March 25, 2015 by gorillapressonline
Following the terrific Special Event, NXT Takeover: Rival, the developmental talent once again proved they are on course to make a name for themselves in their own right, either on the main roster or otherwise. The subsequent episodes of the hottest WWE show have only added to that momentum:
The favourable duo of Enzo Amore and Big Cass also once again defeated The Vaudevillians in an entertaining tag team bout. Both teams deserve to be in the title picture and, after one of the most entertaining feuds in recent history against The Lucha Dragons, The Vaudevillians are definitely en route to another title shot.
The previous weeks featured an interrupted broadcast, at regular intervals, teasing the début of a Superstar and all was finally revealed as Solomon Crowe put CJ Parker‘s protests to rest and made a serious impact on the NXT Universe too. It will be interesting to watch this develop, as Crowe is the perfect antithesis to the Eco Warrior Parker.
Leva Bates (AKA Ole Blue Pants) had a raucous return to Full Sail as she and current NXT women’s champion Sasha Banks faced off. All eyes were on the champ as she defeated fan favourite Bates via submission in this exciting non-title bout.
The highlight of this episode was another non-title bout, between Kevin Owens and Adrian Neville, two of the hottest properties in NXT right now. Owens is a wrecking ball, laying waste to the NXT Universe – even the longest reigning champion in NXT history couldn’t slow down this rampage.
Owens evaded the 450 Red Arrow Splash and took the win with an impressive pop-up powerbomb.
February 25th 2015: NXT Episode 266This episode saw another WWE alumnus return to the squared circle with the addition of Brian Kendrick, who is returning in a trainer role for the NXT talent, and his match against Finn Balor was exceptional.
The show kicked off with Hideo Itami facing off against Bull Dempsey. Dempsey has been on a bit of a losing streak of late, falling short against the similar-looking Baron Corbin on a number of occasions and sadly his bad luck was to continue as Itami defeated him with an impressive flying dropkick, despite the big man’s best efforts to thwart the Japanese sensation.
Former tag champs the Lucha Dragons were up next against Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordon. The high-flying luchadors took control of the match easily, exploiting the naïvete of Dillinger and Jordon and taking the win when Jordon walked away, leaving his partner in the hands of the ruthless dragons.
The dissolution of this tag team is pointing at a long-standing feud between the two and it will be very interesting to see how they handle singles competition, especially against each other.
Becky Lynch and Bayley squared off next, for the first time since the fatal four way Main Event at Takeover Rival. This new aggressive side to Bayley is outstanding and the run of the contendership spot is an exciting prospect. Lynch capitalised on a shoulder injury that Bayley sustained during the match and stole yet another victory from the happy-go-lucky Bayley.
Finn Balor and The Brian Kendrick offered up an excellent match with NXT champion Kevin Owens watching at ringside. The former tag team champion, Kendrick, used his experience over Balor in the early stages, even feigning an injury to gain an advantage at one point. The fighting spirit of Balor allowed the Irish star to push on, however, gaining momentum and getting the win after landing a slingblade and a Coup De Grace.
Owens wasn’t happy at all at ringside, especially with Alex Riley grilling him, and he happily took out his frustrations on the commentator, throwing him over the announce table and attacking him.
Owens continues to make a statement about the NXT Universe and the return of Sami Zayn will undoubtedly leave questions to be answered, with another match between the two former friends already waiting in the wings.
March 4th: NXT Episode 267A familiar face kicked off this week’s episode, as Adam Rose returned to Full Sail to face off against Prince Pretty himself Tyler Breeze. The Rosebuds and Rose himself were set on a party with all the crowd, but Breeze wasn’t in the partying mood.
Prince Pretty used his aggression to put a swift end to the proceedings with a Beauty Shot out of nowhere to stop the Exotic Express in its tracks – not a great return for the former NXT wrestler.
Blake and Murphy have been focused on Big Cass and Enzo the past few weeks, getting into the bonafide Gs heads as they display the NXT tag titles in front of the duo. The champions are scheduled for a non-title match against Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton tonight and are as energetic as ever.
Their thumping dub-step pulsing life into the fans as the champs beat the new duo, who could have a lot to offer to the tag team division nonetheless. Both the Divas and tag divisions are thriving in NXT, and new additions are always welcome.
Baron Corbin once again sweeps his opposition, this time local wrestler Tony Briggs, in mere seconds – the devastation this man brings with him impresses no end, and this monster push is clearly helping him get majorly over.
Alex Riley once again becomes Kevin Owens’ victim. Owens baited Riley by pouring a bottle of water over his head, resulting in A-Ry challenging Owens to a match next week on NXT! Owens has a great knack of getting into the heads of his opponents, manipulating them to his will.
