The big news coming out of tonight’s NXT show was something not even announced during the show but instead on WWE.com by COO Triple H — there will be a new two-hour NXT special “NXT Takeover” on May 29. This is a great idea to feature the talent of NXT, the only problem: much of NXT’s top flight talent is graduating to the main roster leaving somewhat of a wasteland, and then Sami Zayn. NXT has received a lot of criticism of late for being a boring show but that’s likely a result of expectations, it’s been quite a few years since NXT was consistently a great show and outside of their original two-hour special, their offerings on WWE Network have left a lot to be desired for. With that said, let’s get to tonight’s action and see if this show can deliver!
We kick the episode off with NXT general manager JBL meeting Paige backstage. JBL gives her credit for her spectacular run with NXT and the NXT Divas championship but claims that because shes the Divas Champion and has to travel the world, he is stripping the NXT Divas championship. Paige argues with him, refusing and saying shes worked hard to earn this title. JBL announces that he’ll create a tournament to determine a new champion, Paige says “I guess it’s time for someone to step up.”
Lana enters to introduce Rusev. She looks amazing as usual but not quite as amazing as she did on Raw this week. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.
Rusev vs. Travis Tyler: Travis starts off with a dropkick that Rusev completely no sells, Tyler tries to run at the ropes but Rusev hits him with a running splash. Rusev with a huge fallaway slam then takes Travis to the ground and starts pounding away including some running kicks to the neck. Solid cutaway to Lana’s cleavage, I suppose she IS looking good! (that’s it for the Lana drooling, I promise). Rusev locks in the Accolade and it’s over. Not much to this but it was a great squash, hard to rate it well because it was so quick but it did its job. *
I hope Rusev isn’t dancing with Santino in a few months because I think he could be a solid midcard talent.
Devin Taylor in the back with Adam Rose’s posse, eventually another group of ravers including one wearing a Where’s Waldo outfit bring Rose into the scene. Rose cuts a promo on Camacho who apparently thinks Rose has been doing too much partying.
Charlotte & Sasha Banks vs. Emma & Mystery Partner: We return from a Slam City commercial to find Emma’s mystery opponent is Paige! Not sure why we didn’t get an in-ring announcement but either way. Emma gets on the offense early before tagging in Paige. The two team up to suplex Charlotte but Paige only gets a one count. Paige hits Charlotte with some back elbows and Charlotte flair bumps out of the corner. I really hope she does that at least once in every match forever. Charlotte locks Emma in a head scissors utilizing her long legs. She’s a lot of fun in the ring, she’ll be fun to watch going forward. Emma breaks out of it but Charlotte throws her in the head scissors again.
Emma bridges up, forcing Charlotte’s knees to the ground for the two count. Charlotte goes for a standing elbow drop but Emma rolls out of the way and tags Paige. Paige runs in with some short clotheslines to Sasha Banks but Charlotte cuts her offense off with a big dropkick to the back of the knee. Charlotte hits a flipping face-buster-type maneuver (announcers didn’t have a name for it, so leave me alone) and gets the three. Have to count that as an upset. Nothing spectacular here but a solid/short Divas match. **
Tyson Kidd vs. Mason Ryan : Some no-name jobber named Tyson Kidd comes out, he’s going to get destroyed most likely. Mason Ryan at least 100lbs lighter from the last time I saw him a few months ago, he’s still ripped to shreds but a lot less bulky. Ryan goes on the offense early including a leg drop which only gets a two. Tyson Kidd reverses his fortunes with a kick to the leg to knock Ryan down, Kidd starts pounding on Ryan’s knee and locks him in a front chancery. A little bit of back and forth, Tyson Kidd hits a Blockbuster for the 1..2..3 and is met on the entry ramp by Renee Young. Tyson Kidd says “This is the re-birth of Tyson Kidd” and claims that with the launch of the WWE Network NXT is the place to be. This wasn’t great as Ryan is still not very good and Kidd looked fine but he was working with a statue. *1/2
Angelo Dawkins vs. Tyler Breeze: This is my first time seeing Dawkins. He’s a dancing, happy black dude. If they must have a happy black guy, why can’t it at least be Rich Swann or ACH? Oh this one is 6’5 and was a three-sport athlete in college. Life ain’t fair. Dawkins jumps on offense quick with a Greco-roman style take down. Dawkins tries to get Breeze into a headlock but Breeze grabs the ropes, cheap shots Dawkins and gets on offense of his own. Breeze hits a Money Shot out of nowhere and that’s it. This was no good. *
Corey Graves/The Ascension vs. Sami Zayn/The Usos: Ole chants start us off. Graves and Zayn get into the ring together but Graves runs out and tags in Konnor. Another quick tag, Viktor gets into the ring and whips Zayn to the turnbuckles but Zayn reverses with a nice dropkick but only gets the 1. Zayn tags in Jimmy and hits Viktor with a huge chop from the top rope. Usos go for a double team, Viktor grabs their head and well, you know what happens here. Their heads are too hard because they are Samoan so they dance instead of sell the headbutt. Some back and forth before Konnor hits a flapjack and clotheslines Jimmy over the top rope as we go to commercial.
The Ascension locks Jimmy into the corner, they haven’t tagged Graves in at all. Just as I write that he tags in, thanks guys. Graves his a front suplex on Jey, running fist but only grabs a two count. Five or so minutes passed but honestly they were all headlocks by Graves and Viktor. Jey throws Konnor outside and starts crawling over to his corner. Viktor gets a tag of his own and cuts off Jey, knocking Zayn off the apron before he’s knocked down by Jey as he makes the hot tag to Jimmy. Jimmy hits Viktor with a Samoa drop, clotheslines Konnor outside of the ring and hits a huge Rikishi splash, but Viktor tags in Graves who takes out Jey’s knee. Graves tries to lock Lucky 13 in but Jey reverses it into a knee lock of his own. Zayn tags Jey, hits Graves with a huge bodypress followed by a huge twisting powerbomb but the pin attempted is broken up by The Ascension.
Zayn finds Graves in the corner and hits him with a huge boot to the face. Jimmy and Zayn jump to the outside to take out The Ascension on the floor. Jey tags in during Jimmy’s leap, hits the top rope splash on Graves and gets the three. This was fun but the beginning was painfully boring with The Ascension taking turns putting The Uso’s in a headlock. I’m cool with stalling spots but this went on for way longer than it needed to. With that said, I enjoyed the ending and Sami Zayn dancing with The Uso’s as the show faded out, extra stars for that. **1/2
You can probably skip this episode. I found the first half to be inoffensive and relatively fun but the show fell off a cliff soon after with some super boring, pseudo-squash matches. The main event was fun but not nearly as good as you would assume if I told you it featured The Usos and Sami Zayn. I get what they are trying to do with The Ascension but give me some damn power moves, enough with the 4-5 straight rear chinlocks. Decent show but absolutely skippable.