I tried to buy a ticket on a whim to NXT Philly because I was off on Thursday. I got through on the sale at 10am the day they went on sale and got a 2nd row ticket so I decided to make the trek from Connecticut to Philly. It was a bit of a nightmare travel day because of the AMTRAK closure, but I ended up on the greyhound down and back and it was absolutely worth it.
The Tower Theater is like any big theater where you'd see a play or a musical. The ring was on the stage with four rows of bleachers behind it. The lady checking my ticket told me to go up on stage and I was a bit shocked that my seat was there. When I got up there I looked for row 2, seat 16 which is what my ticket said, but the usher up there said it was first come, first serve seating so I got to sit in the middle of the damn front row. It was incredible. For pictures check out my twitter feed (shameless plug) https://twitter.com/DanWeiner
Before the show started the announcer (regretfully I don't remember his name) announcer Joey Styles to a huge "ECW" chant from the fans, but Joey did a great job putting over NXT essentially saying ECW was the past and NXT is the future. When the show started Bill F'n Regal's music hit and he came out to introduce the show. As for the card:
Blake and Murphy def. Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Enzo and Cass started the show to a THUNDEROUS pop from the crowd. Those guys were super over. They did their shtick and the crowd ate it up. Blake and Murphy came out to boos. Blake had his hair in pigtails which drew a "you look stupid" chant. The chants sadly de-evolved eventually to a "Blake sucks Murphy clap clap clapclapclap" chant which was disappointing, but then a section of fans retorted with "that's ok" during the claps which is tremendous. So you're saying one guy performs oral sex on another? That's cool if that's what they do. Great way to diffuse a homophobic chant.
Anyway, typical match. Cass uses Enzo as a weapon, eventually Blake and Murphy get the upper hand on Enzo, Cass makes the hot tag, but can't overcome the 2-on-1 and the champs hit their finisher on Cass for the win. After the match, Blake and Murphy try to beat up Enzo, but Cass makes the save and the faces give the heels their comeuppance to make the crowd happy. After the match, Enzo patted me on the shoulder and thanked me for wearing my Sawft t-shirt. That was SO cool.
Bull Dempsey def. Jason Jordan
This was a weird match because neither guy played the face. Bull was greeted with a "Bull-shit" chant which he found amusing. I dig Jason Jordan's look, but man he has nothing else. Put me in the camp of people who think Bull needs repackaging. The long stringy hair and singlet ain't cutting it. Probably because of the concussion lawsuit, Bull ditched the flying headbutt and got the win with a flying seated senton.
Bayley and Alexa Bliss def. Dana Brook and Becky Lynch
Bayley was also really over, because who doesn't love her? Alexa Bliss is a tiny human being. That was really weird. Dana Brook made fun of her height so Bayley lifted Alexa up on her shoulders for a bit that was funny. It was a solid match that ended when Bayley hit the belly-to-Bayley on Dana for the win. I, along with most everyone in the front row, got a hug after the match!
Kevin Owens def. Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor in a NXT title match
It was a surprise this was so early in the card. All three guys got huge pops. No demon entrance from Balor, but it was still super cool. Owens was amazing. He decided the other two didn't deserve a title shot so he wasn't going to fight so he just sat at ringside playing a smark. He got "Sit, Owens sit" and "Chill, Owens Chill" chants which were funny. He started a "This is awesome" chant from his seat.
Eventually Balor attacked him causing him to get involved in the match. He and Breeze decided to team up on Balor so Owens started blatantly calling the spots really loudly in a joking manner:
"Let's do a double clothesline. That ALWAYS works." So they hit Balor with it.
"Let's do that again since it worked so well!" They hit him again.
"Double elbow, that always works too!" and they hit him again.
After a double suplex in which they couldn't decide who should be on which side of it, Breeze went for the pin pissing Owens off and then a traditional triple threat match started.
There were three sick spots in the match. After Owens threw Breeze off the stage, in nearly one continuous motion, Balor jumped over the top rope on Owens, got up and dove off the stage onto Breeze. Second, Breeze had Owens in a sleeper (which got a Sleep, Owens sleep chant) Owens did a running senton onto Balor with Breeze on his back. Then in one quick motion Owens hit the popup powerbomb on Breeze and then Balor immediately hit him with the running drop kick in the corner.
The finish came when Balor hit the double stomp on Breeze and Owens threw Balor out of the ring and got the pin. That ended up bringing out Regal again who announced the main event for the Friday show would be Balor vs. Owens. Balor said Owens better bring his A game because he was bringing the demon. So yeah, if you were on the fence about going tonight, get your ass to Philadelphia.
After a brief intermission, the announcer introduced Mick Foley who came out and put NXT over. All I noticed though was how gingerly Mick walks these days. It's a sad reminder of the affects of what he did to his body for out entertainment.
Solomon Crowe def. Tye Dillinger
Crowe got a good pop and a CZW chant. Dillinger is now "The Perfect 10" (not sure if it's been on TV because I'm a few episodes behind) but he has pink tights with a sequined 10 on his ass and carries a big sign with the number 10 on it. The crowd booed the hell out of him. When the ref took his sign and turned his back on him, Dillinger pulled out a laminated 8x10 piece of paper with the number 10 on it which the crowd laughed at. It might have been sarcastic, but Dillinger was winning the crowd over. It was a pretty good back and forth match which Crowe won with the stretch muffler submission.
Rhyno vs Baron Corbin
Rhyno got a big pop and ECW chant. The crowd HATED Corbin, just flat out crapped on everything he did. This was probably the weakest match. Aside from a couple of Irish whips into the turnbuckle where Corbin threw Rhyno so hard the ring moved it just wasn't very good to me. Pretty slow and plodding for the most part. Corbin hit the end of days for the win and then got on the mic to berate Joey Styles and ECW and said he'd take down any ECW original Joey could find. He then turned around and Rhyno gored him. Joey Styles announced on Twitter that he accepted Corbin' challenge so if you're coming tonight you'll get to see a surprise appearance from someone, my money is on Tommy Dreamer.
After that Triple H got announced to a huge pop. He came out recording everything on his phone. He got a "thank you, Hunter" chant but then thanked the fans for making this happen. He then mentioned give Divas a chance and said NXT was giving women a chance and announced Charlotte vs Sasha Banks in the main event.
Sasha Banks def. Charlotte
This match was AWESOME. They put everything on the line and kicked the crap out of each other. The crowd, to me, seemed skeptical of this as a main event, but they quickly won them over. There were a bunch of innovative spots. Charlotte did Ric's face first flop to a huge pop at one point. She lifted Sasha up in a powerbomb that was so sick I can't even describe how she did it. Eventually, Sasha got Charlotte to tap to the Banks Statement.
It was just amazing to be there and be able to see this because these two main evented the show for one reason:
They are two of NXT's elite performers. Right now, I'd say the top 5 NXT performers in no particular order are Owens, Balor, Breeze, Banks and Charlotte (with Zayn and Itami injured). They have worked their asses off to get here and they had a match worthy of main eventing any WWE live event card. I really hope I can someday say I was there for history. Someday hopefully soon these amazing women will be main eventing WWE cards and hopefully they can help change the tone of women's wrestling on WWE's main programming.
I'm now approaching 28 hours without sleep because of my travel schedule to and from Philadelphia but every second of sleep deprivation is totally worth. What a fun night to be part of.