be the sexy lamp in a feud between four dudes.
  • Her wrestling seems to be progressing slowly, and I think she has a good grasp of psychology and knows how to make the most out of things like the Lotus Lock she busted out here. Bliss, on the other hand, is kind of maddening. She's obviously got the athleticism and agility, but everything is still so deliberate and...whatever the opposite of fluid is.
  • The Jericho topknot just might end up being the key element that really gets Blake & Murphy over.
  • Kudos all around for the storytelling in this segment, but, again, it was so key that they didn't have The Realest Guys run in and "save" Carmella. It not only builds to next week, making you want to tune in to see The Dubstep Cowboys get their asses handed to them, but it also shows that Carm can stand on her own - and that Enzo & Cass listened to her when she told them that. Having her chant SAWFT may be cheap pop, but the seven-footer wasn't the first guy to say it and nobody gives him crap for using it.
  • Who knows what to believe with these injury reports, but if you are about to have six to twelve months off, Hideo, keep working on that English. You're doing an amazing job with it so far. His calling Owens' a bad person that he didn't respect made me want that feud even more than I already did - which was something I didn't think was possible.
  • Brooke reminds me of the girl in high school drama club who overacts and overannunciates everything thinking it makes her a better actor. Dark Emma is probably the best non-Boss talker in among all WWE women right now.
  • Not sure if it was that this was late in a full night of taping or what, but something about the tag match felt kind of listless. Nothing seemed as snug or crisp as I'm used to from these performers. It was fine and, like Bliss vs. Carmella, told a necessary story well. We've just seen better from pretty much every possible combination of these wrestlers.
  • They needed to add something to the #1 contender's match for Unstoppable, though, and in two weeks they've added conflict between the babyfaces while building the heel up to look really strong.
  • Will probably never tire of watching Breeze sell Itami's hot tag/babyface comeback combination of chops and kicks, though.
  • Will also never stop enjoying seeing Rose snap off relatively basic moves like suplexes, or DAT SPINEBUSTER (has he ever turned it into a Boston Crab like he did in this match? That's pretty darn cool). It's part (probably the smallest one in the big picture, but...) of what makes the Ray Leppan story sad/frustrating. A comedy gimmick is a terrible misuse of his skills. Leo Kruger was great because it easily explained booking him as a mid-card technician.
  • Spent most of this match thinking a Breeze/Rose tag team was a great idea, right up until I marked out for The Duke of Delish Supermodel kicking his head off for touching him. He clearly told everyone not to touch him. Seriously, it could still be a good main roster pairing, and one where the break-up feud would be just the thing to send Tyler to greater heights than his gimmick would otherwise help him achieve.
  • Was the Itami injury supposed to have happened at a house show after these tapings? Cause he looked fine here.


  • Exclusive video of Sami Zayn after his Raw Montreal experience reveals that he hurt his shoulder during his entrance and then felt it "pop out" or "tear" when Cena back suplexed him.
  • Back in Full Sail, Zayn gets badly dubbed to add his main roster injury to the storyline, and then gets deeply personal to get under Kevin Owens skin while demanding an explanation for his friend's actions over the last six months.
  • The NXT champ initially declines to answer Sami. After walking up the ramp, without turning around, Kevin Owens tells The Likeable One that he knows how to hurt him, and when he does it next week, Zayn won't come back again.


  • Don't like hearing Sami say the word "tear". No sir, don't like it all.
  • Surprised they included the pre-match genesis of the injury, though. It was pretty obvious, and wouldn't fit his character to deny it, but it's still not what I expected - or how they played it in the show-opening video package.
  • No idea what to believe on the work vs. shoot nature of my favorite Syrian-Canadian's shoulder. It looked real to me on Raw, and if it was 100% made up for kayfabe, would pretty much be unprecedented for WWE in terms of coordinating a story across time and brands. So, I'm leaning toward it being a shoot that they're now working into a story where they already planned to do an injury angle...I think?
  • They're in a bind because of when this was filmed. They couldn't have ignored what happened on Raw, but they'd already gone in on the mystery injury angle as KO's last threat. Between looking for evidence in the shoot or work feud in my head and then fantasy booking what Owens would have been talking about before we all saw Zayn with an injured shoulder, plus wondering if they're calling an audible with what he means now...I ended up confused where I probably would have been on the edge of my seat otherwise.
  • Even factoring in that in, this wasn't really high on my all-time list of Sami vs. Kev verbal showdowns. The contract signing was going to be tough to top anyway, and it's kind of hard to make their issues feel more personal at this point.
  • And where the succeeded in doing that, they also made Zayn seem like kind of a dick bringing up Owens' son. I'll alway be team Sami, and when your opponent's closing line is about ending your career, you're pretty much the good guy by default, and whatever tactics you want to use are going to be a step above that. Plus, KO makes his family fair game when he uses them as justification for everything. So, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, and I actually fully support the shades of gray NXT gives to heels and faces in the main event. But as an "Underdog from the Underground" mark, I was a little disappointed in my guy - especially considering his last feud was all about winning the right way.
  • Just really worried about what Zayn can and/or should be trying to do in a match next week.

Nothing was truly remarkable, but they still did pretty much everything you'd want a 'go home' show to do. I am more interested in all of the matches on the TakeOver: Unstoppable card after watching this than I was before...even if I'm also kind of queasy about the health of guys in two of them.

Grade: B

Agree? Disagree? Let's get this party started.

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