January 5, 2015 by gorillapressonline
NXT was, without a doubt, the best weekly episodic show for wrestling fans in 2014 and Christmas day we were given a special episode presented by Corey Graves and Renee Young,
to whet our appetites for what’s to come in 2015.
Corey and Renee work well together and, in the short time he has been on commentary, he is settling in well and plays well with the announce team while also bringing a fresh approach to the talent with whom he has directly worked.
A highlight show of 2014 is topped off with an extra special gift – an NXT Divas rematch between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, with the Nature Boy himself making a special appearance to sweeten the deal.
The show kicks off with a look back at some of the talent who have gone on to the main roster over the past year, including Bo Dallas and the still-undefeated Rusev.
The show that kicked it all off on the WWE Network, Arrival was the first in-ring action to stream there and set a precedent for what was to come in 2014.
Adrian Neville had a fantastic year in NXT, kicking things off by beating Dallas in the first ever NXT ladder match. A video package showing Neville returning home to Newcastle is next in the special, with the star surprising his mother and talking fondly of the region he is from. He visits the Angel of the North and St James Park home of Newcastle United football club, among other places.
Neville comes across as a humble and well-spoken fellow and his passion flows from his core – it’s plain to see wrestling is in his heart.
This feature is swiftly followed with a highlight of the stunning [R]Evolution match for the championship, between Neville and Sami Zayn – easily one of the highlights of the year, and one that’ll live on in the hearts of fans for years to come.
An impressive year for Neville and with a move to the main roster heavily rumoured for the near future, 2015 means things will only get bigger and brighter for the Geordie star.
A WWE exclusive video is then shown, with Curtis Axel visiting GM William Regal and asking to rejoin the ranks of NXT in order to rejuvenate his career. Regal is unconvinced and tells him that, if he is is serious in joining the roster, he must make an official appointment.
NXT would be the perfect place to allow Axel to craft a new persona and develop a new gimmick, while not falling into an enhancement role, with which he suffered on the main roster.
More [R]Evolution features next with the Lucha Dragons and The Vaudevillans in the spotlight – an excellent tag title match that was hugely enjoyable throughout. The following episode also allowed the feud room to continue, and we can rest assured there will be plenty more from Gotch and English in future.
Hideo Itami and Finn Balor are up next, speaking about their old foes The Ascension joining the ranks of WWE. Itami says that they tried to ruin his debut and he is going to destroy them in return. The next episode will feature a rematch of their astounding bout from the PPV, so we can look forward to that.
2014 had a lot of great débuts. Alongside the aforementioned Itami and Balor, a number of other Superstars joined the ranks of NXT, and a great video package featuring some of these wrestlers plays next, with highlights from Baron Corbin, Bull Dempsey and, of course, Kevin Owens who is next to address the fans, promising to destroy the entire roster as everyone is fair game.
A wonderful VT airs, with all the talent who has progressed onto the main roster. It is great to see Paige, in particular, get the attention she deserves, thereby proving all the hard work she did in developmental has paid off.
Elsewhere, Bayley is backstage watching the Triple H DVD Thy Kingdom Come – most notably the chapter with his knee injury, which proves inspirational for the upbeat Diva who is curretnly suffering the same injury.
The only in-ring action of this entire episode is a rematch of quite possibly the best Divas match of 2014, Charlotte Flair Vs Sasha Banks.
The legendary Ric Flair is ringside to support his daughter, making an statement which rings true about how he didn’t pass the torch, rather Charlotte took it.
Flair then walks his daughter to the ring in support for what is a highly anticipated rematch. Sasha Banks plays the heel role brilliantly, she has an air of entitlement about her and backs it up with an aggressive and effective arsenal – fired up from the get go, she delivers good, hard elbows to Flair to get things started.
Charlotte and Banks have great chemistry. Although the air of something special isn’t quite at the level of [R]Evolution, they still manage to hold the audience’s attention and deliver a solid match with an impressive finish from Flair with the Figure-4 leglock, which she subsequently turns into a bridge, forcing Sasha to tap.
An excellent episode to end the year, with 2015 already looking very bright indeed. The future of WWE is here and it’s NXT.
Catch NXT on Thursdays on the WWE Network