Photos via WWE.com
A week after the spectacular NXT special “NXT Takeover”, we’re back to a regular old episode of NXT. The matches will be short, the jobbers will be out in droves but as I said last Thursday, it’s episodes like this that make supershows like Takeover and Arrival that much more special.
We kick off Episode 225 with a look back at NXT Takeover, starting with Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze a match that if you haven’t seen yet, stop reading this review and go watch it. Seriously, I don’t care. Then we look back at the unbelievable Natalya vs. Charlotte match, if you haven’t seen it yet… well, you know the drill. Lastly, we look at Tyson Kidd vs. Adrian Neville which I wasn’t in love with so you can keep reading this review instead. This video is so simple yet so effective, this guy won, he’s happy, this guy lost, he’s upset. It’s amazing how simple wrestling can be when you don’t over think it.
Mojo Rawley vs. Aiden English: Great, another Mojo Rawley match. I thought you people said at Takeover he was going to be repackage, yet here he is again. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver. English sings his way to the ring as usual, he says Rawley failed the USA last week in losing to Rusev. He’s personally failed me for quite some time.
English runs away from Mojo to start it off, Aiden goes for a kick but Mojo grabs him, hits him with a shortarm clothesline and follows up with a few Stinger Splashes. Aiden turns the tables and starts controlling. English tries to slow the pace down with a headlock but Mojo counters and hits a football-style shoulder tackle. Rawley hits him with a flying butt, Hyperdrive and it’s over. There wasn’t much here. *3/4
We now recap Tyson Kidd’s loss to Natalya including Paul Heyman’s amazing performance antagonizing Kidd and playing up the loss. Devin Taylor (hi Devin!) is in the back interviewing Natalya…well sort of, Natalya said she’d always have Tyson’s back and then walks away.
Bayley vs. NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte (w/ Sasha Banks): Bayley interacts with the kids of the Special Olympics who are sitting ringside, nice of her but thank god Vince wasn’t watching. Charlotte has her shiny new NXT Womens Championship. Good back and forth to start us off including a fury of arm drags. Bayley hits a nice looking top rope arm drag from Bayley and a fish out of water, slip and slide spot. She’s looking really good here. Charlotte has enough of her shit and knocks her down and locks in the Figure Four Headscissors. Lil Natch is the referee again, this is
Sasha is up on the apron, Bayley slides out to the ring and knocks her out, it looks like she’s going to get back into the ring and get destroyed by Charlotte but Bayley stays on offense. Just as Charlotte gets some offense, Summer Rae’s music hits, she walks down to the ring to admire Charlotte. While shes distracted Bayley rolls her up but Charlotte kicks out at 1, dropkicks Bayley in the knee, hits her with the Bow Down to the Queen and it’s over. Good little match here, I’m increasingly impressed with Charlotte every time I see her. ***
Post-match, Summer Rae starts beating down Bayley and her old stablemates join in on the fight. Paige and Emma come down for the save and we hint towards a future match.
Jason Jordan & Tye Dillinger vs. Philip Gouljar and Stewart Cumberland:If you haven’t seen them yet, Tye Dillinger is the former Gavin Spears from WWECW and has been in and out of WWE’s developmental system since 2006. Jordan is a former Indiana University amateur wrestler and is a pretty awesome athlete. Phillips and Regal put them over huge and continue mentioning The Ascension so prepare for a matchup coming soon.
This looked like it was going to be a squash in the first half as Jordan and Dillinger beat down on the jobbers. Cumberland and Gouljar got the advantage briefly controlling Dillinger in the corner but Dillinger hit a hot tag on Jordan, Gouljar took a face-first back-body drop, don’t do that. Jordan Slam on Gouljar and it’s all over. This was longer than it really needed to be but it wasn’t awful at all. Jordan & Dillinger have a lot of potential and Phillips, Saxton and Regal all loved saying “Gouljar.” **
We’re getting the WORLD PREMIERE of Tyler Breeze’s new music video. I’m on the edge of my seat.
Breeze comes down to the ring and cuts a promo about his number one contendership, he said he doesn’t want to announce when he wants his title match, he wants to keep Adrian Neville guessing. Instead, we’re getting a THREE-TIME MTVEuro award winning music video (we’ll have to check on that).
And now the debut of “#MMMGorgeous”! It’s awful/amazing with just enough schtick and terrible video effects to ensure nobody mistakes it for something serious. It wasn’t hilariously bad, it more or less looked like Konnan’s rap videos from early 1999 WCW. “That was awesome” chant, Breeze is in tears.
We get an amazing recap video showing Bo Dallas’ final match in NXT. This was a lot of fun and though I’m not a huge Bo Dallas fan, his NXT run was a lot of fun for the crowd and Dallas.
Justin Gabriel vs. NXT Champion Adrian Neville: WWE Superstar Justin Gabriel, no, seriously, that’s what they called him. It’s not totally untrue but, you know. Neville doesn’t even get that big of a pop from the Full Sail University crowd, I like him but I’m not sure he’s anything more than a… Justin Gabriel-type at the next level. We’ll see. I love the idea of utilizing these lesser-used WWE guys in NXT. Though they aren’t big deals at the high level, it still adds legitimacy to NXT and it’s cool to see them interact with the main eventers of developmental. Moreover, they get fresh matchups so their supershows can feel unique and have first-time contests. Smart booking here.
Anyway, to the match, they two trade offense to kick us off, Neville hits a beautiful huricanrana and goes for a plancha but Gabriel runs into the ring, clotheslines Neville and sends him to the outside. Gabriel tries a dive of his own but Neville cuts him off, jumps up to the apron and hits a front flip to the outside. Both men are down, Neville drags him into the ring but doesn’t even get a one-count.
Back from commercial (a 2-second fade to black), Gabriel is back on the offense hitting a kick to the back of Neville for a two-count. Huge missile dropkick by Neville but he only gets a two. This has been some great back and forth. Neville springboards but he’s met by a dropkick from Gabriel. They zoom in on a HUGE bruise on Gabriel’s eye, it’s closing up as we speak. Gabriel to the top, 450 attempt but he lands on his feet. Neville gets him to the corner and hits a seated Shibata-style dropkick. Neville sets Gabriel up for the Red Arrow and it’s over. This wasn’t spectacular but it was solid. ***
Post-match Tyson Kidd comes down and grabs the mic. Kidd says he feels like a fool for blowing Neville’s handshake off last week. He says man-to-man, he’s sorry. He says next time they get in the ring, he’ll beat him, he wants one more chance at the championship and extends his hand. Neville grabs the mic and says “you got it, one more time.” Kidd thanks him and walks away as we go off the air.
If you were pumped about NXT Takeover and hoping with would wet your appetite for great NXT action, you’re going to be disappointed. It was a good show overall though, an easy watch but very much your run-of-the-mill episode of NXT. There wasn’t any truly bad matches and outside of Mojo Rawley existing everything else was inoffensive. I wouldn’t recommend this episode but if you have an hour to kill and want to see a simply-booked, solid hour of wrestling, check it out.