Here’s a recap and review of the 10/9 edition of NXT.
Tyler Breeze vs. Mojo Rawley
Quick background for those who don’t normally tune in to NXT. Tyler Breeze has become an important part of the main event scene in NXT for quite sometime. The best way to describe Breeze is he is what would happen if you took Zoolander and turned him into Shawn Michaels after he debuted his boy toy persona. Make no mistake about it, Breeze can go in the ring. I see good things for him on the main roster most likely as a heel. Fans who strictly watch the main roster shows probably won’t get the Breeze gimmick when he debuts but what makes it work from a wrestling perspective is he’s a cocky, self absorbed model who lives as if the world revolves around him. What’s there not to hate?
Mojo Rawley continues to be an enigma in NXT. When he arrived he was full of energy so much so that the fans were turned off from it. The energy and the constant badgering of positivity just didn’t sit well. Nothing wrong with it’s just hard to believe a wrestler could be that positive when he has to go and punch people in the face while getting punched back. I think NXT officials felt the same which is why Mojo has turned down the intensity a bit. He came into the match with, as the announcers called it, a chip on his shoulder. He’s developing a small following with the NXT Universe so who’s to say Mojo Rawley isn’t turning the corner?
One of my favorite aspects of NXT is how much of a modern wrestling product it is yet it is heavy on the old school wrestling influence. Case in point Tyler Breeze has been on a roll since he has been placed in the main event scene. Although he did not win the NXT Title at Takeover II his showing as well as the rest of the competitors was so stellar that the loss really did not affect his standings. Mojo Rawley however hasn’t had the same luck inside the squared circle. His partner Bull Dempsey attacked him after losing in the Tag Title Tournament which led to their match at Takeover II. The match ended as quickly as it began with Dempsey using a blitzkrieg offensive style in which Rawley was never able to conquer. The two would have a rematch and although it wasn’t as quick the end result was the same. After the loss Tyler Breeze comes out not even giving Rawley time to head to the back. The two brush shoulders on the entrance ramp to which Breeze takes offense to. Breeze launches Rawley into the corner post shoulder first for really no reason at all which leads to tonight’s match.
The Match: This one took less than four minutes if you take out the entrances to the ring. Once Rawley’s shoulder is attacked Breeze is like a shark smelling blood. Breeze locks on a Fujiwara Armbar and the match quickly comes to a close. Times are looking tough for Mojo Rawley but in a way it sheds the notion that the man is unbeatable simply because he’s a positive energetic person, which is a good thing. It’s almost like the John Cena affect, building a guy up who as a positive mental attitude but in Rawley’s case they are being more cautious this time letting the emotion of the audience dictate how the character is portrayed.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
After the match we get another video from Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Two of my favorite guys are looking to convince NXT General Manager William Regal to give their friend Carmella an audition of sorts to see if she has what it takes to be a WWE Diva. Check it out.
That submission is something else. On NXT the female talent isn’t known as Divas, simply women. Feuds are based off of the hunger to be NXT Women’s Champion. All of the female talent are just as good as their male counterparts and in some respects even better. Seeing what these ladies can do in the ring really puts a smile on my face.
Hideo Itami vs. Viktor of The Ascension
Afterward we get a quick recap in the ongoing feud between The Ascension and NXT new-comer Hideo Itami. For those who aren’t keen to wrestling outside of WWE, Hideo Itami comes to NXT after building a legendary career in Japan mainly for Pro Wrestling NOAH as KENTA. For someone who has only wrestled in the US for short periods of time before signing with the WWE, Itami’s influence on wrestling has been felt for many years. Itami is the man who debuted the “Go 2 Sleep” a maneuver made famous in the WWE. Daniel Bryan’s Running Knee Strike is also a move made famous by Itami and if you haven’t seen any Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) vs. KENTA matches click here for our Match of the Day featuring both men battling in Japan. WWE seems to be making a big deal about Itami as he’s been featured on every episode of NXT since Takeover II. Are we poised to see another legendary career, this time as Hideo Itami in WWE?
Even without the titles The Ascension continue to be a huge force in the tag team division in NXT. Most likely these are some of the last times Ascension will be a fixture in NXT as they are pretty close to being called up to the main roster. A dominant tag team that can make a lengthy WWE Tag Title run seem legit is what WWE desperately needs for their lackluster tag division on the main roster.
The Ascension almost ruined Hideo Itami’s live debut at NXT Takeover II by coming out during his introduction by GM William Regal. Angry at the fact that they had just lost the tag titles after holding on to them for almost a year, The Ascension saw Itami’s debut as a perfect time to demand a rematch from the NXT GM. What they got was a rude awakening by Hideo Itami who quickly disposed of the duo. Since then it has been a series of sneak attacks and stiff kicks from Itami and The Ascension.
