Still Just A Rat In A Cage
– The Finn Balor-Tye Dillinger match was pretty much a squash in favor of Balor. Nothing groundbreaking. Had us wondering what was next for Balor. That’s where Tyler Breeze came in. His promo actually had some purpose and was bold, even for him. This is a good match just waiting to happen. Next week?
The Heart Of Zayn
– Well, knowing that CJ Parker is no longer with the company, he couldn’t possibly win this match with Solomon Crowe or have any say in the future of NXT. He had a unique character, but just never had enough to progress further. Crowe had a decent entrance and the crowd chanting for him was a good sign. Crowe also put on some believable moves – the dive to the outside was impressive. Parker went out of NXT doing what he did best in it – putting others over. Crowe’s submission victory finished off a much more polished victory than his “TakeOver” debut. His finisher is convincing too.
– The Baron Corbin-Steve Cutler match was more enhancement for Corbin as he decisively finished him off with End Of Days. The crowding counting the seconds of the match also put over the quickness. Who will step up to take him on next? He appears to be more of a darker Goldberg, the way his matches are being built as quick squashes. The only problem we see is that his more enhanced matches haven’t been all that. Then again, they were against Bull Dempsey and let’s face it: your Mom could probably beat Dempsey in the ring. Good stuff though, but let’s hope it doesn’t run its course anytime soon.
– Sami Zayn’s promo on Rhyno had him sound convinced and ready for the match. He had a clear story headed in, eager to show the “rust” didn’t overcome his ambition to become Champion again.
– Nobody can work a crowd like Enzo Amore/Colin Cassidy. They always know how to switch things up in their promos and you can feel their words come alive practically. Keeping things fresh, the “Jordan Of Jargon” line was particularly funny. Their match against Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton was ultimately a squash to make them look good as they chase the Tag Team Champions, Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, who continue to chase Carmella, bringing her flowers. The story here is simple, yet effective, though it can be hard to determine if Blake/Murphy seek Carmella’s management or something more, but maybe that’s by design to capture the absurdity of it all.
– Alex Riley’s promo challenging Kevin Owens to meet him on the ring next week was a good “call out” promo, as he delivered his lines quite convincingly, but you have to wonder just how he will get ahead, if at all. This just seems like more of a way to put Owens over, but hey – better to squash Riley than someone else, right?
– The Blue Pants-Dana Brooke match showed that you obviously won’t see a jobber more over than Blue Pants. Brooke on the other hand, came off as a gothic muscle stripper, if that makes sense, from her entrance. She is definitely interesting, almost eager to shed her image of the generic blonde bombshell, which sort of worked. Her in-ring skills aren’t the most polished, but her finisher was enough to get our attention. Made us want to see more. That’s what counts.
– The triple threat NXT Divas Title Number One Contender’s match between Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte for next week sounds like a good matchup and gives us something to look forward to from the fierce women.
– The Zayn-Rhyno match – what more could you say about this? Plodding pace to start off, but this was all to set up the closing minutes, which was some really good action with near-falls and dueling chants, just how you’d imagine. The story here was the heart of Zayn and that overpowered the power of the Gore, at least for this week. Rhyno looked great in defeat and lost nothing here, he’ll easily bounce back. As mentioned by commentary, the thought of an Owens-Rhyno match is quite enticing and we have to imagine that’ll happen sometime soon.
– Solomon Crowe def. CJ Parker via submission
– Baron Corbin def. Steve Cutler via pinfall
– Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) def. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton via pinfall
– Dana Brooke def. Blue Pants via pinfall
– Sami Zayn def. Rhyno via pinfall
– The tag team of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady remain one of NXT’s most over acts currently and they should be making strides towards the tag titles. The Lucha Dragons are the perfect team that can make them look good, as their importance in the division has greatly lessened since they lost the tag titles. The number one contender’s match itself was short and sweet, as Cass pretty much helped Enzo out, but the finish was cool.
– The video hype video for Alex Riley was well-done, mainly showcasing footage from his short time on the main roster in 2010-2011 and some stills of his NXT stint in its original inception with the “Varsity Villain” jacket. It was also smart to show a Kevin Owens hype video and how it is “a new era” and show viewers just what Riley is looking to go up against.
– The Carmella-Alexa Bliss match was made to make Bliss victorious in her comeback match, as she clearly had eyes set on the NXT Divas Champion Sasha Banks. Carmella did look good in defeat, despite this. The quality in these NXT divas matches – even in a glorified squash – is much higher than what you see on the main roster and thus, both acts were helped here. There was a lot of this on the episode. The matches weren’t bad, but they were all about painting the bigger picture at hand and progressed feuds to set up matches we really want to see.