Solomon Crowe added another notch of defeat to the career of Bull Dempsey. The anarchist hacker Superstar has a great look and wrestling style, and is a pleasure to watch in the ring. An excellent addition to the roster, he earned a win in his official NXT début against Bull Dempsey, who is visibly frustrated at his losing streak.
What a way to kick off women’s history month, as defending champ Sasha Banks faces the woman whom she spectacularly took the belt off in one of the most exciting and hard-fought matches of the year thus far.
The challenger Charlotte was the early aggressor and looked as though she was set to reclaim the title from Banks, yet the Boss had other ideas, fighting back with her Banks Statement submission.
Charlotte managed to escape and applied a figure four of her own, applying pressure to the legs of the champion who valiantly fought on, eventually managing to roll up Charlotte after a Natural Selection attempt. The boss successfully defended her title and ended the show in spectacular fashion.
March 11th: NXT Episode 268The night kicked off with a decent tag team match, pitching everyone’s favourite Gs Enzo Amore and Big Cass against the former NXT champions The Lucha Dragons. Carmella has been distracting Enzo of late, but tonight the duo are focused on the NXT gold.
A fast-paced and energetic bout to kick off the show, which sees the certified Gs best the Dragons after some nice back and forth during which Kalisto looked to have the upper hand at several points.
Big Cass wrapped things up when he hit the East River Crossing on Kalisto and then Splashed Enzo from the top rope onto the downed Lucha obtaining a #1 contender spot in the process. Although it is still early in the Blake/Wesley reign the crowd always pop hard for Enzo and Cass and giving them the titles and having Blake/Wesley chase the gold again would solidify their title run and any subsequent reigns.
Since their defeat against Buddy Murphy and Wesley Blake, Kalisto has been providing some excellent singles bouts on Main Event and Superstars so it wouldn’t be surprising if the dissolution of the Dragons was imminent.
Speaking of Carmella, she faced the newly-returned Alexa Bliss who suffered a broken nose that took her out of action for a bit. The break from wrestling doesn’t have seemed to have faltered the Superstar and she has her mind firmly set on the NXT Divas champ Sasha Banks.
Carmella quickly targeted her injured nose yet couldn’t best Bliss, and she easily defeated the Staten Island Princess, moving one step closer to her goal of facing Banks.
Alexa Bliss will fit perfectly within the Divas currently competing for the gold. Expect excellent matches with Bayley, Becky Lynch, Charlotte (if she isn’t called to the main roster soon) and Ole Blue Pants. Carmella, on the other hand, although having the skills on the mic and an interesting look still isn’t quite up to the standards of the other ladies on the roster and only time will tell how she progresses.
After being riled up (sorry) over the past few weeks by NXT champion Kevin Owens, Alex Riley has to beat the Eco Warrior CJ Parker to gain some momentum and garner some revenge against Owens.
The build up to Riley’s in-ring return speaks of the effort that is put into every storyline at NXT. Instead of throwing a load of jobbers at Riley, he was thrust into an excellent feud with the future of the company, had weeks of build up and tease, and he has been allowed to naturally progress. Personally I would’ve liked it to have been stretched out a little further as Owens is brilliant at winding up the roster and is one of the best heels on television at the moment.
A-Ry was a completely different entity than we have previously seen in a WWE ring, his new-found aggression suits him and, although blindly driven by revenge, his in-ring ability has improved. Riley is another former Superstar who wants to get his career in shape, and moving to NXT is a wise move for him.
He set out to impress GM William Regal and will have undoubtedly completed this task judging by this return match. Riley decimated the Eco Warrior and after a top rope Blockbuster manoeuvre he picked up the win.
Owens didn’t hesitate to shake things up, further threatening to end Riley’s career as he watched on, ecstatic from the victory, in the ring.
This feud has been marvellous. Since their fantastic opening bout at NXT Takeover Rival, which set the tone perfectly for that night, both competitors have set themselves up to be future WWE champions and this rivalry will have surely impressed the office.
Breeze used a great in-ring awareness in the early stages to avoid the deadly kicks of Itami, but never one to back down or give up, the Japanese Superstar landed a devastating knee to Prince Pretty to gain the upper hand.
After taking a pummelling in the corner, eating numerous strikes, Breeze managed to evade one of the trademark dropkicks from Itami and countered with a brutal Beauty Shot to steal a win and keep this exciting feud going.
I would fully expect Tyler Breeze to be nearing the end of his NXT tenure and moving to the main roster fairly soon, he would fit in great with the latest crop of mid-card talent and could impress and expand his career into the main event scene with some smart booking.
Another excellent event at Full Sail University proved that in 2015 NXT is still the show to watch. Feuds are given time to develop and each wrestler is allowed ample time to hone character, microphone and in-ring skills.
Catch NXT Wednesdays on the WWE Network