The Match: From the bell both men go in throwing fists which I love. Viktor had the offense for most of the match. The crowd was eerily quiet for all of the match, something totally against the norm. The quietness of the crowd is off-putting but reminds me of what the crowds in Japan are like. Wrestling is Japan is considered a serious sport so the crowds are more quiet during the matches, focusing on the actual action. When the action reaches it’s peak though fans become more vocal. Before anything can really take shape in the match Konnor, the other half of The Ascension shows up dragging the limp body of Funaki who is a former WWE Superstar and truly one of the only friends of Itami’s that could make his transition to the WWE and more importantly America a lot smoother. The distraction doesn’t do much as Itami picks up the win with a running dropkick.
Winner: Hideo Itami
After the match Hideo is attacked by The Ascension and gets tied up in the ropes so he can’t defend himself. Funaki comes in to protect his friend but becomes a victim to The Fall of Man, The Ascension’s finisher. All the while Itami is forced to watch this happen without being able to help.
The Vaudevillians vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
The Vaudevillians are still relatively new to NXT but they have already have a ton of momentum in the short time. Their Vaudeville character gives them something that definitely sets them apart from other talent and the NXT Universe does them good by just recognizing it’s all in good fun. Ultimately their true test will be the same as it is for all of the NXT talent waiting to get a taste of the WWE life, can they perform well week in and week out in larger venues and in front of live cameras. Not as easy as it seems I imagine.
The Match: Super quick contest but still we got a glimpse of solid tag work from Amore and Cassady and the Vaudevillians. They dump Cassady out of the ring and when Enzo comes to he has no one to tag. The confusion leads to Enzo getting face planted into a turnbuckle. Vaudevillians hit That’s a Wrap, a unique finisher combining a rolling fireman’s carry slam from Simon Gotch that places the opponent in prime position for a senton atomico (Swanton Bomb). Sorry to say that’s a wrap for Amore and Cassady.
Winners: The Vaudevillians
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch has had a handful of matches so far but I can’t help but think she will be a great addition for the main roster when the time comes. Think in your face like Mojo Rawley without being shoved down your throat like Mojo Rawley. Not to mention she’s like many of her female counterparts, she’s able to take care of business in the ring.
It seems like now Sasha Banks is coming into her own as a singles competitor. Although the all girl trio known as the BFF’s have been gone for quite sometime, it is only now that we see 1/3 of that trio in Sasha is just as good as the other two.
The Match: Plain and simple if you put either of these ladies up against a Total Diva, the Total Diva is gonna have a bad time. A couple new things I’ve rarely if ever seen in a match came from Lynch, using a bridge to power out of a pin cover (takes massive core strength to pull that off) and a flawlessly executed bottom rope springboard kick in the corner. Sasha Banks not to be out done controlled the pace and was able to get the victory with a backstabber float over into a crossface in which she calls the Bank Statement. Great simple match from both women.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Sami Zayn vs. Titus O’Neil
This match comes about due to Titus’ feelings that no one, whether it’s Zayn or NXT Champion Adrian Neville, has what it takes to compete at the main roster level like Titus. The arrogant O’Neil could’ve cost Neville his title if it wasn’t for Zayn who evened the odds a week before. So now the most popular NXT Superstar defends the honor of NXT against Titus O’Neil.
The Match: I absolutely loved this match. Sami has been on a roll pretty much since he debuted due to his infectious personality and stellar abilities in the ring. He has the ability to make you take him seriously despite being “small” compared to most of the WWE roster. Titus O’Neil is no stranger to this fact as a good 75% of the match is Zayn trying to take control with offense that gets squashed by Titus. Zayn showed fire throughout the match throwing some vicious knife edged chops and slaps to the face. The power of O’Neil is just too much for Zayn as even busting out a tope con giro (flip dive over the top rope to the outside) couldn’t keep the big man down for too long. In the ring Zayn goes to attempt a springboard armdrag but Titus clips Sami’s leg causing him to straddle the ropes. O’Neil sits Sami on the ropes facing in and uses the ropes as a springboard to get extra momentum on a vicious powerbomb. To my surprise Zayn doesn’t kick out. I know O’Neil is main roster talent while Zayn is still in “development” but I look at this as a huge upset.
Winner: Titus O’Neil
After the match O’Neil looks to inflict further damage but before he can do so NXT Champion Adrian Neville makes the save and gets his friend out of harms way as the show closes.
As usual one hour of NXT a week alone is worth $9.99. Not to mention that WWE no longer seems to be shying away from the past history of new additions like Hideo Itami. NXT is wrestling.