– Riley’s promo was quite effective, with his comparison to being in a cage for two years rang somewhat true. Riley has always had good mic skills; it’s what made him standout on NXT Season 2 and as Miz’s sidekick. This hyped his match very well. Could we call it Riley’s best promo work to date? Perhaps.
– Tyler Breeze’s “selfie” promo fit his overconfident gimmick and hyped the main event match well. A Hideo Itami hype video would’ve also been nice, but that’s nitpicking, we guess.
– The Riley-CJ Parker match was a great way to bring Riley back to the squared circle fold. For one, his theme music kicks ass, and even the word “Rage” displayed on the screen was a nice touch for where his character currently is. His mannerisms and facial expressions in the match showed true passion and that’s exactly what we needed to see. Owens’ confident, unimpressed post-match promo was simple yet quite strong. It makes you want to see the two go at it and they will, soon. Just not yet.
– The Hideo Itami-Breeze main event match was another example of their solid chemistry, except this seemed more geared in Breeze’s favor, though they were very evenly-matched. It definitely says a lot that this rivalry went from a seemingly throwaway tournament match to an intense feud. It must be a good thing being that this was their third match together in 2015. This was definitely great for both guys, as their matches almost elevate the two of them, making them bring their A-game to the ring. With Breeze the victor though, where do both guys go from here?
– Tag Team Championship Number One Contender’s Match – Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady def. The Lucha Dragons via pinfall
– Alexa Bliss def. Carmella via pinfall
– Alex Riley def. CJ Parker via pinfall
– Tyler Breeze def. Hideo Itami via pinfall
The Boss Does It With Flair
– The opening video highlighted Kevin Owens’ looking forward to the future against Finn Balor and how he threw Alex Riley over the announce table over comments he made during the main event. This set up everything on the show excellently. Also announced was the Balor-Owens match for the NXT World Heavyweight Championship on March 25. Could only mean good things.
– The backstage segment with William Regal and Riley made sense as a follow up but Riley saying he’s in “the prime of his career” was kind of laughable. At the same time, the intrigue of Regal making Riley have to choose between commentating and announcing was a good hook for later in the show.
– Adam Rose on NXT is a groan now. He actually let the Exotic Express catch him, so he was probably playing the face with his opponent as Tyler Breeze. The two had decent chemistry and Rose was definitely over with the NXT faithful. Smart way to get Breeze back on the winning trail as he hit the Beauty Shot to win. Him using the selfie stick as a shield to get through the Rosebuds was kind of funny.
– The Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady/Carmella backstage promo was their usual charismatic stuff. This is a great act and it was clear they were out for blood to get Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. What more could you want? Simple and straight forward.
– The Alexa Bliss interview promo made it clear she wanted Sasha Banks. Good time for her return as she could add some more fire to this already raging inferno that is the NXT Women’s Division.
– The Blake/Murphy-Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton match was clearly made to enhance Blake/Murphy as they won quickly and could use a squash win. Nothing memorable.
– The backstage segment between Bayley, Charlotte and Emma was interesting in showing how Emma was developing her new “mean streak” and maybe planted seeds of doubt in Bayley to get in her head. Where will it lead? Likely a match between the two.
– The Rhyno hype video was solid and showcased his biggest career moments and they played Paul Heyman’s sound bites. Awesome.
– The Baron Corbin-Tony Briggs match continued the trend of squash matches with Corbin out on top. Having Kevin Owens appear behind Riley at the announce table taunting him and eventually pouring water on his head was also really good. They’re making Owens look like a big badass heel with his mannerisms. He barely uttered a word and garnered a strong reaction. Not many could do that.
– The Sami Zayn taped promo was strong in terms of storyline perspective, for Zayn to feel discouraged and walk the streets of Montreal on the 13th anniversary of his wrestling career. Everything here made you want to see him come back to the ring and eventually get payback on Owens.
– The segment with Regal, Riley and CJ Parker was a good way to show Riley’s confirmed return to the ring and also gave him an out to face Parker. Regal allowing Riley to face Owens when he feels he is ready also makes sense, for the logic of a manger allowing a commentator to come back to compete.
– The Bull Dempsey-Solomon Crowe match continued the streak of predictable matches, where it was almost obvious Crowe would win. Crowe has a unique look, style and gimmick to him but the dude looks like the recipient of a bad sunburn. Not the best outing, but we can only hope this leads to better things for him. How far can a “hacker” gimmick go though?
