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WWE NXT recap, reactions, video highlights (August 5, 2015): Do not exploit chivalry

I'll be honest with you, Cagesiders. I watched two wrestling shows last night, and one of them made me excited to be a wrestling fan and thrilled at the possibilities for the future of the artform.

This was not that show.

Does that mean it was bad, or are we just talking apples and naranjas? Let's find out.


  • Starting off hot, Bayley and Charlotte get the opener and battle through a "commercial break" before the Hugster picks up a big clean pinfall victory on her road to redemption tour.
  • Journalism skills get Michael Cole an empty arena interview with Kevin Owens, who expresses his doubts about General Manager William Regal's ability to give him a fair shot in Brooklyn, so KO wants a ladder match at TakeOver.
  • Deciding to get serious about becoming fit, Bull Dempsey heads to the Performance Center...but doesn't have much luck.
  • Entrance + End of Days = Baron Corbin


  • Right off the bat, I'm cranky. Could have guessed what the main event was going to be from the graphic went with for this episode, but putting a women's match with some heat to it as the curtain jerker while a largely context-free fight between a couple of veterans main events feels like a step in the wrong direction.
  • But, okay, how was the match? Pretty darn good, and a reminder of how spoiled we are, since this would have been an "O MAI GERD" bout from WWE two years ago, and now it's just another good women's match we got this week.
  • My main takeaway was that they booked the right finish. Charlotte is as established as someone can be after only three weeks on the main roster, so a clean loss doesn't hurt her - and Bayley needed a non-shenanigans pin.
  • Some of the work, especially in the first half, was a little sloppy, but the same thing could be said for their TakeOver: Fatal 4Way bout. I think I liked that match slightly more, but wouldn't read too much into that. For a guy who weighes story over technical execution, the build to this encounter felt rushed and I never really doubted the outcome, just how they'd get there.
  • Bayley-canrana and the Super Hugplex were great, but I think my favorite spot was when they were back-to-back and The Hugster climbed the ropes to pop over and hit a Belly-to-Bayley.
  • They best be flying Bayley super-fan #1 to NYC.
  • God Bless, Montreal, Quebec...this week has been a crash course in best-heel-in-the-business, Kevin Owens. What was a standard contract signing melee and weird internet exclusive internet segment is suddenly a key plot point as KO uses it to get a stipulation he thinks suits him for his rematch with Bálor. It's also a reminder of how good NXT Creative can be - using every plot thread and making every second of film count - something that's been lacking as much as top stars like Hideo Itami and Sami Zayn lately.
  • Know it can't and shouldn't happen, but I want Regal vs. Owens. The "man's man" line sealed it.
  • Just wish Kev would have answered Cole's final question instead of doing his patented stomp-off. Somebody needs to stand up and scream about how "The Demon" is horsecrap. But I'll get back to complaining about the champ's character in a minute...
  • Dempsey's vignettes have made me smile. There maybe could have been a little less of them, and this week's decision to air two was a smart one. Because you wouldn't want to just drag something on forever with no payoff in sight...
  • Great job getting meta-heat on Corbin (they're basically doing the pro wrestling version of this - is Brad Maddox writing for this show now?), but, seriously, stop.
  • My hope now is that, with the way Bull's second segment tonight went, Dempsey returns as a face and we do that feud over with the alignments flipped and Corbin gets his ass-kicked every time. Just use some plunder if you're going to book a No-DQ match this time, okay?


  • After scheduling a meeting with the GM like a proper babyface, Bayley requests a Women's title match. Regal compliments her on her win streak, and makes a #1 contender's match against Becky Lynch for next week.
  • Bayley's real-life boyfriend gets squashed by Tyler Breeze, who then finds out from Regal that he'll be facing Jushin "Thunder" Liger at TakeOver: Brooklyn!
  • Also making his WWE debut in Barclay's Center...Apollo Crews!
  • NXT champion Finn Bálor doesn't want to be friends with that classless Kevin Owens any more, and he's not sure if he's bringing "The Demon" to New York City.
  • Debuting their matching shorts, Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley keep their win streak since teaming as Hype Bros alive. Unfortunately, they don't fare as well keeping themselves alive after the victory when Dawson & Wilder take them out with cheap shots and a Shatter Machine.


  • BEX vs. Bayles should be super, and it darn well better main event. But I wonder if the storytelling issues tonight's women's match had won't hamper it as well. I mean, there's no way Hug Life is falling before (or even at) TakeOver, right?
  • Haven't gone back and looked, but they've leaned heavily on the squash during this taping, haven't they? It feels like two months since the Duke of Delish has been in a ring, so I'm not complaining too much, but...
  • Miz-tur Ree-gull spills the worst kept secret in wrestling and while the announce team overdoes the "can you believe it?"s the rest of the, I kind of can't believe it. Nice rub for Breeze working with the legend, and loved the little smile he couldn't keep off his face when Liger came on the 'Tron.
  • Not gonna sweat Uhaa's new name yet. If they present him in a way where he can perform to the best of his abilities, he'll be fine with almost any name (big "if", I know). Plus, this gives us the possibility of a return from Consequences Creed for a feud, tag team or both.
  • Look, I'm not hating on Finn, who's doing what they're telling him to do. But how is it that this "we make movies", marketing juggernaught known as WWE can't come up with anything more interesting for this handsome, freak athlete than soft-spoken guy with a cool entrance? What about this interview made anyone say "I need to see more of that guy!"
  • Regarding, "it's undetermined if The Demon is coming to Brooklyn", can someone please ask him why he wouldn't paint up when he's undefeated that way? We can fantasy book his inner turmoil or the spiritual cost it takes on him all we want, but they need to make that subtext into text. And the fact that no one around him notices that costume = victories makes everyone look dumb and detracts from the drama of his matches.
  • Before I get back to ranting again in a second here, let me say that I like Hype Bros as a team. It's a brilliant way to make Mojo Rawley useful...they've even figured out how to let him get his wind back from the entrance without completely hiding on the apron (the "he ain't hype" shoulder blocks) before letting Zack play face-in-peril so he can come back in as a quick hot tag.
  • Seems like they should be heels, but I don't know that you'll ever get Ryder booed by the masses without a complete gimmick change. And maybe the kiddies will just cheer Mojo without making any association to the douchier aspects of a "Bro" character.
  • Back to complaining, though...why are they beating The Mechanics a week after they upset Enzo & Cass? Sure, they got some heat back with the after-the-bell stuff, but this was a chance to establish some real parity in the growing tag division and establish Dawson & Wilder (the team that'll be more useful if they do want to make a go of using the pairs as the part of the brand that carries shows the way women have over the past year) as legit.
  • Who cares about the name...Shatter Machine is what's true.


  • The GM gives The Vaudevillains a rematch against Blake & Murphy at TakeOver, and tells them to come up with a strategy to deal with Alexa Bliss.
  • Bull gets some help from his friends in the gym, and conquers a giant tire.
  • Two veterans throw serious blows, but in the end, Samoa Joe has a little bit more left in the tank and puts Rhyno away with a Muscle Buster.


  • Hoping Gotch & English hire Regal's Bayley-loving niece as their back-up against Alexa. They need to choose wisely with their third, as it could be the key piece to cementing their face turn from last week.
  • Don't know who you could hope to enlist that would counter a woman capable of taking diabolical liberties like Ms. Bliss, though.
  • Torn on whether The Realest Guys are getting the call-up later this month, or if they're just going to be the tag team version of Sami Zayn or Bayley. Kind of leaning toward the latter, because NXT loves to tell this story with babyfaces who are definitively over...come close, fail, flounder and take dumb losses, regroup, go on a winning streak over everyone you struggled against, win the title.
  • Deathmatch veteran, Women's referee extraordinaire, motivator of out of shape their anything Drake Wuertz can't do?
  • Rhyno vs. Joe was better than I thought it would be, but I still don't know why I care or why I should by the Man-Beast as a threat to anyone when he loses against every name player he faces.

An entertaining show that I became less interested in as it went along, and I'm not sure that's how it's supposed to work.

Seeing a lot of comments that NXT is "Developmental" and how we have to give it time or expect lulls because of that. Problem is that our savior, Based Haitch, has disavowed the "developmental" tag, is touring in bigger venues that any brand other than Vince McMahon's main roster shows and has a 36 year old and a 39 year old fighting each other instead of working with younger talent.

I'm willing to give the show a lot of rope, both because of what I know its capable of and because I still enjoy it a lot week-to-week. But it is still trying to figure out what its going to be in the post-Four Horsewomen, Kevin Owens era...and WWE isn't including a straight-up developmental show on the list of options.

Grade: B

Tell me I'm wrong, Cagesiders.

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