– It says a lot about the state of women’s wrestling in NXT when the ladies can main event a show and it doesn’t feel out of place. That’s something you will never see on the main roster and that’s a shame. The Charlotte-Banks match for the NXT Women’s Championship was everything it was hyped up to be. Very physical and technical match and both ladies looked good, even if Banks used the ropes to win. Charlotte particularly looked great in defeat, red in the face like a tomato and still carried on in the match. Will this be Charlotte’s official sendoff or will she stick around a little longer? Either way, Banks still has a lot of worthy opponents to go through, so there is definitely no drought in the division.
– Tyler Breeze def. Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) via pinfall
– Wesley Blake/Buddy Murphy def. Angelo Dawkins/Sawyer Fulton via pinfall
– Baron Corbin def. Tony Briggs via pinfall
– Solomon Crowe def. Bull Dempsey via pinfall
– Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks (Champion) def. Charlotte via pinfall to retain
New Era (No Problems)
– Following NXT Rival sounded like a mission in itself and the opening video defined that in every way.
– The opening William Regal promo set the tone to the show – declaring it a “New Era in NXT” and rightfully so. Most of the show focused on the future aspects of storylines and new feuds. It also properly hyped the Kevin Owens-Adrian Neville main event, which already had storyline background to it. It also confirmed that Owens was NXT World Heavyweight Champion by victory of referee stoppage.
– You had to start the show off with Owens of course. He’s a heat magnet just from how he won the belt. It’s evident the crowd was split down the middle for him. This was a confident. strong promo from him as he made bold statements, mainly calling Sami Zayn “the past” and wanted to fight Finn Balor anytime. It’s like he’s a fighting champion with moments of selected cowardice. Owens pulls it off excellently.
– Random, but always pleasant to see Rhyno appear from nowhere. Crowd understandably went wild and this kept up the “anything can happen” atmosphere. Never let your guard down while watching NXT. Elias Sampson had a short night, but it didn’t matter anyway. Rhyno won with the gore.
– The Balor promo made him sound tough in response to Owens and the disruption by Rhyno who smirked was appropriate. Perhaps a match between them next week?
– The Vaudevillains-Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) was a subtle way to get Amore/Cassady over while reminding us The Vaudevillains still exist. It’s hard to not crack a smile with how over Amore/Cassady are with the crowd. The promo by Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy after the match set them back to being sleazy heels. Smart move, considering the popularity of Amore/Cassady.
– The Neville promo was decent as he set himself as a “hunter” and was focused on the personal side of his match with Owens later. He’s out with something to prove.
– The Bayley promo was short and sweet in how close she was to winning last week. She definitely has the crowd’s support.
– The Becky Lynch promo was also decent in that she expressed her disdain for Bayley and Charlotte. Odd that she wouldn’t be upset with Sasha Banks winning being she fought with her many times over the belt. The absence of Charlotte on the show was also obvious here at this point.
– CJ Parker taking the show “hostage” with police caution tape was an attention-grabber, but ultimately a great way to debut Solomon Crowe. Seems like Crowe will have some kind of cheesy, punkish character, but no complaints, as it fits his look.
– The Banks-Blue Pants match seemed like an odd way to kick off Banks’ reign as Champion. Blue Pants’ “Right Off The Clearance Rack” gimmick is oddly amusing right down to the “Da Da Da Da” Price Is Right theme music. Banks was clearly playing with Blue Pants and won by submission with the Banks Statement. Her promo was all Sasha confidence, being the “queen bee” and all.
– Showing the footage after “Rival” went off the air of Zayn being helped up after the match and word of his update from Dr. Chris Amann saying Zayn was ready to go soon was all good. His return promo should be something to watch.
– The Neville-Owens match was more of showcasing Owens’ brash style mixed with Neville’s aerial fighting spirit. This turned into a really good match as it went on. The 450 splash by Neville off the apron was impressive and the near falls were believable towards the end where it seemed that Neville could actually win. The story told was that Owens is a force to be reckoned with and things aren’t done yet with him and Zayn. With Balor also in line for a Title shot, NXT has some great main event matches set up for the near future.
– Rhyno def. Elias Sampson via pinfall
– Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady (w/Carmella) def. The Vaudevillains via pinfall
– Sasha Banks def. Blue Pants via submisison
– Kevin Owens def. Adrian Neville via pinfall